In Making the Second Ghetto, Arnold Hirsch argues that in the post-depression years Chicago was a "pioneer in developing concepts and devices" for housing segregation. Hirsch shows that the legal framework for the national urban renewal effort was forged in the heat generated by the racial struggles waged on Chicago's South Side. His chronicle of the strategies used by ethnic, political, and business interests in reaction to the great migration of southern blacks in the 1940s describes how the violent reaction of an emergent "white" population combined with public policy to segregate the city. "In this excellent, intricate, and meticulously researched study, Hirsch exposes the social engineering of the post-war ghetto."—Roma Barnes, Journal of American Studies "According to Arnold Hirsch, Chicago's postwar housing projects were a colossal exercise in moral deception. . . . [An] excellent study of public policy gone astray."—Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune "An informative and provocative account of critical aspects of the process in [Chicago]. . . . A good and useful book."—Zane Miller, Reviews in American History "A valuable and important book."—Allan Spear, Journal of American History
An historical analysis of Chicago's neighborhoods describes the patterns of violence that resulted from shifting community boundaries, and the housing policies that played a role in sustaining and intensifying segregation.
This book analyses the expansion of Chicago's Black Belt during the period immediately following World War II. Even as the civil rights movement swept the country, Chicago dealt with its rapidly growing black population not by abolishing the ghetto, but by expanding and reinforcing it. The city used a variety of means, ranging from riots to redevelopment, to prevent desegregation. The result was not only the persistence of racial segregation, but the evolution of legal concepts and tools which provided the foundation for the nation's subsequent urban renewal effort and the emergence of a ghetto now distinguished by government support and sanction. This book not only extends our knowledge of the evolution of race relations in urban America, but adds a new dimension to our perspective on the civil rights era - an age marked by the rise of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the explosion of northern cities in the wake of his assassination.
Public housing was an integral part of the New Deal, as the federal government funded public works to generate economic activity and offer material support to families made destitute by the Great Depression, and it remained a major element of urban policy in subsequent decades. As chronicled in New Deal Ruins, however, housing policy since the 1990s has turned to the demolition of public housing in favor of subsidized units in mixed-income communities and the use of tenant-based vouchers rather than direct housing subsidies. While these policies, articulated in the HOPE VI program begun in 1992, aimed to improve the social and economic conditions of urban residents, the results have been quite different. As Edward G. Goetz shows, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and there has been a loss of more than 250,000 permanently affordable residential units. Goetz offers a critical analysis of the nationwide effort to dismantle public housing by focusing on the impact of policy changes in three cities: Atlanta, Chicago, and New Orleans. Goetz shows how this transformation is related to pressures of gentrification and the enduring influence of race in American cities. African Americans have been disproportionately affected by this policy shift; it is the cities in which public housing is most closely identified with minorities that have been the most aggressive in removing units. Goetz convincingly refutes myths about the supposed failure of public housing. He offers an evidence-based argument for renewed investment in public housing to accompany housing choice initiatives as a model for innovative and equitable housing policy.
"In his study, Green tells the story of how this unified consciousness was shaped. With this portrayal of black life - complemented by a dozen works of the Chicago photographer Wayne F. Miller - Green ultimately presents African Americans as agents, rather than casualties, of modernity, reenvisioning urban existence in a way that will resonate with anyone interested in race, culture, or the life of cities."--Jacket.
The essays in Christians and the Color Line complicate the research findings of Emerson and Smith's Divided by Faith (2000) and explore new areas of research that have opened in the years since its publication.
Part family story and part urban history, a landmark investigation of segregation and urban decay in Chicago -- and cities across the nation The "promised land" for thousands of Southern blacks, postwar Chicago quickly became the most segregated city in the North, the site of the nation's worst ghettos and the target of Martin Luther King Jr.'s first campaign beyond the South. In this powerful book, Beryl Satter identifies the true causes of the city's black slums and the ruin of urban neighborhoods throughout the country: not, as some have argued, black pathology, the culture of poverty, or white flight, but a widespread and institutionalized system of legal and financial exploitation. In Satter's riveting account of a city in crisis, unscrupulous lawyers, slumlords, and speculators are pitched against religious reformers, community organizers, and an impassioned attorney who launched a crusade against the profiteers—the author's father, Mark J. Satter. At the heart of the struggle stand the black migrants who, having left the South with its legacy of sharecropping, suddenly find themselves caught in a new kind of debt peonage. Satter shows the interlocking forces at work in their oppression: the discriminatory practices of the banking industry; the federal policies that created the country's shameful "dual housing market"; the economic anxieties that fueled white violence; and the tempting profits to be made by preying on the city's most vulnerable population. Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America is a monumental work of history, this tale of racism and real estate, politics and finance, will forever change our understanding of the forces that transformed urban America. "Gripping . . . This painstaking portrayal of the human costs of financial racism is the most important book yet written on the black freedom struggle in the urban North."—David Garrow, The Washington Post
Looks at the effects of race on the neighborhood dynamics of Chicago's West Side from the end of World War II through the 1970s.
