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Marching Across the Color Line

A. Philip Randolph and Civil Rights in the World War II Era

David Welky

Publication Date - 16 August 2013

ISBN: 9780199998302

240 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

This lively narrative examines an early battle in the Civil Rights Movement while highlighting the hypocrisy of racial politics of the day


Once labeled the most dangerous black man in America, A. Philip Randolph was a tireless crusader for civil rights and economic justice. In Marching Across the Color Line: A. Philip Randolph and Civil Rights in the World War II Era, author David Welky examines Randolph's central role in the African American struggle for equality during the World War II era. Frustrated by unequal treatment in the military and civilian life, Randolph threatened to march 100,000 African Americans to Washington, DC, unless President Franklin Roosevelt expanded employment opportunities for blacks. Roosevelt backed down following a tense standoff, issuing an executive order guaranteeing equal opportunities for all Americans to get jobs in the growing defense industry.

Armed with this victory, Randolph led wartime charges to integrate the military, further expand job opportunities, and end discrimination against minorities. He staged massive rallies, badgered political leaders, and pricked the conscience of a nation fighting for democracy overseas while reluctant to create it at home.

A lively, engaging narrative set against a turbulent backdrop of political maneuvering, race riots, and the largest war in human history, Marching Across the Color Line exposes students to an array of fascinating characters who wrote the dramatic opening chapters in America's civil rights saga.

About the Author(s)

David Welky is Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Arkansas. He is the author of several books, including America Between the Wars, 1919-1941: A Documentary Reader (2012), The Thousand-Year Flood: The Ohio-Mississippi Disaster of 1937 (2011), and Everything Was Better in America: Print Culture in the Great Depression (2008).

Table of Contents

    1. The Hour and the Man
    2. We Want True Democracy
    3. One Hundred Thousand, Mister President
    4. No Place to Put You
    5. An Hour of Crisis
    6. Bad and Getting Worse
    7. Let Us Win Another Victory

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