This article investigates white-black race relations in postwar urban Kansas. Focusing on seven small and mid-sized cities, it explores how white Kansans continued to maintain discrimination, segregation, and exclusion in these years, even as they yielded slowly to the demands of civil rights activists and their supporters. Specifically, it examines the means employed by whites to assert their dominance in social interactions; to discriminate in housing, employment, and commerce; and, in some cases, to defend their all-white (or nearly all-white) municipalities, the so-called sundown towns, from any black presence at all. In addition, it briefly discusses the white backlash which followed as whites turned sharply to the right on racial issues, convinced that blacks now enjoyed full equality and no longer required further concessions. In so doing, the article provides insight into the history of the black freedom struggle in a sampling of cities in a midwestern state, supplements the historiography of racism in Kansas, and opens new lines of inquiry into the historiography of the freedom struggle in the North during this period of rapid and profound transformation.

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