The Movement: Book summary and reviews of The Movement by Thomas C. Holt

The Movement

The African American Struggle for Civil Rights

by Thomas C. Holt

The Movement by Thomas C. Holt X
The Movement by Thomas C. Holt
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Book Summary

The civil rights movement was among the most important historical developments of the twentieth century and one of the most remarkable mass movements in American history.

Not only did it decisively change the legal and political status of African Americans, but it prefigured as well the moral premises and methods of struggle for other historically oppressed groups seeking equal standing in American society. And, yet, despite a vague, sometimes begrudging recognition of its immense import, more often than not the movement has been misrepresented and misunderstood. For the general public, a singular moment, frozen in time at the Lincoln Memorial, sums up much of what Americans know about that remarkable decade of struggle.

In The Movement, Thomas C. Holt provides an informed and nuanced understanding of the origins, character, and objectives of the mid-twentieth-century freedom struggle, privileging the aspirations and initiatives of the ordinary, grassroots people who made it. Holt conveys a sense of these developments as a social movement, one that shaped its participants even as they shaped it. He emphasizes the conditions of possibility that enabled the heroic initiatives of the common folk over those of their more celebrated leaders. This groundbreaking book reinserts the critical concept of "movement" back into our image and understanding of the civil rights movement.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A slender but potent history of the civil rights movement, which extends well before the 1950s and '60s...Essential for students of American history as well as activists in the ongoing struggle for civil rights for all." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[C]oncice and edifying...Even readers well-versed in the subject will learn from Holt's close attention to lesser-known figures, events, and organizations. This well-informed history casts the civil rights struggle in a new light." - Publishers Weekly

"Holt provides a brief but full picture of the Civil Rights Movement in America that will appeal to high school and college students." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Thomas C. Holt

Thomas C. Holt is James Westfall Thompson Professor of American and African American History at the University of Chicago and the author of Children of Fire: A History of African Americans and The Problem of Race in the Twenty-First Century.

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