ABSTRACT

The emergence of good black citizenship during the formation of the early part of the civil rights movement was a major reason for the movement’s political success. However, good black citizenship was not just an image or a way of framing blacks positively to whites to desegregate public amenities. The liberal project presented good black citizenship as a universal system of conduct. It was to organize black political mobilization and become part of their everyday cultural schemas.1 This is one reason why it is hard to fi t the civil rights movement into just the study of social movements-the importance of SMOs, strategies, and identities-because the movement had a much larger impact on the lives of black and white Americans. McAdam illustrated this in his study of how participation in SNCC’s Freedom Summer changed how the white volunteers understood interracial relations, sexuality, and US politics.2 This chapter explains how the liberal project used good black social ethics to physically and symbolically expand the movement into the rural civil spheres and the black private sphere.