Chapter 5: Crusading for citizenship: how the mid-twentieth-century quest for African American voting rights emphasized plurality over populism
Restricted access

This chapter examines one of the most popular—not populist—movements in recent history: the American civil rights movement. This movement is celebrated for its adherence to non-violent resistance and direct-action protest. Popular and academic interest in these strategies, however, often overshadows the sustained quest for black voting rights. This chapter contends that the quest for voting rights during the American civil rights movement pushed Washington toward the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 and that this movement and the realization of the VRA were pluralist, rather than populist. Segregationist oligarchies all but ensured that race and class in the South would prohibit broad-based, interracial political coalitions. While the movement stood in direct contrast to the types of elitism that populists often target, African Americans’ quest for a more liberal democracy sought to upend the types of racist populism and elitism that characterized much of Jim Crow segregation.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Other access options

Redeem Token

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institutional Access

Personal login

Log in with your Elgar Online account

Login with you Elgar account
Monograph Book