How Nell Battle Lewis kept her cred

“In the 1920s, the journalist Nell Battle Lewis of North Carolina never questioned the absolute need for racial segregation even as she criticized the violence committed in the name of Jim Crow. Staying in the racial fold, she was afforded the opportunity to blast her state’s regressive labor and gender politics. Being a white supremacist, even a liberal one, meant that she remained part of the conversation.”

By the 1950s, Battle had dramatically reversed course on “so-called ‘liberalism,’ which so often, like mine was [during the Gastonia strike of 1929], is not only ignorant and neurotic, but very dangerous.”


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