Famed liberal historian C. Vann Woodward shows little patience with political correctnessHistorians in the News
tags: C. Vann Woodward
General readers know the liberal scholar C. Vann Woodward (1908-1999) as one of the nation’s foremost Southern historians.
For decades professors assigned Woodward’s “The Strange Career of Jim Crow” (1955) to their college U.S. history courses. It sold a million copies and, according to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., was “the historical Bible of the civil rights movement.”
Following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, Woodward argued that legal segregation was not the “natural” relationship between the races. Rather, segregation laws came to pass later than most historians had assumed – more than a decade after Southern Republican governments fell in the 1870s. If statutes could legalize Jim Crow in the late 19th century, Woodward reasoned, then statutes could overturn it in the mid-20th century....
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