Author: Thomas J. Sugrue
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2014-04-27
Once America's "arsenal of democracy," Detroit is now the symbol of the American urban crisis. In this reappraisal of America’s racial and economic inequalities, Thomas Sugrue asks why Detroit and other industrial cities have become the sites of persistent racialized poverty. He challenges the conventional wisdom that urban decline is the product of the social programs and racial fissures of the 1960s. Weaving together the history of workplaces, unions, civil rights groups, political organizations, and real estate agencies, Sugrue finds the roots of today’s urban poverty in a hidden history of racial violence, discrimination, and deindustrialization that reshaped the American urban landscape after World War II. This Princeton Classics edition includes a new preface by Sugrue, discussing the lasting impact of the postwar transformation on urban America and the chronic issues leading to Detroit’s bankruptcy.
Author: Michael Peter Smith
Release Date: 2017-09-29
Genre: Business & Economics
This book addresses the questions of what went wrong with Detroit and what can be done to reinvent the Motor City. Various answers to the former-deindustrialization, white flight, and a disappearing tax base-are now well understood. Less discussed are potential paths forward, stemming from alternative explanations of Detroit's long-term decline and reconsideration of the challenges the city currently faces. Urban crisis-socioeconomic, fiscal, and political-has seemingly narrowed the range of possible interventions. Growth-oriented redevelopment strategies have not reversed Detroit's decline, but in the wake of crisis, officials have increasingly funnelled limited public resources into the city's commercial core via an implicit policy of "urban triage." The crisis has also led to the emergency management of the city by extra-democratic entities. As a disruptive historical event, Detroit's crisis is a moment teeming with political possibilities. The critical rethinking of Detroit's past, present, and future is essential reading for both urban studies scholars and the general public.
Author: Brian L. Tochterman
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Release Date: 2017-05-08
In this eye-opening cultural history, Brian Tochterman examines competing narratives that shaped post–World War II New York City. As a sense of crisis rose in American cities during the 1960s and 1970s, a period defined by suburban growth and deindustrialization, no city was viewed as in its death throes more than New York. Feeding this narrative of the dying city was a wide range of representations in film, literature, and the popular press--representations that ironically would not have been produced if not for a city full of productive possibilities as well as challenges. Tochterman reveals how elite culture producers, planners and theorists, and elected officials drew on and perpetuated the fear of death to press for a new urban vision. It was this narrative of New York as the dying city, Tochterman argues, that contributed to a burgeoning and broad anti-urban political culture hostile to state intervention on behalf of cities and citizens. Ultimately, the author shows that New York's decline--and the decline of American cities in general--was in part a self-fulfilling prophecy bolstered by urban fear and the new political culture nourished by it.
Philadelphia's community muralism movement is transforming the City of Brotherly Love into the Mural Capital of the World. This remarkable groundswell of public art includes some 3,500 wall-sized canvases: On warehouses and on schools, on mosques and in jails, in courthouses and along overpasses. In If These Walls Could Talk, Maureen O'Connell explores the theological and social significance of the movement. She calls attention to some of the most startling and powerful works it has produced and describes the narratives behind them. In doing so, O'Connell illustrates the ways that the arts can help us think about and work through the seemingly inescapable problems of urban poverty and arrive at responses that are both creative and effective. This is a book on American religion. It incorporates ethnography to explore faith communities that have used larger-than-life religious imagery to proclaim in unprecedented public ways their self-understandings, memories of the past, and visions of the future. It also examines the way this art functions in larger public discourse about problems facing every city in America. But If These Walls Could Talk is also theological text. It considers the theological implications of this most democratic expression of public art, mindful of the three components of every mural: the pieces themselves, those who create them, and those who interpret them. It illuminates a kind of beauty that seeks after social change or, in other words, the largely unexplored relationship between theological aesthetics and ethics.
