Books: Non-Fiction

Refusing Racism: White Allies and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Book – Non-fiction. By Cynthia Stokes Brown. 2002.
Four short biographies of white people who’ve fought against racism in U.S. history.

Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Racism & Racial Identity

9780807742044Making the stories of white allies more visible is an important contribution to multicultural education and anti-racist literature and I believe this book will be of interest to many educators. I am not aware of any other text which provides this kind of biographical material about white allies of historical significance. —Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race

Why and how have whites joined people of color to fight against white supremacy in the United States? What have they risked and what have they gained? For anyone who has wondered about the character, motivations, and contributions of white civil rights activists, Refusing Racism offers rich portraits of four contemporary white U.S. activists who have dedicated their lives to the struggle for civil rights. Drawing heavily on interviews and memoirs, this volume offers honest accounts of their thoughts and experiences and shows how their commitments are central to our ongoing history.

Featured Allies

  • Virginia Foster Durr (1903-1999) was a housewife and political activist from Birmingham, Alabama, who fought against the poll tax and southern white male domination.
  • J. Waties Waring (1880-1968) was a federal judge from Charleston, South Carolina, who opened white primaries to Black voters.
  • Anne McCarty Braden (born 1924) is a journalist and community organizer from Louisville, Kentucky, who defied racist real estate practices and the House Un-American Activities Committee and organized white southerners to support the civil rights movement.
  • Herbert R. Kohl (born 1937) is a writer and educator from New York City who authored 36 Children and twenty-five other books about education and civil rights.

ISBN: 9780807742044 | Published by Teachers College Press.