The Struggle and the Urban South

Confronting Jim Crow in Baltimore before the Movement

Title Details

Pages: 306

Illustrations: 25 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 10/15/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6175-8

List Price: $29.95


Pub Date: 06/15/2019

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5507-8

List Price: $59.95

The Struggle and the Urban South

Confronting Jim Crow in Baltimore before the Movement

Southern black resistance, social justice interracialism, and student activism

Skip to

  • Description
  • Reviews

Through the example of Baltimore, Maryland, David Taft Terry explores the historical importance of African American resistance to Jim Crow laws in the South’s largest cities. Terry also adds to our understanding of the underexplored historical period of the civil rights movement, prior to the 1960s.

Baltimore, one of the South largest cities, was a crucible of segregationist laws and practices. In response, from the 1890s through the 1950s, African Americans there (like those in the South’s other major cities) shaped an evolving resistance to segregation across three themes. The first theme involved black southerners’ development of a counter-narrative to Jim Crow’s demeaning doctrines about them. Second, through participation in a national antisegregation agenda, urban South blacks nurtured a dynamic tension between their local branches of social justice organizations and national offices, so that southern blacks retained self-determination while expanding local resources for resistance. Third, with the rise of new antisegregation orthodoxies in the immediate post-World War II years, the urban South’s black leaders, citizens, and students and their allies worked ceaselessly to instigate confrontations between southern white transgressors and federal white enforcers. Along the way, African Americans worked to define equality for themselves and to gain the required power to demand it. They forged the protest traditions of an enduring black struggle for equality in the urban South. By 1960 that struggle had inspired a national civil rights movement.

This is a must-read book for anyone interested in African American history, the history of Maryland, Baltimore, and late nineteenth- and twentieth-century America.

—Suzanne E. Chapelle, Maryland Historical Magazine

David Taft Terry's The Struggle and the Urban South: Confronting Jim Crow in Baltimore before the Movement is not just an examination of the Black freedom struggle that happens to be situated in a city; it is a probing historical account of the contested daily struggle of Black urban politics...[and] an important book that puts Black urban history and urban politics into creative and engaging tension.

—Kimberley S. Johnson, Journal of Southern History

The Struggle and the Urban South is an important and well-written book. Terry’s analysis will draw readers interested in the history of Baltimore and those looking for a nuanced examination of how activists slowly dismantled the dictates of Jim Crow segregation.

—Dennis Patrick Halpin, The Journal of African American History

About the Author/Editor

DAVID TAFT TERRY is an assistant professor of history at Morgan State University.