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This study examines the process of political change in the rural Alabama Black Belt counties of Greene and Sumter, located in the southwestern region of the state. Focusing on the period from the early 1960s through the mid-1980s, this study compares the processes of political mobilization and empowerment in these counties to account for divergent rates of political change. The nature and pattern of leadership, organizations, and the strategies and tactics employed to achieve mobilization and empowerment are discussed. Moreover, the utility of Aldon Morris’ indigenous perspective is assessed for understanding the dynamics of mobilization and empowerment in the rural Black Belt. The results reveal that leadership monopolization in the social change process at the local level has its benefits as indicated by the relatively rapid pace with which black majority rule was instituted in Greene County. In contrast, in Sumter County where leadership monopolization was far less pronounced, the empowerment process was more arduous and delayed. However, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, established in 1967, evolved into a local movement center proxy, thereby leveling the playing field to help propel to power by 1986 a black majority to the Sumter County government.
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- Political Mobilization and Empowerment in the Rural Alabama Black Belt: A Comparative Analysis of Sumter and Greene Counties
Michael L. Clemons
- Springer US
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