Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality

Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality

Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality

Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality


Starting with the premise that all Americans have a right to live in a healthy environment, Bullard chronicles the efforts of five African American communities, empowered by the civil rights movement, to link environmentalism with social justice.


This book is a product of my interest as an environmental sociologist and my concern that the rights of people of color and poor communities be protected. It has now been a decade since Dumping in Dixie was first published. During this period, the terms "environmental justice," "environmental racism," and "environmental equity" have become household words. Out of the small and seemingly isolated environmental struggles emerged a potent grassroots movement. The 1990s saw the environmental justice movement become a unifying theme across race, class, gender, age, and geographic lines.

It is fitting that Dumping in Dixie, the first book on environmental justice, examines the widening economic, health, and environmental disparities as we enter the twenty-first century. Today, many Americans who range from constitutional scholars to lay grassroots activists now recognize that environmental discrimination is unfair, unethical, and immoral. The practice is also illegal. I carried out this research under the assumption that all Americans have a basic right to live, work, play, go to school, and worship in a clean and healthy environment. This framework became the working definition of the environment for many environmental justice activists and analysts alike. I made a deliberate effort to write a readable book that might reach a general audience while at the same time covering uncharted areas of interest to environmentalists, civil rights advocates, community activists, political leaders, and policymakers.

The issues addressed center on equity, fairness, and the struggle for social justice by African American communities. The struggles against environmental injustice are not unlike the civil rights battles waged to dismantle the legacy of Jim Crow in Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham, and some of the "Up South" communities in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The analysis chronicles the environmental justice movement in an effort to develop common strategies that are supportive of building sustainable African American and other people- of-color communities.

In the South, African Americans just happen to make up the region's largest racial minority group. This analysis could have easily focused on . . .

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