In the spring of 1934, a small group of militant union organizers led Minneapolis truckers on a series of strikes that sought to break the city's antiunion grip. The striking truckers, in protest of scab workers, took to the streets of the city's warehouse district where they faced violent opposition from the police and members of the Citizen's Alliance, a group representing Minneapolis's business community. The conflict exploded when police fired on the unarmed strikers, killing four and injuring countless others. The events surrounding Bloody Friday shifted the balance of power between labor and business in Minneapolis and proved to be a significant victory for the labor movement nationwide, contributing to the ratification of the landmark National Labor Relations Act. When first published in 1937, Charles Rumford Walker's American City was praised as an evenhanded portrayal of the truckers' strike. Focusing on the personal experiences of the participants, Walker recounts the interests, motives, and passions on both sides of the conflict, capturing the heated emotions of those involved. He offers a vivid account of a period that transformed Minneapolis and forged the way for workers' rights nationwide.
In 1968, Baltimore was home to a variety of ethnic, religious, and racial communities that, like those in other American cities, were confronting a quickly declining industrial base. In April of that year, disturbances broke the urban landscape along lines of race and class.
This book offers chapters on events leading up to the turmoil, the riots, and the aftermath as well as four rigorously edited and annotated oral histories of members of the Baltimore community. The combination of new scholarship and first-person accounts provides a comprehensive case study of this period of civil unrest four decades later.
This engaging, broad-based public history lays bare the diverse experiences of 1968 and their effects, emphasizing the role of specific human actions. By reflecting on the stories and analysis presented in this anthology, readers may feel empowered to pursue informed, responsible civic action of their own.
Baltimore '68 is the book component of a larger public history project, "Baltimore '68 Riots: Riots and Rebirth." The project's companion website (http://archives.ubalt.edu/bsr/index.html ) offers many more oral histories plus photos, art, and links to archival sources. The book and the website together make up an invaluable teaching resource on cities, social unrest, and racial politics in the 1960s. The project was the corecipient of the 2009 Outstanding Public History Project Award from the National Council on Public History.
"Grady Clay looks hard at the landscape, finding out who built what and why, noticing who participates in a city's success and who gets left in a 'sink,' or depressed (often literally) area. Clay doesn't stay in the city; he looks at industrial towns, truck stops, suburbs—nearly anywhere people live or work. His style is witty and readable, and the book is crammed with illustrations that clarify his points. If I had to pick up one book to guide my observations of the American scene, this would be it."—Sonia Simone, Whole Earth Review
"The emphasis on the informal aspects of city-shaping—topographical, historical, economic and social—does much to counteract the formalist approach to American urban design. Close-Up...should be required reading for anyone wishing to understand Americans and their cities."—Roger Cunliffe, Architectural Review
"Close-Up is a provocative and stimulating book."—Thomas J. Schlereth, Winterthur Portfolio
"Within this coherent string of essays, the urban dweller or observer, as well as the student, will find refreshing strategies for viewing the environmental 'situations' interacting to form a landscape."—Dallas Morning News
"Clay's Close-Up, first published in 1973, is still a key book for looking at the real American city. Too many urban books and guidebooks concentrate on the good parts of the city....Clay looks at all parts of the city, the suburbs, and the places between cities, and develops new terms to describe parts of the built environment—fronts, strips, beats, stacks, sinks, and turf. No one who wants to understand American cities or to describe them, should fail to know this book. The illustrations are of special interest to the guidebook writer."—American Urban Guidenotes
In Hope and Despair, Gerald Grant compares two cities - his hometown of Syracuse, New York, and Raleigh, North Carolina - in order to examine the consequences of the nation's ongoing educational inequities. The result is an ambitious portrait - sometimes disturbing, often inspiring - of two cities that exemplify our nation's greatest educational challenges, as well as a passionate exploration of the potential for school reform that exists for our urban schools today.
Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relationships, jobs—into liabilities, as the police use such relationships to track down suspects, demand information, and threaten consequences.
Alice Goffman spent six years living in one such neighborhood in Philadelphia, and her close observations and often harrowing stories reveal the pernicious effects of this pervasive policing. Goffman introduces us to an unforgettable cast of young African American men who are caught up in this web of warrants and surveillance—some of them small-time drug dealers, others just ordinary guys dealing with limited choices. All find the web of presumed criminality, built as it is on the very associations and friendships that make up a life, nearly impossible to escape. We watch as the pleasures of summer-evening stoop-sitting are shattered by the arrival of a carful of cops looking to serve a warrant; we watch—and can’t help but be shocked—as teenagers teach their younger siblings and cousins how to run from the police (and, crucially, to keep away from friends and family so they can stay hidden); and we see, over and over, the relentless toll that the presumption of criminality takes on families—and futures.
