Before the Civil Rights movement, southern liberal journalists
played a crucial role in shaping southern thought on race and
racism. John Kneebone presents a richly detailed intellectual
history of southern racial liberalism between World War I and World
War II by examining the works of five leading southern journalists
-- Gerald W. Johnson, Baltimore Evening Sun
; George Fort
Milton, Chattanooga News
; Virginius Dabney, Richmond
; Hodding Carter, Greenville
; and Ralph McGill, Atlanta
The South's leading liberal journalists came from varied
backgrounds and lived in different regions of the South, but all
had one characteristic in common: as public advocates of southern
liberalism, each spoke as a southerner with deep roots in the
southern past. Yet their editorials were not intended solely for
local audiences; they wrote essays for national and regional
journals of opinion as well, and each of these men published
important books on the South and its history. Through their
writings, they gained reputations throughout the country as
articulate spokesmen for southern liberalism.
Their essays, editorials, books, and letters provide rich and
abundant sources for studying the changing patterns of southern
liberal thought in the critical years from the 1920s to the 1940s.
Moreover, these journalists were members of southern liberal
organizations -- Will W. Alexander's Commission on Interracial
Cooperation, the Southern Commission on the Study of Lynching, the
Southern Policy Committee, the Southern Conference for Human
Welfare, and the Southern Regional Council -- and so they helped
devise the reform programs that they in turn publicized.
While they believed that social and economic change in the modern
South required reform of race relations, the journalists felt that
these reforms could be accommodated within the framework of racial
segregation. The protests of blacks against segregation during
World War II challenged that way of thinking and created a crisis
for southern liberals. Kneebone analyzes this crisis and the
disconnection between the southern liberalism of the 1920s and
1930s and the Civil Rights movement.
Originally published in 1985.
A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the
latest in digital technology to make available again books from our
distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These
editions are published unaltered from the original, and are
presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both
historical and cultural value.