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Transformation of Politics: Civil Rights 1945–58

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Part of the Studies in Contemporary History book series (SCH)


After World War II there were an increasing number of Americans willing to accept the views of sociologists and academics which openly challenged the assumptions of racism. The continued Great Migration of Arican Americans from the South into the industrial cities of the North also forced politicians to question their own assumptions. Of the African Americans living outside the South in 1940, 17 per cent were residents of New York City, and the cities of Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were home to 30 per cent of Arican Americans living in the North and the West (Issel, 1985). It was now necessary for the Democratic party, the party which had its strength among the working class in the North, to face up to the challenge of the ‘New Negro’, as the black sociologist E. Franklin Frazier had described them. They resided in the growing urban ghettos, increasingly were members of a trade union and had since 1936 transferred their allegiance to the Democratic party. Ironically, in 1944 Franklin Delano Roosevelt had won his unprecedented fourth term as President largely owing to the combined votes of African Americans and the segregated, Jim Crow, Democratic South.

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© 1997 William T. Martin Riches

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Riches, W.T.M. (1997). Transformation of Politics: Civil Rights 1945–58. In: The Civil Rights Movement. Studies in Contemporary History. Palgrave, London.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-333-61100-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-349-25880-2

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