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Title: Peace & freedom : the relationship between the African American freedom struggle and the movement to end the war in Vietnam, 1965-1972
Author: Hall, S.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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The dissertation offers a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between the civil rights and antiwar movements in the United States during the years 1965-1972. It seeks to explore two related themes - the varying response to the war within the civil rights movement, and the failure of the two movements to work together closely. The dissertation explains the differing responses of civil rights groups to the war by placing them within the context of 'organising experience'. 'On-the-ground' experience in the Deep South or in northern ghettos had a radicalising influence on civil rights workers, thus increasing the likelihood of cynicism about the war or outright opposition to it. This paradigm also helps to explain the reluctance of the national NAACP and others to take a stand on the war. Since Roy Wilkins et al had a much more positive experience of working with the Democratic Party and white liberals, they had little reason to alienate their allies by opposing the war. One advantage of this approach is that it adds nuance to the decision taken by moderate black leaders to not oppose the war, and rescues them from a historiography that has, on occasion, been too quick to condemn them as sell-outs. The numerous efforts at constructing peace and freedom coalitions are also analysed (such as the August 1965 Assembly of Unrepresented People and the 1967 convention of the National Conference for New Politics), and the problems encountered are documented and evaluated. Prominent among these are Black Power, white factionalism, and counterculturalism. The dissertation also examines the peace movement's attempts to attract black support, and the intense and intractable debate within the antiwar movement over whether to focus solely on ending the war, or encompass domestic issues as well. I demonstrate how the inability of the white-dominated peace movement to do little more than associate with the black struggle in a rhetorical way, undermined efforts at building genuine co-operation between the two movements. Moreover, this debate about 'multi-issuism' was invariably related to the factionalism that alienated black activists and made them reluctant to work with the peace movement at the organisational level.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available