Phillip J. Obermiller is a senior visiting scholar in the School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati and a fellow at the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center. He is author or editor of numerous books on Appalachia and both black and white Appalachians.
In the summer of 1943, as World War II raged overseas, the United States also faced internal strife. Earlier that year, Detroit had erupted in a series of race riots that killed dozens and destroyed entire neighborhoods. Across the country, mayors and city councils sought to defuse racial tensions and promote nonviolent solutions to social and economic injustices.