‘Confronting change’ describes how the American South became a major player in the national mobilization for World War II. The war pushed the South far along the path of modernization. Democracy became a watchword during World War II, as the nation fought against fascism and emphasized that democratic values had to be affirmed by all as the reason for fighting. Ultimately, the war produced an assertive black leadership within the South, and the continued reform spirit of the New Deal led to aggressive campaigns for organized labor and for urban efforts to improve African American living conditions and opportunities. The rise of the civil rights movement was crucial to defining this period of American history.