October 16, 2013
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v2.1 Reference

Race Harmony and Black Progress

Jack Woofter and the Interracial Cooperation Movement

Founded by white males, the interracial cooperation movement flourished in the American South in the years before the New Deal. The movement sought local dialogue between the races, improvement of education, and reduction of interracial violence, tending the flame of white liberalism until the emergence of white activists in the 1930s and after. Thomas Jackson (Jack) Woofter Jr., a Georgia sociologist and an authority on American race relations, migration, rural development, population change, and social security, maintained an unshakable faith in the "effectiveness of cooperation rather than agitation." Race Harmony and Black Progress examines the movement and the tenacity of a man who epitomized its spirit and shortcomings. It probes the movement's connections with late 19th-century racial thought, Northern philanthropy, black education, state politics, the Du Bois-Washington controversy, the decline of lynching, the growth of the social sciences, and New Deal campaigns for social justice.

About the Author

Mark Ellis is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, and author of Race, War, and Surveillance: African Americans and the United States Government during World War I (IUP, 2001).


"[E]llis uses Woofter to examine the southern movement for interracial cooperation between the two world wars. . . Ellis also provides insights into the development of the social scientific study of race relations, particularly in the South. . . Anyone interested in the anti-lynching movement, southern rural life, and the social sciences should find the study useful. In addition to rescuing Woofter from historical neglect, Ellis may make his most important and controversial contribution with his critical defense of that elusive phenomenon called southern liberalism.2015 120.3"—American Historical Review

"This book makes a persuasive case that the interracial cooperation movement played a bridge role between the Social Gospelers and later reformers and made important contributions to improving relations between middle class whites and blacks, creating a flow of Northern financial support to the South, decreasing the practice of lynching, and improving African American education"—History: Reviews of New Books

"Ellis's work represents an important contribution to our understanding of the 'long' civil rights movement. In this carfully nuanced study, Ellis praises the efforts of southern liberals in helping reduce lynching, providing support to black educational institutions, and fostering interracial dialogue."—The Journal of American History

"Overall, Ellis has produced a solid and useful study. While sympathetic to white southern liberals, he does not give them free pass. Instead he situates them within the context of their time and what remained possible then, not an easy task by any means. . . . In short, Race Harmony and Black Progress is a valuable addition to our understanding of southern liberalism."—Journal of Southern History

"Important and well documented. Ellis does a very good job of situating the work in an important debate over how to assess the historical contribution and value of Southern liberalism. . . . The writing is polished and clear. A book on Thomas Woofter is certainly welcome, indeed, needed."—Ben Keppel, University of Oklahoma

9780253010599 : race-harmony-and-black-progress-ellis
412 Pages
$45.00 USD

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