Against all odds, the seeds of social change found purchase in mid-twentieth century South Carolina. Newspaperman John McCray and his allies at the Lighthouse and Informer challenged readers to "rebel and fight"--to reject the "slavery of thought and action" and become "progressive fighters" for equality. Newspaper Wars traces the role journalism played in the fight for civil rights in South Carolina from the 1930s through the 1960s. Moving the press to the center of the political action, Sid Bedingfield tells the stories of the long-overlooked men and women on the front lines of a revolution. African American progress sparked a battle to shape South Carolina's civic life, with civil rights activists arrayed against white journalists determined to preserve segregation through massive resistance. As that strategy failed, white newspapers turned to overt political action and crafted the still-prevalent narratives that aligned southern whites with the national conservative movement. A fascinating portrait of a defining time, Newspaper Wars analyzes the role journalism played--and still can play--during times of social, cultural, and political change.
"Very well written and enjoyable to read. Journalists, Sid Bedingfield persuasively demonstrates, did not just document the civil rights movement in South Carolina, but rather they actively influenced its course and outcomes."--Michael Stamm, author of Sound Business: Newspapers, Radio, and the Politics of New Media
"Sid Bedingfield offers a brilliantly fresh account of the peak decades of the civil rights movement--a time when newspapers shaped the contours of civic discourse and political debate. More than an essential history of the civil rights movement in South Carolina, Newspaper Wars recasts our understanding of the civil rights era and the enduring struggles around race and citizenship."--Patricia Sullivan, author of Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement