Throughout the 1960s, global flows of both people and media images helped transform the imaginative possibilities open to the US civil rights movement’s leaders, its thousands of foot soldiers, and its opposition. A thickening network of social and economic linkages enabled the movement to mold a shadowy force, “world opinion,” into a weapon. To illuminate these forces at work, this article follows the journeys of an unlikely cosmopolitan, Sidney W. Smyer. A white businessman from Birmingham, Alabama, Smyer’s transformation from Dixiecrat politician to reluctant integrationist is a story of jet airplanes, satellite television, and global immanence.

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