Cultural Sociology

Whites Recall the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham

We Didn’t Know it was History until after it Happened

Authors: Gill, Sandra

  • Brings together the two prominent approaches to the study of memory in sociology
  • Sheds light on the social environment surrounding a crucial moment in American history - the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
  • Provides deeper understanding of how young white people in the South’s most segregated city perceived the events of the Civil Rights Movement
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eBook $39.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-47136-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-47135-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This illuminating volume examines how the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama developed as a trauma of culture. Throughout the book, Gill asks why the “four little girls” killed in the bombing became part of the nation’s collective memory, while two black boys killed by whites on the same day were all but forgotten. Conducting interviews with classmates who attended a white school a few blocks from some of the most memorable events of the Civil Rights Movement, Gill discovers that the bombing of the church is central to interviewees’ memories. Even the boy killed by Gill’s own classmates often escapes recollection. She then considers these findings within the framework of the reception of memory and analyzes how white southerners reconstruct a difficult past.  

About the authors

Sandra K. Gill is Associate Professor of Sociology at Gettysburg College, USA, where she teaches courses in social theory, gender, and qualitative methods. Her published works include articles on gender inequality, gender differences in personality, and autobiographical memory.  

Reviews

“This is an analytically astute and objective work by someone who was, in a real sense, a participant observer. It has the best qualities of the reflexive sociology that Peter Berger and Peter Bourdieu advocated, and Gill integrates an impressive range of relevant literature. The book is well written; despite the grimness of the subject matter, it is a pleasure to read.” (Martin O. Heisler, Professor Emeritus, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, USA)

“Gill’s analysis of interviews with her former classmates illustrates the enduring practices that sustain racial inequality. Memories of the four Black girls killed in the 1963 church bombing contrast with the failure to remember two Black boys slain on the same day. Her analysis highlights the nuances that shape sympathy for victims and speaks to contemporary racial justice issues raised by the Black Lives Matter Movement.” (Sharon Elise, Ph.D, Professor of Sociology and Department Chair, California State University, San Marcos, USA)

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $39.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-47136-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-47135-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Whites Recall the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham
Book Subtitle
We Didn’t Know it was History until after it Happened
Authors
Series Title
Cultural Sociology
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-47136-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-47136-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-47135-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 128
Topics