In a sweeping history of the Civil Rights movement in Atlanta from the end of World War II to 1980, Tomiko Brown-Nagin shows that long before "black power" emerged and gave black dissent from the mainstream civil rights agenda a name, African Americans in Atlanta questioned the meaning of equality and the steps necessary to obtain a share of the American dream. The book uncovers the activism of visionariesboth well-known figures and unsung citizensfrom across the ideological spectrum who sought something different from, or more complicated than, "integration." Local activists often played leading roles in carrying out the agenda of the NAACP, but some also pursued goals that differed markedly from those of the venerable civil rights organization. Brown-Nagin documents how the remarkable battle over school desegregation in the 1970s, which featured opposing camps of black plaintiffs, had its roots in the years before Brown v. Board of Education. Exploring the complex interplay between the local and national, between lawyers and communities, between elites and grassroots, and between middle-class and working-class African Americans, Courage to Dissent tells a compelling story about the long and unfinished struggle for racial equality.
Brown-Nagin puts her combined academic expertise in law and history to work in this detailed study of the struggle to end Jim Crow in the South as reflected in the work of activists in Atlanta from the end of World War II through the 1970s.