Encyclopedia of Multiculturalism - Vol. 6

Encyclopedia of Multiculturalism - Vol. 6

Encyclopedia of Multiculturalism - Vol. 6

Encyclopedia of Multiculturalism - Vol. 6

Excerpt

Despite these major problems, urban life showed revitalization in the late twentieth century. New diversities emerged with changing migration: Sunbelt cities such as Atlanta, for example, after dealing for decades with black-white struggles, attracted dynamic Asian and Latino suburban populations. Smaller, once homogeneous cities gained small but often visible enclaves of East and South Asians as well as other ethnic groups moving out of larger industrial centers. Surprising alliances were formed, as when low-income Latinos and Asians blocked the building of a prison in East Los Angeles or when Chinese Americans and homeless people banded together to protect rights in inner-city Philadelphia. Meanwhile, people continue to enjoy the vitality of urban neighborhoods and institutions.

Cities remain indispensable centers for cultural production and social change. They have become repositories of the many heritages of the United States whether in MUSEUMS AND RESEARCH CENTERS, HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS, or sporting events. Novelists ranging from Toni Morrison and Amy Tan to Armistead Maupin and Oscar Acosta; filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and Woody Allen, along with journalists, university centers, folk artists, religious centers, and restaurants, celebrate the kaleidoscope of urban life and particular cities.

American cities remain complex social mosaics where the experiment of multiculturalism continually takes new forms and directions. Any fears of the multicultural city as a dilemma and burden for the twentyfirst century must be balanced by visions of the unique freedom, opportunity, and change offered by urban life.

SUGGESTED READINGS. For further information, see Our Changing Cities (1991), edited by John F. Hart; Structuring Diversity (1992), edited by Louise Lamphere; and The Making of Urban America (1988), edited by Raymond A. Mohl. Urban America: A History with Documents (1974), edited by Bayrd Still, is another useful source.—Gary McDonogh

Urbanization: American urbanization has its origins in the first settlements established by the Europeans in the New World. Unaware of the pre-existing urban traditions of the Indians of North America, such as the cliff communities of Mesa Verde and the desert fortress at Chaco Canyon, the European settlers founded their own distinct communities. These grew rapidly, especially in the nineteenth century with immigration and industrialization. Flight to the suburbs beginning in the mid-twentieth century left the INNER CITIES increasingly ghettos of poor people of color, wracked by crime and other social ills. Colonial Period. The first colonies at Jamestown and Plymouth were quite distinct from the simple villages of the Indians that inhabited the coastal areas. Many of the first European American towns were designed to promote the colonization process and were established by organized groups of settlers possessing charters or covenants to guide them in their task. Both spatially and in terms of political, social, and economic institutions, these colonies derived their inspiration from the Old World, especially Britain, from . . .

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