The Counterrevolution That Preceded The Non Violent Civil Rights Movement
As people around the nation wonder how their communities and causes will be affected by the Presidency of Donald Trump, it is important to remember a time not that long ago when a similar attack was launched on efforts to challenge patterns of white supremacy and class inequality which have done so much to shape our history.
The time was the late 1940's in the beginning years of the Cold War. The winds of change were blowing through the South. Multiracial trade unions in places like Memphis, Bessemer Alabama, and Winston Salem were starting to bring white and black workers together improve living standards for both, while coalitions of Civil Rights groups and the left were challenging restrictions on voting and launching law suits against segregated schools. There were even grass roots movement challenging lynching and the sexual abuse of Black women, also led by the left.
But in response to fears of desegration being pushed at the federal level reinfroced by the anti-Communist hysteria inspired by the Cold, a resurgent White Supremacist movement swept through the Southern states, taking the form of a new mass movement called "the White Citizens Councils" and virtually every integrationist and pro labor initiative in the South came under attack. Multiracial unions were destroyed, weakened, or forced into silence. Interracial organizations with left wing influence were suppressed, their leaders called before Congressional committees to expose "Communist ties." Dissenters were harassed, imprisoned, forced to eave the South, or quarantined in their own homes.
The damage was great. People like Rosa Parks, a militant anti-rape acivist and voter registration organizers had to go With A Brooklyn Accent: The Counterrevolution That Preceded The Non Violent Civil Rights Movement: