Rabble Rousers: The American Far Right in the Civil Rights Era by Clive WebbRabble Rousers: The American Far Right in the Civil Rights Era by Clive Webb

Rabble Rousers: The American Far Right in the Civil Rights Era

byClive Webb

Paperback | May 15, 2010

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The decade following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision saw white southerners mobilize in massive resistance to racial integration. Most segregationists conceded that ultimately they could only postpone the demise of Jim Crow. Some militant whites, however, believed it possible to win the civil rights struggle. Histories of the black freedom struggle, when they mention these racist zealots at all, confine them to the margin of the story.

These extremist whites are caricatured as ineffectual members of the lunatic fringe. Civil rights activists, however, saw them for what they really were: calculating, dangerous opponents prepared to use terrorism in their stand against reform. To dismiss white militants is to underestimate the challenge they posed to the movement and, in turn, the magnitude of civil rights activists' accomplishments. The extremists helped turn massive resistance into a powerful political phenomenon. While white southern elites struggled to mobilize mass opposition to racial reform, the militants led entire communities in revolt.

Rabble Rousers turns traditional top-down models of massive resistance on their head by telling the story of five far-right activists-Bryant Bowles, John Kasper, Rear Admiral John Crommelin, Major General Edwin Walker, and J. B. Stoner-who led grassroots rebellions. It casts new light on such contentious issues as the role of white churches in defending segregation, the influence of anti-Semitism in southern racial politics, and the divisive impact of class on white unity. The flame of the far right burned brilliantly but briefly. In the final analysis, violent extremism weakened the cause of white southerners. Tactical and ideological tensions among massive resisters, as well as the strength and unity of civil rights activists, accelerated the destruction of Jim Crow.

Clive Webb is a reader in North American history at the University of Sussex. He is the author of Fight against Fear: Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights, coauthor of Race in the American South: From Slavery to Civil Rights, and editor of Massive Resistance: Southern Opposition to the Second Reconstruction. His forthcoming book (coaut...
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Title:Rabble Rousers: The American Far Right in the Civil Rights EraFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6.05 × 0.75 inPublished:May 15, 2010Publisher:University Of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820335770

ISBN - 13:9780820335773

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1

PART 1 Outside Agitators: Bryant Bowles and John Kasper
   Chapter 1 A Blueprint for Rebellion: Bryant Bowles and the Milford
                      School Crisis 15
   Chapter 2 A Collapse of Law and Order: John Kasper and Segregationist
                      Resistance in Clinton 39
   Chapter 3 Into the Abyss: The Nashville School Crisis 72

PART 2 Never- Ending War: John Crommelin and Edwin Walker
   Chapter 4 Fighting the Hidden Force: John Crommelin and the Defense
                      of Alabama 103
   Chapter 5 Assumption of Command: Military Officers and
                      Massive Resistance 134

PART 3 Southern Fuehrer: J. B. Stoner
   Chapter 6 "We Don't Believe in Tolerance": Terrorist Responses to
                       Civil Rights Reform 153
   Chapter 7 Fighting for Freedom by Defending the Enemy: Stoner and
                      the Hate Speech Issue 184

Conclusion 210
Notes 215
Bibliography 259
Index 283

Editorial Reviews

In one of the book's most important contributions, Webb exposes the role of antisemitism in shaping the ideology of both the far right activists and the racial politics of the postwar South. . . . Rabble Rousers provides a valuable insight into the success of and limits to the politics of massive resistance and the extreme right wing.

- Lily Geismer - Journal of American Ethnic History