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Better Day Coming


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About the Author

Adam Fairclough teaches American history at the University of East Anglia. His books include To Redeem The Soul Of America, Martin Luther King Jr. and Race And Democracy which won the Lillian Smith Award.


Fairclough (To Redeem the Soul of America; Martin Luther King, Jr.), who teaches American history at the University of East Anglia, aims to present "an interpretation of the black struggle for equality in the United States between 1890 and 2000, concentrating on the South." The first half of the book covers 1890 to 1919, with sketches of such individuals as Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey. Quickly reviewing major events (e.g., the Great Migration, the Scottsboro affair), Fairclough guides readers through the 1910s, '20s and '30s, examining the failure of Garvey's black nationalism and recognizing the role of the Communist Party in fighting racism. After that, the book addresses a m?lange of topics: education, employment, World War II, anti-communism, Brown v. Board of Education, the Montgomery bus boycott, the sit-ins, the 1965 Los Angeles riots and the Poor People's Campaign. He also analyzes the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr., and the effects of the Black Power movement on the struggle for black civil rights. The final chapter, despite the subtitle's promise, skims over the remaining decades of the century. An easy read that relies heavily on secondary sources, this work may disappoint serious students of African-American history with its cursory treatment of some material. Still, Fairclough's approach will probably suit his intended audience, "the general reader... who may have little or no knowledge about the history of race relations since the American Civil War." (July 23) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Fairclough (To Redeem the Soul of America), who teaches American history at the University of East Anglia (U.K.), has written an overview of the American civil rights movement from the turn of the 19th century to the present. Intended specifically for the general reader, the book covers the major aspects of the black struggle for equality, although it slights the Harlem Renaissance and devotes only one brief chapter to the period since 1968. The author argues that this struggle featured conflict and interplay among three models of action-accommodation, confrontation, and separatism. Although it adds little to what experts in the field already know, this well-written work is a fine general introduction to the topic. Recommended especially for public libraries. A.O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, IN Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"In the hands of Adam Fairclough, BETTER DAY COMING, does more than any other book to place the historic Civil Rights Movement within the broader scope of the Black Freedom Struggle in the twentieth century. A distinguished historian has crafted an impressive narrative of persistence and resistance, heroism and timidity. A must read for the rising generation of young people for whom the Civil Rights Movement has been relegated to ancient history." --Steven F. Lawson Rutgers University

"Just right and badly needed. I know of no other text that covers these years. I will definitely adopt." --Daniel Levine, Bowdoin College

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