Black Mecca Reconsidered: An Analysis of Atlanta's Post-Civil Rights Political Economy
Claude W. Barnes Jr.
This chapter is drawn from a larger project that examines Atlanta as an example of a black urban regime. By analyzing the local state as a regime, we circumvent the limitations inherent in the study of urban politics as public power. A regime analysis of the city of Atlanta draws attention to both the formal and informal relationships between private and public power as they interact in a governing coalition. Black urban regime can be interpreted as those governing coalitions, local power structures, and municipalities with populations of 50,000 and over in which a stable set of demographic, political, and economic conditions ensure that the administrative leadership of a city will be predominately black (see Table 9.1).1 In these cities, urban administrations have come to power at that very point in the history of cities where the economic context severely limits the policy options available to urban political leadership. Consequently, the analysis of urban politics as black urban regimes helps us better understand and address problems of race, class, and political power in urban America.
Black urban regimes are power structures produced by the forces driving modern capitalism and illustrate one of the ways in which large urban areas respond to the global reorganization of production -- what some call the