J. Michael Butler
The Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida 1960-1980
University of North Carolina Press 2016
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Human RightsNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network March 27, 2018 Adam McNeil
Historians have long debated when the Black Freedom Struggle began and when it ended. Most point to the King years, 1955-1968. In his excellent book Beyond Integration: The Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida 1960-1980 (UNC Press, 2016), Michael Butler argues that the fight continued well after King’s death. Butler also dispels the myth of Floridian exceptionalism, that is, that Florida was somehow less “Southern” than neighboring states. Whether through stories of police brutality, Confederate iconography, riots over integration, or the rise of Ku Klux Klan, Butler’s work demonstrates that even Southern Florida was not spared the racial violence endemic in other states of the South.
Adam McNeil is a soon-to-be PhD candidate in History and a Colored Conventions Project Fellow at the University of Delaware. He can be reached on Twitter @CulturedModesty.