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Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South: Louisville, Kentucky, 1945-1980

by Tracy E. K'Meyer

Availablepaperback$25.00x 978-0-8131-3006-4
Availablecloth$50.00x 978-0-8131-2539-8
Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century
438 pages  Pubdate: 11/01/2010  6 x 9 x 1.19  20 b&w photos

The struggles of the civil rights movement were not limited to the Deep South. Although states like Alabama and Mississippi receive the most attention from historians, civil rights leaders were active across the country, challenging racial stereotypes and working to end discrimination in cities large and small. Louisville, Kentucky’s unique status as a border city between the North, South, and Midwest presented local civil rights leaders with fertile ground on which to pursue their agenda and their efforts would foreshadow the future direction of the national movement. Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South: Louisville, Kentucky, 1945–1980, fills a void by focusing on four decades of Louisville’s civil rights history. Using a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, including oral history records of movement participants, Tracy E. K’Meyer connects the movement in Louisville to related movements in other cities in the region and across the nation. Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South offers insight into how America’s race relations got to where they are today, and clues to their future direction.

Tracy E. K'Meyer is associate professor of U.S. history at the University of Louisville. She is the author of numerous articles on the civil rights movement and race relations, as well as the book Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South: The Story of Koinonia Farm.

“This book is on the cutting edge of the historiography of the black freedom struggle in America.”—John Dittmer, author of Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in America

"This is a good book, and might also very well be one that has a lasting impact on the field of civil rights movement scholarship."--Jeffrey D. Howison, Binghamton University

"Tracy E. K’Meyer has provided clarity on Louisville’s efforts to address civil rights issues from after World War II to 1980. . . . a tightly written analysis."--Bowling Green Daily News

"K’Meyer has synthesized a wealth of detail into a highly readable history. . . . This is certainly the definitive book on the city’s civil rights history."--Louisville Courier-Journal

"The first person accounts convey the personal viewpoint and also the human emotions that were often so intense."--Kentucky Libraries

"This is a rich, conceptually sophisticated study with which historians will have to grapple as they prepare a new synthesis of the black freedom struggle."--Journal of American History

"K’Meyer clearly demonstrates the ways in which the city’s position as a 'gateway' between the North and the South significantly influenced the local civil rights movement. Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South succeeds in opening new ways of looking at the movement as a whole."--West Virginia History

"K’Meyer’s work avoids the tendency of flattening black freedom studies and effacing the field of southern history. Masterfully researched, compelling argued, and exceedingly readable."--Journal of Southern History

"The book is also of interest because Lousiville reveals much about the geographic,tactical, and ideological borderland or race that existed between the deep South and the North."--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Brings us closer to understanding two seemingly paradoxical truths of the modern black freedom struggle: regional variations matter, and the Civil Rights movement unfolded differently with the South, across the Midwest, in the West, and in the North."--Southern Quarterly

"Highly Recommended"--Social & Behavioral Science Reviews

"K'Meyer's well-written, thoroughly researched volume is one of the most engaging community studies of the civil rights era to appear in recent years."--American Historical Review