Books: Non-Fiction

A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History

Book – Non-fiction. By Jeanne Theoharis. 2018. 282 pages.
A non-academic, popular historiography that challenges educators to revamp curriculum to include a fuller, more critical history of the Civil Rights era.

Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements

A More Beautiful and Terrible History is a must-read for any teacher of the Civil Rights Movement. Theoharis aims to provide a non-academic, popular historiography that can be used by teachers, students, and activists “to approach the task of racial justice today.”

The preface and introduction brilliantly trace the creation of a “civil rights fable” that celebrates “individual courage, missing the collective struggle these victories took and forgoing national accountability by relegating history of inequality to the past.”

From outlining the Civil Rights Movement in the North that preceded the Black Power uprisings of the mid-1960s to tracing the key role that young people — especially high school students — played, the nine chapters that follow outline “the histories we need.”

The book challenges educators to revamp our curriculum to include a fuller, more critical history of the Civil Rights era. [Rethinking School’s description].

ISBN: 9780807075876 | Published by Beacon Press.