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Battling the Plantation MentalityMemphis and the Black Freedom Struggle$
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Laurie B. Green

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831069

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888872_green

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Rejecting Mammy: The Urban-Rural Road in the Era of Brown v. Board of Education

Rejecting Mammy: The Urban-Rural Road in the Era of Brown v. Board of Education

(p.183) 6 Rejecting Mammy: The Urban-Rural Road in the Era of Brown v. Board of Education
Battling the Plantation Mentality

Laurie B. Green

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines black activism in Memphis in the years surrounding the Supreme Court's 1955 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. More specifically, it looks at black workers' attempt to make their mark in the political arena by bringing urban problems of labor, gender, and racial justice into the realm of politics. The chapter discusses these efforts in the context of an urban–rural matrix and how the interchange between plantation and city, along with the Supreme Court's redefinition of equal rights, shaped local understandings of freedom. Focusing on the “mammy” stereotype that arose from the case of the “Patio 6” black workers, it analyzes labor and civil rights issues during the Cold War. Finally, the chapter explores the desegregation lawsuits and campaigns that followed Brown v. Board of Education, and how young activists transformed the Memphis National Association for the Advancement of Colored People into a vigorous organization.

Keywords:   black activism, Memphis, Supreme Court, labor, racial justice, mammy stereotype, civil rights, desegregation

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