1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice
Publisher: Oxford Universtiy Press
Year Published: 2006
Pages: 690pp Price: $19.95 Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX8155
Arsenault's book is a chronicle of one of the most defining moments in the American Civil Rights movement. Once segregation of interstate transit was declared illegal, in 1961 an interracial group boarded a bus and headed south into the ferociously segregated Birmingham and Montgomery with its attendant Klansmen. This is a history of psychological terror, physical abuse that the riders endured, the collusion between Klansmen and police to thwart the freedom riders. It also points to the feet dragging of the Kennedy administration who considered the Cold War as more important than the civil rights of its black citizens. Arsenault makes clear that only mass civil disobedience broke the back of segregation and the freedom riders were the number two punch that put en end to Jim Crow. This is a detailed account of one civil rights campaign and how that connected to the larger struggle for social justice.