Miller Center

Cold War Civil Rights and Human Rights

May 2, 2014
10:30AM - 11:40AM (EDT)

Scholars have recently explored from many angles the intersection of domestic and international politics and policies during the civil rights revolution. This was a time when anti-colonial movements inspired U.S. activists, when widely publicized civil rights crises became acute cold war foreign policy headaches for Presidents, when defenders of racial hierarchy world-wide incorporated anti-Communism into their arsenals of resistance. Our invited scholars approach these debates from fresh perspectives that examine how the United Nations became a crucial site of contestation over the meaning and enforcement of civil rights and human rights. What can attention to cold war politics, global freedom movements, and debates in the UN about human rights tell us about the shape and scope, the successes and failures of the US rights agenda?

  • Carol Anderson, Professor of African American Studies and History, Emory University, author of a celebrated book on the United Nations, human rights, and the Cold War civil rights agenda, Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944-1955 (Cambridge, 2003).
  • Timothy Lovelace, Associate Professor, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, whose current book project, “The World is on Our Side: The Black Freedom Movement and U.S. Origins of the U.N. Race Convention,” based on his UVA dissertation, examines how civil rights activists in the US South helped to inform the development of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
  • Moderator: William Hitchcock, UVa Department of History and Miller Center

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