While not denying the problems of the drug trade, and the violence that often accompanies it, through her gripping accounts of daily life in the forgotten neighborhoods of America's cities, Goffman makes it impossible for us to ignore the very real human costs of our failed response—the blighting of entire neighborhoods, and the needless sacrifice of whole generations.
Discusses actual corrupt practices in one small city, showing both the mechanisms of corruption and the fundamental questions they raise, the answers to which will apply in many cities. He describes the background and conditions that made it possible for a local syndicate to take over an Eastern industrial center, "Wincanton." He discusses the many factors which permitted the take-over, stressing the citizens' lack of concern about links between petty gambling and the undermining of their local government.
"[An] alarming report, a rigorous study packed with charts, tables, 1990 census data and [Jargowsky's] own extensive field work.... His careful analysis of enterprise zones, job-creation strategies, local economic development schemes and housing and tax policies rounds out an essential handbook for policy makers, a major contribution to public debate over ways to reverse indigence." —Publishers Weekly "A data-rich description and a conceptually innovative explanation of the spread of neighborhood poverty in the United States between 1970 and 1990. Urban scholars and policymakers alike should find Jargowsky's compelling arguments thought-provoking. "—Library Journal "A powerful book that allows us to really understand how ghettos have been changing over time and the forces behind these changes. It should be required reading of anyone who cares about urban poverty." —David Ellwood, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Poverty and Place documents the geographic spread of the nation's ghettos and shows how economic shifts have had a particularly devastating impact on certain regions, particularly in the rust-belt states of the Midwest. Author Paul Jargowsky's thoughtful analysis of the causes of ghetto formation clarifies the importance of widespread urban trends, particularly those changes in the labor and housing markets that have fostered income inequality and segregated the rich from the poor. Jargowsky also examines the sources of employment that do exist for ghetto dwellers, and describes how education and family structure further limit their prospects. Poverty and Place shows how the spread of high poverty neighborhoods has particularly trapped members of poor minorities, who account for nearly four out of five ghetto residents. Poverty and Place sets forth the facts necessary to inform the public understanding of the growth of concentrated poverty, and confronts essential questions about how the spiral of urban decay in our nation's cities can be reversed.
In his compelling reinterpretation of American history, The Public and Its Possibilities, John Fairfieldargues that our unrealized civic aspirations provide the essential counterpoint to an excessive focus on private interests. Inspired by the revolutionary generation, nineteenth-century Americans struggled to build an economy and a culture to complement their republican institutions. But over the course of the twentieth century, a corporate economy and consumer culture undercut civic values, conflating consumer and citizen.
Fairfield places the city at the center of American experience, describing how a resilient demand for an urban participatory democracy has bumped up against the fog of war, the allure of the marketplace, and persistent prejudices of race, class, and gender. In chronicling and synthesizing centuries of U.S. history—including the struggles of the antislavery, labor, women’s rights movements—Fairfield explores the ebb and flow of civic participation, activism, and democracy. He revisits what the public has done for civic activism, and the possibility of taking a greater role.
In this age where there has been a move towards greater participation in America's public life from its citizens, Fairfield’s book—written in an accessible, jargon-free style and addressed to general readers—is especially topical.
From his role as Franklin Roosevelt’s “negro advisor” to his appointment under Lyndon Johnson as the first secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Robert Clifton Weaver was one of the most influential domestic policy makers and civil rights advocates of the twentieth century. This volume, the first biography of the first African American to hold a cabinet position in the federal government, rescues from obscurity the story of a man whose legacy continues to affect American race relations and the cities in which they largely play out.
Tracing Weaver’s career through the creation, expansion, and contraction of New Deal liberalism, Wendell E. Pritchett illuminates his instrumental role in the birth of almost every urban initiative of the period, from public housing and urban renewal to affirmative action and rent control. Beyond these policy achievements, Weaver also founded racial liberalism, a new approach to race relations that propelled him through a series of high-level positions in public and private agencies working to promote racial cooperation in American cities. But Pritchett shows that despite Weaver’s efforts to make race irrelevant, white and black Americans continued to call on him to mediate between the races—a position that grew increasingly untenable as Weaver remained caught between the white power structure to which he pledged his allegiance and the African Americans whose lives he devoted his career to improving.
How do female municipal leaders influence policymaking in American cities? Can gender determine who gets a say in local politics or what programs cities fund? These are some of the questions raised and answered in Mirya Holman's provocative Women in Politics in the American City.
This book provides the first comprehensive evaluation of the influence of gender on the behavior of mayors and city council members in the United States. Holman considers the effects of gender in local, urban politics and analyzes how a leader's gender does-and does not-influence policy preferences, processes, behavior, and outcomes.
Holman effectively uses original survey data to evaluate policy attitudes, combined with observations of city council meetings and interviews with leaders and community members. In doing so, she demonstrates the importance of considering the gender of leaders in local office.
Women in Politics in the American City emphasizes that the involvement of women in local politics does matter and that it has significant consequences for urban policy as well as state and local democracy.