Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era

Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era

Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era

Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era

Synopsis

Since the 1960s, most U. S. History has been written as if the civil rights movement were primarily or entirely a Southern history. This book joins a growing body of scholarship that demonstrates the importance of the Northern history of the movement.

Excerpt

CLARENCE TAYLOR

Since the 1960s, most U.S. history has been written as if the civil rights movement were primarily or entirely a southern history. Of course, this is incorrect. The fight for civil rights has always been a national struggle, although the historian Thomas Sugrue writes: “Most northern communities did not erect signs to mark separate black and white facilities. … Northern blacks lived as second-class citizens, unencumbered by the most blatant of southern-style Jim Crow laws but still trapped in an economic, political, and legal regime that seldom recognized them as equals.” Northern activists mounted campaigns to confront racial discrimination. “Throughout the twentieth century, black and white activists (and occasionally Latino and Asian allies, who were a minuscule segment of the region's population until recently) rose to challenge racial inequality in the North.” For many years now historians have been attempting to correct this view. My own contribution to this effort has focused on the struggle in New York City, through a history of the black churches in Brooklyn, a biography of one of the most prominent religious leaders in New York City, and a forthcoming history of the teachers' union. I also coedited a survey history of the civil rights movement that emphasizes the national—both northern and southern— character of this ongoing struggle. One of the first chapters in that book discuses the fight for school integration in Boston in 1787.

Of course, no one has been alone in this work. There is a new generation of scholarship rewriting our understanding of this history. Civil . . .

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