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Title: The Making of "An American Dilemma" (1944): The Carnegie Corporation, Gunnar Myrdal, and the Unlikely Roots of Modern Civil Rights Discourse
Authors: Morey, Maribel
Advisors: Hartog, Hendrik
Katz, Stanley N.
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: History of British Colonial Africa
History of Legal and Political Thought
History of Philanthropy
History of the African American Experience
History of the Social Sciences
Transatlantic American History
Subjects: History
American studies
European history
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In 1937, the Carnegie Corporation of New York commissioned and funded a comprehensive study of African Americans and selected the Swedish economist, Gunnar Myrdal, to direct it. Seven years later, Myrdal's two-volume 1,483-page treatise in favor of racial integration in the United States appeared. Writing largely to a white liberal American audience whom he perceived to be the dominant group of Americans in the country, the Swedish author argued in <italic> An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy </italic> that black Americans were just like white Americans and that any differences that existed between these two groups in American society were largely caused by white Americans' discriminatory behavior. Myrdal noted that if white Americans made their individual behavior and public policies reflect their national egalitarian ideals (the "American Creed"), black Americans would become just like them. Soon after its publication, <italic> An American Dilemma </italic> became central to national race discussions and, since then, has been heralded as a founding text of modern civil rights discourse. With the intention of placing this postwar American discourse on race in a broader historical and global context, this dissertation manuscript explains why the Carnegie Corporation commissioned, funded, and published Gunnar Myrdal's <italic> An American Dilemma </italic> and why Myrdal wrote what he did in the two volumes. It argues that <italic> An American Dilemma </italic> should be understood as a successor to the Carnegie Corporation's two other comprehensive, policy-oriented studies of white-black relations in British Africa and to Gunnar and Alva Myrdal's analysis of the population problem in 1930s Sweden.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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