Northern whites in the post–World War II era began to support the principle of civil rights, so why did many of them continue to oppose racial integration in their communities? Challenging conventional wisdom about the growth, prosperity, and racial exclusivity of American suburbs, David M. P. Freund argues that previous attempts to answer this question have overlooked a change in the racial thinking of whites and the role of suburban politics in effecting this change. In Colored Property, he shows how federal intervention spurred a dramatic shift in the language and logic of residential exclusion—away from invocations of a mythical racial hierarchy and toward talk of markets, property, and citizenship. Freund begins his exploration by tracing the emergence of a powerful public-private alliance that facilitated postwar suburban growth across the nation with federal programs that significantly favored whites. Then, showing how this national story played out in metropolitan Detroit, he visits zoning board and city council meetings, details the efforts of neighborhood “property improvement” associations, and reconstructs battles over race and housing to demonstrate how whites learned to view discrimination not as an act of racism but as a legitimate response to the needs of the market. Illuminating government’s powerful yet still-hidden role in the segregation of U.S. cities, Colored Property presents a dramatic new vision of metropolitan growth, segregation, and white identity in modern America.
This innovative study of racial upheaval and urban transformation in Baltimore, Maryland investigates the impact of "blockbusting" -- a practice in which real estate agents would sell a house on an all-white block to an African American family with the aim of igniting a panic among the other residents. These homeowners would often sell at a loss to move away, and the real estate agents would promote the properties at a drastic markup to African American buyers. In this groundbreaking book, W. Edward Orser examines Edmondson Village, a west Baltimore rowhouse community where an especially acute instance of blockbusting triggered white flight and racial change on a dramatic scale. Between 1955 and 1965, nearly twenty thousand white residents, who saw their secure world changing drastically, were replaced by blacks in search of the American dream. By buying low and selling high, playing on the fears of whites and the needs of African Americans, blockbusters set off a series of events that Orser calls "a collective trauma whose significance for recent American social and cultural history is still insufficiently appreciated and understood." Blockbusting in Baltimore describes a widely experienced but little analyzed phenomenon of recent social history. Orser makes an important contribution to community and urban studies, race relations, and records of the African American experience.
Historians have devoted surprisingly little attention to African American urban history ofthe postwar period, especially compared with earlier decades. Correcting this imbalance, African American Urban History since World War II features an exciting mix of seasoned scholars and fresh new voices whose combined efforts provide the first comprehensive assessment of this important subject. The first of this volume’s five groundbreaking sections focuses on black migration and Latino immigration, examining tensions and alliances that emerged between African Americans and other groups. Exploring the challenges of residential segregation and deindustrialization, later sections tackle such topics as the real estate industry’s discriminatory practices, the movement of middle-class blacks to the suburbs, and the influence of black urban activists on national employment and social welfare policies. Another group of contributors examines these themes through the lens of gender, chronicling deindustrialization’s disproportionate impact on women and women’s leading roles in movements for social change. Concluding with a set of essays on black culture and consumption, this volume fully realizes its goal of linking local transformations with the national and global processes that affect urban class and race relations.
From his role as Franklin Roosevelt’s “negro advisor” to his appointment under Lyndon Johnson as the first secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Robert Clifton Weaver was one of the most influential domestic policy makers and civil rights advocates of the twentieth century. This volume, the first biography of the first African American to hold a cabinet position in the federal government, rescues from obscurity the story of a man whose legacy continues to affect American race relations and the cities in which they largely play out. Tracing Weaver’s career through the creation, expansion, and contraction of New Deal liberalism, Wendell E. Pritchett illuminates his instrumental role in the birth of almost every urban initiative of the period, from public housing and urban renewal to affirmative action and rent control. Beyond these policy achievements, Weaver also founded racial liberalism, a new approach to race relations that propelled him through a series of high-level positions in public and private agencies working to promote racial cooperation in American cities. But Pritchett shows that despite Weaver’s efforts to make race irrelevant, white and black Americans continued to call on him to mediate between the races—a position that grew increasingly untenable as Weaver remained caught between the white power structure to which he pledged his allegiance and the African Americans whose lives he devoted his career to improving.
