Marian Anderson's famous 1939 concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial was a watershed moment in the struggle for racial justice. Beginning with this event, Robert L. Harris Jr. and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn chart the historical efforts of African Americans to address racism and inequality. They explore the rise of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and the national and international contexts that shaped their ideologies and methods. They consider how changes in immigration patterns have complicated the conventional "black/white" dichotomy in American society and discuss the often uneasy coexistence between a growing African American middle class and a persistent and sizable underclass.
Contributors consider specific issues in African American life, including the effects of the postindustrial economy and the influence of music, military service, sports, literature, culture, business, and the politics of self-designation, e.g., "Colored" vs. "Negro," "Black" vs. "African American." An invaluable resource, The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939 is a multifaceted map of a crucial historical period.