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Cover for Canaan, Dim and Far

Canaan, Dim and Far

Black Reformers and the Pursuit of Citizenship in Pittsburgh, 1915-1945

Adam Lee CILLI


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (3/1/2021)


Canaan, Dim and Far argues for the importance of Pittsburgh as a case study in analyzing African American civil rights and political advocacy in an urban setting. Focusing on the period from the Progressive Era to the end of World War II, this book spotlights neglected aspects of middle-class Black activism in the decades preceding the civil rights movement. It features a revolving cast of social workers, medical professionals, journalists, scholars, and lawyers whose social justice efforts included but also extended past racial uplift ideology and respectability politics.

Adam Lee Cilli shows how these Black reformers experimented with a variety of strategies as they moved fluidly across ideologies and political alliances to find practical solutions to profound inequities. In the period under study, they developed crucial social safety supports in Black communities that buffered southern migrants against the physical, civil, and legal impositions of northern Jim Crow; they waged comprehensive campaigns against
anti-Black stereotypes; and they built inroads into the industrial labor movement that accelerated Black inclusion.

Committed to an expansive vision of economic and political citizenship, Pittsburgh's activists challenged white America to face its contradictions and to live up to its democratic ideals.

University of Georgia Press, 9780820358871, 272pp.

Publication Date: March 1, 2021