Now considered a dysfunctional mess, Chicago’s public housing projects once had long waiting lists of would-be residents hoping to leave the slums behind. So what went wrong? To answer this complicated question, D. Bradford Hunt traces public housing’s history in Chicago from its New Deal roots through current mayor Richard M. Daley’s Plan for Transformation. In the process, he chronicles the Chicago Housing Authority’s own transformation from the city’s most progressive government agency to its largest slumlord. Challenging explanations that attribute the projects’ decline primarily to racial discrimination and real estate interests, Hunt argues that well-intentioned but misguided policy decisions—ranging from design choices to maintenance contracts—also paved the road to failure. Moreover, administrators who fully understood the potential drawbacks did not try to halt such deeply flawed projects as Cabrini-Green and the Robert Taylor Homes. These massive high-rise complexes housed unprecedented numbers of children but relatively few adults, engendering disorder that pushed out the working class and, consequently, the rents needed to maintain the buildings. The resulting combination of fiscal crisis, managerial incompetence, and social unrest plunged the CHA into a quagmire from which it is still struggling to emerge. Blueprint for Disaster, then,is an urgent reminder of the havoc poorly conceived policy can wreak on our most vulnerable citizens.
The recent riots in Los Angeles brought the urban crisis back to the center of public policy debates in Washington, D.C., and in urban areas throughout the United States. The contributors to this volume examine the major policy issues--race, housing, transportation, poverty, the changing environment, the effects of the global economy--confronting contemporary American cities. Raymond A. Mohl begins with an extended discussion of the origins, evolution, and current state of Federal involvement in urban centers. Michael B. Katz follows with an insightful look at poverty in turn-of-the-century New York and the attempts to ameliorate the desperate plight of the poor during this period of rapid economic growth. Arnold R. Hirsch, Mohl, and David R. Goldfield then pursue different facets of the racial dilemma confronting American cities. Hirsch discusses historical dimensions of residential segregation and public policy, while Mohl uses Overtown, Miami, as a case study of the social impact of the construction of interstate highways in urban communities. David Goldfield explores the political ramifications and incongruities of contemporary urban race relations. Finally, Carl Abbott and Sam Bass Warner, Jr., examine the impact of global economic developments and the environmental implications of past policy choices. Collectively, the authors show us where we have been, some of the needs that must be addressed, and the urban policy alternatives we face.
The Housing Policy Revolution: Networks and Neighborhoods illuminates how our networked approach to housing policy developed and fundamentally transformed governmental response to public welfare. Through historical political analysis and detailed case studies, the book imparts policy lessons on delivering funding for urban change. The 1960s model of Washington-based bureaucracies implementing social policy lost support as Ronald Reagan advocated for government retreat and market-led efforts. The housing sector¿s unforeseen response was an explosion of growth among nonprofits and activists, local government, and local private-sector initiatives to build affordable housing without federal help. By the late 1980s a new synthesis was emerging, marrying inchoate local efforts with federal tax incentives and block grants that created quasi markets to build low-income housing. From 1987 to 2005 the decentralized housing delivery network nearly doubled the number of federally subsidized homes. David J. Erickson traces the history of our current policy era, where decentralized federal subsidies (block grants and tax credits) fund a network of for-profit and nonprofit affordable home builders. In addition to government reports and legislative history, he draws upon interviews, industry journals, policy conference proceedings, and mainstream media coverage to incorporate viewpoints from both practitioners and policymakers.
As Evan Friss shows in his mordant history of urban bicycling in the late nineteenth century, the bicycle has long told us much about cities and their residents. In a time when American cities were chaotic, polluted, and socially and culturally impenetrable, the bicycle inspired a vision of an improved city in which pollution was negligible, transport was noiseless and rapid, leisure spaces were democratic, and the divisions between city and country blurred. Friss focuses not on the technology of the bicycle but on the urbanisms that bicycling engendered. Bicycles altered the look and feel of cities and their streets, enhanced mobility, fueled leisure and recreation, promoted good health, and shrank urban spaces as part of a larger transformation that altered the city and the lives of its inhabitants, even as the bicycle's own popularity fell, not to rise again for a century.
