Window on Freedom

Race, Civil Rights, and Foreign Affairs, 1945-1988

Edited by Brenda Gayle Plummer

272 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 illus., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5428-0
    Published: February 2003
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6308-4
    Published: December 2003
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7259-3
    Published: December 2003

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The civil rights movement in the United States drew strength from supporters of human rights worldwide. Once U.S. policy makers--influenced by international pressure, the courage of ordinary American citizens, and a desire for global leadership--had signed such documents as the United Nations charter, domestic calls for change could be based squarely on the moral authority of doctrines the United States endorsed abroad.

This is one of the many fascinating links between racial politics and international affairs explored in Window on Freedom. Broad in chronological scope and topical diversity, the ten original essays presented here demonstrate how the roots of U.S. foreign policy have been embedded in social, economic, and cultural factors of domestic as well as foreign origin. They argue persuasively that the campaign to realize full civil rights for racial and ethnic minorities in America is best understood in the context of competitive international relations.

The contributors are Carol Anderson, Donald R. Culverson, Mary L. Dudziak, Cary Fraser, Gerald Horne, Michael Krenn, Paul Gordon Lauren, Thomas Noer, Lorena Oropeza, and Brenda Gayle Plummer.

About the Author

Brenda Gayle Plummer is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Rising Wind: Black Americans and U.S. Foreign Affairs, 1935-1960.
For more information about Brenda Gayle Plummer, visit the Author Page.


"Each contributor to this first-rate collection examines how the movement for racial equality in America can be better understood if placed in the context of competitive international relations. . . . A very good resource for students of racial factors in international relations."--Foreign Affairs

"It is difficult to understand why black protest, as old as the United States itself, finally succeeded in precipitating the Civil Rights Movement in the middle of the 20th century. Window on Freedom brings us one step closer to solving that mystery. . . . Sheds light on how global factors worked to solve the most American of problems."--Black Issues Book Review

"The essays in Plummer's volume should be of interest both to scholars and students of civil rights and US foreign policy."--Ethnic & Racial Studies

"Window on Freedom brings together a rich sampling of contemporary scholarship."--Journal of American History

"An excellent primer on the state of scholarship on the nexus of race and foreign affairs."--Journal of Southern History

"All those interested in race relations and foreign affairs will move quickly to read Window on Freedom. These wide-ranging essays offer cutting-edge scholarship on a fascinating intersection of domestic and international history. The Cold War can no longer be understood without its racial dimensions."--Tim Borstelmann, Cornell University