American segregationist ideology and white Southern Africa, 1948-1975

Hyman, Zoe Laura (2012) American segregationist ideology and white Southern Africa, 1948-1975. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

PDF - Published Version
Download (1MB) | Preview


This thesis examines the relationship between segregationist organisations, publications and individuals in the United States and their pro-apartheid counterparts in southern Africa. It uncovers a sustained and extensive foreign policy of segregationists that has hitherto been overlooked and a relationship between the countries that goes beyond existing analyses of Cold War cooperation or comparative studies of the countries’ racial systems.

When the civil rights movement began, steadfast segregationists in the American South looked further afield for support, inspiration and ideological affirmation of their belief in white supremacy. They found this in South Africa and its apartheid policies as well as in other right-wing organisations and individuals outside the American South. Through the archives of segregationist organisations, civil rights organisations, anti-communist groups, individuals, governmental records and newspapers, this thesis charts the journey southern segregationists took from the creation of massive resistance in 1954 – a movement focused on regional problems – to a dramatically less isolationist standpoint one decade later. By 1965, white southern Africa had really captured the imagination of segregationists, alliances had been forged and when massive resistance failed, segregationists did not retreat from their international agenda.

Although South Africa was a focal point of segregationists’ attention during massive resistance, they also became committed to white rule in Rhodesia after 1965. This thesis examines the groups across America that supported the isolated bastions of white supremacy in southern Africa and demonstrates that the Cold War alliance between U.S. and southern African governments inadvertently helped to maintain and conceal the racism that drove segregationists to form fruitful links in southern Africa. The tangible and ideological links segregationists made abroad internationalised a concept of white supremacy in which race trumped nationality. This global white supremacy has endured and reveals that segregationists were not insignificant reactionaries with a short lived movement but people who affected race relations in the long term.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > American Studies
Subjects: D History > DT History of Africa > DT1701 South Africa
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT1501 Races Including race as a social group and race relations in general
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2012 09:21
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:50

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update