Ordinary people don’t experience history as it is taught by historians. They live across the convenient chronological divides we impose on the past. The same people who lived through the Civil War and the eradication of slavery also dealt with the hardships of Reconstruction, so why do we almost always treat them separately? In Children of Fire, renowned historian Thomas C. Holt challenges this form to tell the story of generations of African Americans through the lived experience of the subjects themselves, with all of the nuances, ironies, contradictions, and complexities one might expect. Building on seminal books like John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom and many others, Holt captures the entire African American experience from the moment the first twenty African slaves were sold at Jamestown in 1619. Each chapter focuses on a generation of individuals who shaped the course of American history, hoping for a better life for their children but often confronting the ebb and flow of their civil rights and status within society. Many familiar faces grace these pages—Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King, and Barack Obama—but also some overlooked ones. Figures like Anthony Johnson, a slave who bought his freedom in late seventeenth century Virginia and built a sizable plantation, only to have it stolen away from his children by an increasingly racist court system. Or Frank Moore, a WWI veteran and sharecropper who sued his landlord for unfair practices, but found himself charged with murder after fighting off an angry white posse. Taken together, their stories tell how African Americans fashioned a culture and identity amid the turmoil of four centuries of American history.
Between the early 1900s and the late 1950s, the attitudes of white Californians toward their Asian American neighbors evolved from outright hostility to relative acceptance. Charlotte Brooks examines this transformation through the lens of California’s urban housing markets, arguing that the perceived foreignness of Asian Americans, which initially stranded them in segregated areas, eventually facilitated their integration into neighborhoods that rejected other minorities. Against the backdrop of cold war efforts to win Asian hearts and minds, whites who saw little difference between Asians and Asian Americans increasingly advocated the latter group’s access to middle-class life and the residential areas that went with it. But as they transformed Asian Americans into a “model minority,” whites purposefully ignored the long backstory of Chinese and Japanese Americans’ early and largely failed attempts to participate in public and private housing programs. As Brooks tells this multifaceted story, she draws on a broad range of sources in multiple languages, giving voice to an array of community leaders, journalists, activists, and homeowners—and insightfully conveying the complexity of racialized housing in a multiracial society.
In recent decades, an exciting new scholarship has emerged that is changing the way African American urban history is perceived. While earlier studies often portrayed African Americans as passive and powerless or as victims of white racism and slum pathologies, The New African American Urban History emphasizes the "new" scholarship that conveys a sense of active involvement. It supports the view of African Americans as people empowered, engaged in struggle, living their lives with dignity, and shaping their own futures. In this perceptive volume, contributors examine the great modern migrations of African Americans to the city, the creation and expansion of black communities, and black life and culture--with special emphasis on working-class culture. This collecton of essays, written by prominent scholars, comes together in perfect harmony with a common thematic approach and interpretive analysis, which has shaped new writing in the field for the past decade. Both groundbreaking and inspiring, The New African American Urban History will prove to be an invaluable resource for students and professionals in urban and ethnic studies.
This collection of six original essays explores the peculiar ethnic composition and history of New Orleans, which the authors persuasively argue is unique among American cities. The focus of Creole New Orleans is on the development of a colonial Franco-African culture in the city, the ways that culture was influenced by the arrival of later immigrants, and the processes that led to the eventual dominance of the Anglo-American community. Essays in the book's first section focus not only on the formation of the curiously blended Franco-African culture but also on how that culture, once established, resisted change and allowed New Orleans to develop along French and African creole lines until the early nineteenth century. Jerah Johnson explores the motives and objectives of Louisiana's French founders, giving that issue the most searching analysis it has yet received. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, in her account of the origins of New Orleans' free black population, offers a new approach to the early history of Africans in colonial Louisiana. The second part of the book focuses on the challenge of incorporating New Orleans into the United States. As Paul F. LaChance points out, the French immigrants who arrived after the Louisiana Purchase slowed the Americanization process by preserving the city's creole culture. Joesph Tregle then presents a clear, concise account of the clash that occurred between white creoles and the many white Americans who during the 1800s migrated to the city. His analysis demonstrates how race finally brought an accommodation between the white creole and American leaders. The third section centers on the evolution of the city's race relations during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Joseph Logsdon and Caryn Cossé Bell begin by tracing the ethno-cultural fault line that divided black Americans and creole through Reconstruction and the emergence of Jim Crow. Arnold R. Hirsch pursues the themes discerned by Logsdon and Bell from the turn of the century to the 1980s, examining the transformation of the city's racial politics. Collectively, these essays fill a major void in Louisiana history while making a significant contribution to the history of urbanization, ethnicity, and race relations. The book will serve as a cornerstone for future study of the history of New Orleans.

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