Author: Ellen C. Scott
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Release Date: 2015-01-14
Genre: Performing Arts
From Al Jolson in blackface to Song of the South, there is a long history of racism in Hollywood film. Yet as early as the 1930s, movie studios carefully vetted their releases, removing racially offensive language like the “N-word.” This censorship did not stem from purely humanitarian concerns, but rather from worries about boycotts from civil rights groups and loss of revenue from African American filmgoers. Cinema Civil Rights presents the untold history of how Black audiences, activists, and lobbyists influenced the representation of race in Hollywood in the decades before the 1960s civil rights era. Employing a nuanced analysis of power, Ellen C. Scott reveals how these representations were shaped by a complex set of negotiations between various individuals and organizations. Rather than simply recounting the perspective of film studios, she calls our attention to a variety of other influential institutions, from protest groups to state censorship boards. Scott demonstrates not only how civil rights debates helped shaped the movies, but also how the movies themselves provided a vital public forum for addressing taboo subjects like interracial sexuality, segregation, and lynching. Emotionally gripping, theoretically sophisticated, and meticulously researched, Cinema Civil Rights presents us with an in-depth look at the film industry’s role in both articulating and censoring the national conversation on race.
Author: Jefferson Cowie
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Release Date: 1999
Genre: Business & Economics
Find a pool of cheap, pliable workers and give them jobs—and soon they cease to be as cheap or as pliable. What is an employer to do then? Why, find another poor community desperate for work. This route—one taken time and again by major American manufacturers—is vividly chronicled in this fascinating account of RCA's half century-long search for desirable sources of labor. Capital Moves introduces us to the people most affected by the migration of industry and, most importantly, recounts how they came to fight against the idea that they were simply "cheap labor."Jefferson Cowie tells the dramatic story of four communities, each irrevocably transformed by the opening of an industrial plant. From the manufacturer's first factory in Camden, New Jersey, where it employed large numbers of southern and eastern European immigrants, RCA moved to rural Indiana in 1940, hiring Americans of Scotch-Irish descent for its plant in Bloomington. Then, in the volatile 1960s, the company relocated to Memphis where African Americans made up the core of the labor pool. Finally, the company landed in northern Mexico in the 1970s—a region rapidly becoming one of the most industrialized on the continent.
Author: Mark Fiege
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Release Date: 2012-03-20
In the dramatic narratives that comprise The Republic of Nature, Mark Fiege reframes the canonical account of American history based on the simple but radical premise that nothing in the nation's past can be considered apart from the natural circumstances in which it occurred. Revisiting historical icons so familiar that schoolchildren learn to take them for granted, he makes surprising connections that enable readers to see old stories in a new light. Among the historical moments revisited here, a revolutionary nation arises from its environment and struggles to reconcile the diversity of its people with the claim that nature is the source of liberty. Abraham Lincoln, an unlettered citizen from the countryside, steers the Union through a moment of extreme peril, guided by his clear-eyed vision of nature's capacity for improvement. In Topeka, Kansas, transformations of land and life prompt a lawsuit that culminates in the momentous civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education. By focusing on materials and processes intrinsic to all things and by highlighting the nature of the United States, Fiege recovers the forgotten and overlooked ground on which so much history has unfolded. In these pages, the nation's birth and development, pain and sorrow, ideals and enduring promise come to life as never before, making a once-familiar past seem new. The Republic of Nature points to a startlingly different version of history that calls on readers to reconnect with fundamental forces that shaped the American experience. For more information, visit the author's website: http://republicofnature.com/
Author: Bryan D. Palmer
Publisher: New York : Monthly Review Press
Release Date: 2000
One of the quintessential goals of the American Dream is to own land and a home, a place to raise one's family and prove one's prosperity. Particularly for immigrant families, home ownership is a way to assimilate into American culture and community. However, Latinos, who make up the country's largest minority population, have largely been unable to gain this level of inclusion. Instead, they are forced to cling to the fringes of property rights and ownership through overcrowded rentals, transitory living arrangements, and, at best, home acquisitions through subprime lenders. In Tierra y Libertad, Steven W. Bender traces the history of Latinos' struggle for adequate housing opportunities, from the nineteenth century to today's anti-immigrant policies and national mortgage crisis. Spanning southwest to northeast, rural to urban, Bender analyzes the legal hurdles that prevent better housing opportunities and offers ways to approach sweeping legal reform. Tierra y Libertad combines historical, cultural, legal, and personal perspectives to document the Latino community's ongoing struggle to make America home.
