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Seeing through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights by Martin A. Berger PDF

By Martin A. Berger

Seeing via Race is a boldly unique reinterpretation of the enduring pictures of the black civil rights fight. Martin A. Berger’s provocative and groundbreaking learn exhibits how the very photographs credited with arousing white sympathy, and thereby paving the best way for civil rights laws, really restricted the scope of racial reform within the Sixties. Berger analyzes a lot of those well-known images—dogs and fireplace hoses grew to become opposed to peaceable black marchers in Birmingham, tear fuel and golf equipment wielded opposed to voting-rights marchers in Selma—and argues that simply because white sympathy used to be depending on images of powerless blacks, those unforgettable photos undermined efforts to enact—or even imagine—reforms that threatened to upend the racial stability of power.

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Appreciating how few adults remained willing to volunteer for arrest, as well as the need to maintain community and media interest, James Bevel, the twenty-seven-year-old director of direct action and nonviolent education for the SCLC, proposed the recruitment of children into the movement. 6 Without immediately committing to the plan, SCLC leaders agreed to let interested young people attend a meeting at the spiritual and organizational center of Birmingham’s black community, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, at noon on May 2.

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This view typified northern whites’ response to the civil rights struggle in the South. ” Whites who favored extending greater civil rights to blacks reflexively cast blacks as a people acted upon, whereas whites who rejected the civil rights project tended to see blacks as a force exerting power over whites. Even though progressive and reactionary whites, respectively, supported divergent social agendas, each group showed allegiance to a value system that understood disempowerment as the “normal” role for nonwhites.

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