Beyond Integration

The Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida, 1960-1980

By J. Michael Butler

346 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 22 halftones, 10 figs., 1 tables, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2747-2
    Published: May 2016
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-2748-9
    Published: April 2016

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Awards & distinctions

Silver Medalist, General Nonfiction, Florida Book Awards

In 1975, Florida’s Escambia County and the city of Pensacola experienced a pernicious chain of events. A sheriff's deputy killed a young black man at point-blank range. Months of protests against police brutality followed, culminating in the arrest and conviction of the Reverend H. K. Matthews, the leading civil rights organizer in the county. Viewing the events of Escambia County within the context of the broader civil rights movement, J. Michael Butler demonstrates that while activism of the previous decade destroyed most visible and dramatic signs of racial segregation, institutionalized forms of cultural racism still persisted. In Florida, white leaders insisted that because blacks obtained legislative victories in the 1960s, African Americans could no longer claim that racism existed, even while public schools displayed Confederate imagery and allegations of police brutality against black citizens multiplied.

Offering a new perspective on the literature of the black freedom struggle, Beyond Integration reveals how with each legal step taken toward racial equality, notions of black inferiority became more entrenched, reminding us just how deeply racism remained--and still remains--in our society.

About the Author

J. Michael Butler is professor of history at Flagler College.
For more information about J. Michael Butler, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

“An important topic and valuable study, J. Michael Butler’s work offers insight into aspects of the civil rights movement that have not yet had this kind of attention. Clear and focused, Beyond Integration makes an important contribution to our knowledge about the movement outside the spotlight and the challenges African Americans faced in influencing public policy when they were an electoral minority.”--Emilye Crosby, SUNY Geneseo

Beyond Integration does a superb job of using the civil rights movement in Pensacola, Florida, to tell larger truths about United States history. Arguing that the ‘long civil rights movement’ endured far beyond standard periodization, Butler likewise demonstrates that ‘white resistance’ to the fragile gains of the civil rights movement in the Deep South was far more robust, long-lasting, and multifaceted than historians have generally argued. Beyond Integration will make an immediate impact on debates over change and continuity in the civil rights movement as well as the nagging persistence of inequality in American life.”--Paul Ortiz, University of Florida