The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The American Territorial System is a mature introduction to a rich field
of research and study. Both historians and political scientists will find it
provocative and informative.
University of Arizona HARWOOD P. HINTON
Gulf Coast Politics in the Twentieth Century. Edited by Ted Carageorge
et al. (Pensacola, Florida: Historic Pensacola Preservation Board,
1973. Pp. v+89. $4-50.)
This slim volume features eight articles concerning three southern themes
-agrarians versus the New South creed; white supremacy; and recent
political trends. All eight were presentations at the Fourth Annual Gulf
Coast History and Humanities Conference in Pensacola in I972.
Both Melvin Bradford and Paul Gaston assail the dehumanizing New
South creed, but only Gaston notes correctly that it "became a powerful
ideological support for a new conservative status quo" (p. I7). The South,
in fact, has still made no real commitment to fight poverty and injustice; it
can best do so, Gaston believes, by harkening to such heritages as Governor
Askew's opposition to the bussing referendum rather than to L. Q. C.
Lamar's program of mass peonage.
Turning to white supremacy topics, Professor William Holmes puts to-
gether a brief synthesis that challenges C. Vann Woodward's assertion that
political racism was strongest around the turn of the century, as evidenced
by the disfranchisement constitutions. Holmes argues that disfranchisement
was a constant and unending movement from the demise of slavery until
the turn of the century; new constitutions were merely the final step.
Professor David Chalmers contends that the history of the black and
white races in the South demonstrates that "voting is a master key to pro-
tection against violence" (p. 39). Currently, while violence against blacks
still may not be punished, it is no longer inspired from the top nor likely to
be demanded from the bottom. Attitudes are changing; and with blacks
a factor in southern politics, they are less vulnerable to violence. Chalmers
comes close to stating the commonplace, but it probably needs stating.
Melton McLaurin delves into primary sources to point to the profound
impact that World War II had on the development of political conscious-
ness among blacks in Mobile, Alabama. After the Smith v. Allwright case,
blacks began voting, but only after overcoming the sweeping discretionary
powers of the registrars. Even then, they needed the support of key elements
in the white community, who, like many black veterans, saw their beliefs
and values changed by the war.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 27, 2016.

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