Outstanding Historian Honored
-- April 19, 2006 --
In “Black Civil Rights and Liberal Anticommunism: The NAACP during the McCarthy Era,” Berg argues that the accusations that the civil rights organization sold its soul to avoid being considered sympathetic to the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) and that it thereby weakened its advocacy of civil rights are unfair. Berg asserts that the NAACP’s goals were rarely congruent with the CPUSA and that its anticommunism was not as strident as some historians have claimed. In fact, Berg writes, the NAACP’s philosophy of “liberal anticommunism” preserved the mainstream political legitimacy of the movement for civil rights without subjecting the organization to internal ideological purges during the McCarthy era. Berg’s articulate essay makes good use of primary source materials in the Library of Congress and extends an important historiographical conversation about the NAACP, domestic politics, and the Cold War.
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