Racial and Urban Politics and the Rise of the Richmond Crusade for Voters before 1965
Chapter 1 reimagines the origins of the civil rights movement by examining the suffrage crusades that predated the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. The women and men of the Richmond Crusade for Voters were the legatees of a drawn-out struggle against racist civility and white paternalism in Virginia. Moderate racial reforms, led by men such as Gordon Blaine Hancock, characterized race relations in Richmond before the 1950s. Brown v. Board of Education (1954) ended racist civility in Virginia. The Crusade and the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) more immediately emerged in opposition to massive resistance to public-school integration and racist urban-renewal policies. This organization eventually outmobilized Harry Byrd’s political machine by paying poll taxes. With the help of the NAACP and its “Miracle of 1960” campaign, the Crusade elected an African American, B.A. “Sonny” Cephas, to the Richmond City Council in 1964.
Keywords: Gordon Blaine Hancock, white paternalism, Brown v. Board of Education, massive resistance, Harry F. Byrd, urban renewal, poll tax, Richmond Crusade for Voters, NAACP, Miracle of 1960, B. A. “Sonny” Cephas
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