Restructured Resistance
The Sibley Commission and the Politics of Desegregation in Georgia

Jeff Roche


"This is a fine study of the Sibley Commission. Roche has placed it within the context of economic, political, and social developments that shaped southern history during the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s."
—Will Holmes , author of Struggling to Shake Off Old Shackles: Twentieth-Century Georgia

“In providing a fine-grained analysis of desegregation politics in Georgia, an informed comparative discussion of southern desegregation, and a history of this heretofore understudied commission, Roche’s book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of massive resistance or postwar southern politics.”
Journal of Southern History

“While Roche has used the Commission’s records to analyze its work and its outcome in terms of Georgia’s political issues, a legitimate scholarly objective which he has accomplished successfully, he has also alerted students of the phenomenon to a rich documentary source relevant to understanding both white and black reaction to desegregation early in the process.”
History of Education Quarterly

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In the spring of 1960, unprecedented public hearings were held on segregation and the future of public education. These hearings, held by John Sibley and the Georgia General Assembly Committee on Schools, offered a rare glimpse into the reactions of southerners--black and white--to the changes wrought by the civil rights movement.

Restructured Resistance uses newly opened private papers, public records, newspaper reports, and oral history interviews to examine how the desegregation of public schools in Georgia reflected the evolution of southern society, economics, and politics. In the midst of crisis over segregation as a symbol of southern distinctiveness, the state legislature accepted the inevitable, adopted the Sibley Commission's proposals, and created a deliberate and more utilitarian form of defiance--a restructured resistance--rooted in contemporary practicality and corporate pragmatism.

Page count: 272 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9

Read more about the Sibley Commission at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $29.95

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Jeff Roche is an associate professor of history at The College of Wooster. He is the editor of The Political Culture of the New West and coeditor of The Conservative Sixties.