Cover

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

When I began this project, I worried that I would receive little support for such a polarizing topic. As you can read in these acknowledgments, this concern was unnecessary. I am pleased to thank the institutions and people who assisted me over the past decade. I could not have written this book without the generous research funds I was given by the American...

List of Acronyms and Initialisms

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pp. xi-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

The newspaper headlines in the summer of 1965 were thick with reports on the bloody struggle for voting rights in the South and on the urban riots in Harlem and Watts. It was a pivotal moment in the history of the nation’s race relations: in the two years since the iconic March...

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1. “The Best ‘Affirmative Action Program’ Is Creating Jobs for Everyone”: Organized Labor Responds to Affirmative Action, 1960–1974

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pp. 14-48

Even as the first recognizable affirmative action programs were emerging in the mid-1960s, the American labor movement was engaged in a more public and longstanding effort to address racial and gender exclusion, segregation, and inequality in the nation’s workplaces and union halls. The history of the Chicago musicians’ union was typical. As the laid-off members of the CBS Orchestra protested their layoffs, the leaders of the American...

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2. “This Strange Madness”: The Origins of Opposition to Higher Education Affirmative Action, 1968–1972

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pp. 43-78

In his address to the Republican Party faithful at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Chicago in February 1970, Vice President Spiro Agnew delivered a blistering critique of the new affirmative action programs in America’s colleges and universities. Much of the speech was standard Agnew...

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3. “This Issue Is Getting Hotter”: The Struggle over Affirmative Action Policy in the Early 1970s

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pp. 79-110

Over the course of the 1970s, Americans debated affirmative action with increasing sophistication and unease. Compared to the antibusing movement, which generated a high pitch of controversy across the country over resistance to courtordered plans, opposition to affirmative...

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4. “Treat Him as a Decent American!”: DeFunis v. Odegaard (1974) and Colorblindness in the Courtroom

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pp. 111-149

When Marco DeFunis opened a letter from the University of Washington one spring day in 1971 and read that, for the second consecutive year, he had not been admitted to its law school, he was crushed. The twenty-three-year-old magna cum laude graduate’s sole professional goal was to become a lawyer. “My decision to study law has not been a recent...

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5. “Do Whites Have Rights?”: White Detroit Policemen and the “Reverse Discrimination” Protests of the 1970s

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pp. 150-179

By the time federal judge Ralph Freeman announced his decision from the bench on an affirmative action matter in the Detroit Police Department on May 9, 1975, the crowd of white protesters outside had swelled to over a thousand people. In the large, marbled U.S. District Courthouse on the downtown’s West Lafayette Avenue, Freeman ordered...

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6. “The Fight for True Nondiscrimination”: The Politics of Anti–Affirmative Action in the 1970s

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pp. 180-208

In the mid-1970s, the future of affirmative action was in doubt as the nation’s attention focused for the first time in a sustained way on the preferential policies that had been in place for nearly a decade. The number of articles in newspapers and periodicals on the topic increased steadily...

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Conclusion

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pp. 209-220

In March 2008 Barack Obama delivered what commentators at the time identified as a signature speech on the nation’s race relations. It was a critical point in his campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the U.S. presidency. The address, at Philadelphia’s National Constitutional...

Notes

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pp. 221-264

Essay on Sources

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pp. 265-270

Index

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pp. 271-282