Comparative Critique of Frederickson's Dixiecrat Revolt and Kelley's Race Rebels

1159 Words 5 Pages
Kari Frederickson's work, The Dixiecrat Revolt, examined the growing disenchantment of Southern Democrats to the federal government, President Truman, and ultimately, the Democratic Party. These Southern conservatives rebelled against the Democratic Party in the 1948 Presidential election resulting in the eventual political realignment of the South to a two-party system, and the rise of the Republican Party within that system. The two chapters of Robin D.G. Kelley's book, Race Rebels, studied the rebellion of blacks in Birmingham over the segregated public transportation system. He also examined the plight of poor blacks in the post-war period, as they received little aid from civil rights organizations and increased repression from the …show more content…
Frederickson analyzed the Dixiecrats in the larger framework of the Democratic Party while Kelley focused on blacks resisting segregation, white supremacy, and ignorance from middle-class blacks. Frederickson argued that New Deal programs disrupted the political and social balance in the South, undermining the existent relationship between whites and blacks.

A renewed militancy among southern blacks emboldened by the rhetoric of the war and by their participation in the struggle for democracy, the increased voting strength of northern blacks, and a wave of racial violence that rolled across the nation during the war years and after made national accommodation to southern sensibilities increasingly difficult. The combination of Supreme Court decisions and executive orders, working in tandem with grassroots efforts, once again threw southern conservatives on the defensive.

President Truman furthered this displacement when he asserted that the federal government had to take a stronger role in the defense of civil rights in his special message to Congress in 1948. Southerners not only felt separated from the federal government, but a fissure occurred between them and the Democratic Party.

Similarly, Kelley examined displacement between poor and middle-class blacks in the context of de-industrialization of Birmingham in the post-war period. "Segments of Birmingham's black industrial
Open Document