"Melissa Checker's absorbing story is a portrait of America.Polluted Promisesshowcases the complex links between toxic waste and race, and the hope-filled journeys of environmental activists who are wise, strong, and spiritual in their fight against toxic waste--and for their lives. Checker is doing public anthropology for social justice." - Carol Stack, author of All Our Kin
"I hope that (this book) doesn't get pidgeonholed as a dry, academic treatise, because it is anything but that. It is a wonderfully written account of the struggles by the residents of Hyde Park, a neighborhood in Augusta, Georgia, to undo decades of...environmental racism." - In Brief
"A very rich, organized, and theoretically interesting ethnographic case study of environmental activism. Checker beautifully recounts how the issues of race emerged and were manipulated in social organizing against environmental poisoning." - George E. Marcus, author of Ethnography through Thick and Thin
"Polluted Promisesis a substantial accomplishment. It grounds the notion of environmental justice wonderfully in practical terms, in the theoretically sophisticated and empathetic examination of Hyde Park." - Adolph Reed, Jr., author of Class Notes: Posing As Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene
"A sweeping and brilliant account of a struggle for environmental justice. With clarity and honesty, Checker adroitly exploits the interconnection of race, environment, and civil rights. This is an authoritative and courageous book that should be essential reading for everyone interested in environmental justice." - Bunyan Bryant, editor of Environmental Justice: Issues, Policies, and Solutions
Over the past two decades, environmental racism has become the rallying cry for many communities as they discover the contaminations of toxic chemicals and industrial waste in their own backyards. Living next door to factories and industrial sites for years, the people in these communities often have record health problems and debilitating medical conditions. Melissa Checker tells the story of one such neighborhood, Hyde Park, in Augusta, Georgia, and the tenacious activism of its two hundred African American families. This community, at one time surrounded by nine polluting industries, is struggling to make their voices heard and their community safe again. Polluted Promisesshows that even in the post-civil rights era, race and class are still key factors in determining the politics of pollution.