The story of the civil rights movement typically begins with the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 and culminates with the 1965 voting rights struggle in Selma. But as Martha Biondi shows, a grassroots struggle for racial equality in the urban North began a full ten years before the rise of the movement in the South. This story is an essential first chapter, not only to the southern movement that followed, but to the riots that erupted in northern and western cities just as the civil rights movement was achieving major victories. Biondi tells the story of African Americans who mobilized to make the war against fascism a launching pad for a postwar struggle against white supremacy at home. Rather than seeking integration in the abstract, black New Yorkers demanded first-class citizenship--jobs for all, affordable housing, protection from police violence, access to higher education, and political representation. This powerful local push for economic and political equality met broad resistance, yet managed to win several landmark laws barring discrimination and segregation. To Stand and Fight demonstrates how black New Yorkers launched the modern civil rights struggle and left a rich legacy. Table of Contents: Prologue: The Rise of the Struggle for Negro Rights 1 Jobs for All 2 Black Mobilization and Civil Rights Politics 3 Lynching, Northern style 4 Desegregating the metropolis 5 Dead Letter Legislation 6 An Unnatural Division of People 7 Anticommunism and Civil Rights 8 The Paradoxical Effects of the Cold War 9 Racial Violence in the Free World 10 Lift Every Voice and Vote 11 Resisting Resegregation 12 To Stand and Fight Epilogue: Another Kind of America Notes Acknowledgments Illustration Credits Index Reviews of this book: Historians have thoroughly documented the experiences of those African Americans who lived in the South and worked to repeal Jim Crow laws. However, in this work, Biondi explores what she calls 'the struggle for Negro rights' in New York City, an exploration resulting in a stark reminder of the daily challenges facing blacks who lived in northern cities...With its detailed discussions of the American Labor Party, the Communist Party, Black Nationalism, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., W. E. B. Dubois, Roy Wilkins, and, especially, Paul Robeson, this work should be required reading for all historians interested in the post-WW II experience of African Americans in the urban North. --T. D. Beal, Choice Reviews of this book: In this meticulously researched monograph, Biondi reminds the reader that the struggle for black civil rights was waged in the North before it was joined in the South. She documents the fight against racial discrimination in hiring, police brutality, housing segregation, lack of political representation, and inadequate schools in New York City between 1946 and 1954...Biondi's writing is crisp and direct. She introduces the reader to a host of activists whose efforts deserve to be remembered. Unfortunately, most of the causes they championed remain with us today. --Paul T. Murray, MultiCultural Review With stunning research and powerful arguments, Martha Biondi charts a new direction in civil rights history - the northern side of the black freedom struggle. Biondi presents postwar New York as a battleground, no less than the Jim Crow South, for the fight against police brutality and discrimination in employment, housing, retail stores, and places of amusement. Men and women, trade unionists and religious leaders, integrationists and separatists, liberals and the Left come together in this pathbreaking study of America's largest and most cosmopolitan city. --Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham,, editor-in-chief of The Harvard Guide to African-American History To Stand and Fight brilliantly re-writes the history of postwar social movements in New York City. Martha Biondi has not only extended our view of the civil rights movement to the urban North, but she places the movement squarely within an international framework. She redefines the movement, focusing on the specific struggles that mattered: jobs, welfare, housing, police misconduct, political representation, and black people's ongoing battle for independence in the colonies. To Stand and Fight will stand out as a major contribution to an already burgeoning field of civil rights studies. --Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination To Stand and Fight establishes that New York was as important a battleground for racial equality as Montgomery or Birmingham. Martha Biondi has done a great service by uncovering the rich and largely forgotten history of New York's role in the African American freedom struggle. --Thomas J. Sugrue, author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit