Sunday, February 11, 2007

Reviewed: Sokol on White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights

THERE GOES MY ­EVERYTHING: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945–1975 (Knopf) by Jason Sokol is reviewed in the Wilson Quarterly by Roy Reed. This book might be read along with Kevin Kruse's recent White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism. Here's Reed on Sokol:
Negroes know their place and are happy with segregation.
They have no desire to vote or take part in political ­affairs.
Integrating schools and public accommodations will lead to mongrelization of the ­races.
The civil rights movement is a communist plot and a threat to the freedoms of white ­people.
God is a segregationist. He says so in the ­Bible.

If you were a white person living in the South before the world turned upside down in the 1960s, you probably believed every one of those statements. You probably believed them if you were a white Northerner, too, but that’s another story. Jason Sokol, a young historian at Cornell University, is concerned with white Southerners, and he is determined that we not forget how far the South had to go to expel the poison of ­racism.

For the rest, click here. For an excerpt, click here.