The Wages of Resistance: Financing the Black Freedom Movement


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS Oscar Handlin Fellow named award


This project examines the everyday financial politics of social movements in the post WWII period to explore the social and political culture behind the democratic ideals of resource mobilization. The funding appeals from civil rights and black power organizations and the motivation to give reveal the personal sacrifices that activists and supporters tied to the struggles for freedom. The study foregrounds three interrelated themes: the courtship of interracial support (labor unions, Jewish allies, foundations, black business owners, and the black working class); the ways in which gender informed fundraising; and how race and militancy were constitutive of giving. Using oral histories, bail records, and archival documents from organizations such as SNCC, SCLC, NACWC, and the BPP, this study reveals how the act of fundraising and giving were critical components of both movement buildong and the costs of citizenship as a tax on the oppressed.