Although few books on my exam reading lists were categorized specifically as "civil rights," many on the topic found their way into sections on constitutional law, urban change, 20th century politics, and the American West. Here in this post, I’ve gathered together the books on civil rights that populated my three exam fields--“U.S. History from 1865 to Present,” “Anglo-American Legal History,” and “Race, Gender & Place”--plus a few more that deserve to be on any list but didn't quite make my own.
- C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (1st ed., 1955).
- Steven Lawson and Charles Payne, Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006)
- Kenneth Mack, Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer (Harvard University Press, 2012)
- Risa Goluboff, The Lost Promise of Civil Rights (Harvard University Press, 2007)
- Gerald Rosenberg, The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change (University of Chicago Press, 1991)
- Michael Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press, 2004)
- Charles Payne, I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle (University of California Press, 1995)
- Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (Harvard, 1981)
- John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (University of Illinois Press, 1994)
- Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press, 2011)
- Lance Hill, The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement (University of North Carolina Press, 2006)
- Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past,” Journal of American History 91 (2005): 1233-1263.
- Eric Arnesen, “Reconsidering the ‘Long Civil Rights Movement',” Historically Speaking (April 2009): 31-34.
- Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950 (Norton & Co., 2008)
- Nancy MacLean, Freedom Is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace (Harvard University Press, 2008)
- Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton University Press, 1996)
- Thomas Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (Random House, 2008)
- Mark Brilliant, The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil Rights Reform in California, 1941-1978 (Oxford University Press, 2012)
- Andrew Wiese, Places of Their Own: African-American Suburbanization in Twentieth-Century America (University of Chicago Press, 2005)
- Becky Nicolaides, My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working-Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920–1965 (University of Chicago Press, 2002)
- Robert O. Self, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton University Press, 2005)
- Matthew D. Lassiter, The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South (Princeton University Press, 2007)
- Kevin M. Kruse, White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Princeton University Press, 2005)
- Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2000)
For more thoughts on civil rights historiography take a look at these posts: one by guest blogger Christopher Capozzola here, and a second by guest blogger Susan D. Carle here.
What else is essential on a "Civil Rights Movement" reading list?