Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

ONE SUMMER in the early 1970s, when I was seventeen, my father and I drove down to Richmond, Virginia, from our home in Brooklyn. I had never been further south than Washington, D.C., and I was both intrigued and apprehensive about visiting the place where he had been raised. My father hated the South. He never spoke to me about it—about living under Jim Crow, about the Depression, or about...

PART ONE

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Chapter One: Introduction

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pp. 3-19

JACOB GOVAN pushed aside the venetian blinds covering the windows of his enclosed porch and pointed to the Antioch Baptist Church, a small white brick building across the street. “Used to be the El Dorado Moving Picture Theater,” he remarked, matter-of-factly. John Booker, who had arranged my interview with Govan, listened attentively, punctuating each statement with an enthusiastic nod of his...

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Chapter Two: Making Community

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pp. 20-54

AT THE TURN of the twentieth century, Corona was growing in leaps and bounds as real estate developers purchased and subdivided the farms and private estates that surrounded the old village center for development as working- and middle-class housing. Italian, German Irish, and other first- and second- generation immigrants, many abandoning the crowded tenements of Manhattan’s lower east side, found work in construction, transportation, and other industries supporting...

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Chapter Three: The Movement

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pp. 55-84

IN 1957 Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at a rally sponsored by the Jamaica branch of the NAACP held at the same Elmhurst hall where black leaders had been snubbed during Harry Truman’s visit, and only blocks from where Booker T. Washington had spoken on the subject of Negro progress almost a half century before. A Queens newspaper reported the next day, “Non-violent resistance to segregation was urged last night in Queens by the man who persuaded 50,000 Montgomery...

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Chapter Four: The State and the War on Politics

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pp. 85-106

IN 1961 the City Planning Commission (CPC) of New York launched a study of the community development needs of north-central Queens under the auspices of the city’s Community Renewal Program (City Planning Commission 1963). The Federal Housing Act of 1961, a Kennedy administration “New Frontier” initiative, had authorized $2.5 billion for urban renewal, enabling the production of subsidized housing for families with below-median incomes in neighborhoods...

PART TWO

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Chapter Five: Race and the Politics of Place

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pp. 109-138

ON A February evening in 1987 Community Board 4’s Neighborhood Stabilization Committee met in the basement of a co-op apartment building on the southern border of Corona, one block from the massive and predominantly black Lefrak City housing development. Helma Goldmark, chair of the allwhite committee and a resident of the well-kept Sherwood Village co-ops, took her place alongside three other committee members at a folding table that had been set up in the...

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Chapter Six: A Piece of the Rock

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pp. 139-178

“I THINK blacks missed the boat,” George Lopez said wryly, rattling the ice in his tumbler and then glancing up at John Booker. “Right in front of my office,” he continued, “the Koreans are all opening up businesses. And blacks only have a numbers drop. We’re still waiting for the last figure to come out. That’s the way I put it. Next door, the Korean’s got his store fixed up stacking oranges.” Booker slid to the edge of the leather sofa, eyes flashing with interest. George Lopez, a Howard University–trained dentist and state assembly district leader, was one...

PART THREE

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Chapter Seven: Up Against the Authority

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pp. 181-217

ON MARCH 2, 1994, a Continental jetliner skidded off Runway 13-31 at LaGuardia Airport, dipping its massive, cone-shaped nose into Flushing Bay. Although there were no injuries, the incident followed a U.S. Air accident two years earlier that resulted in the deaths of twenty-seven people. The mishap in March increased political pressure to expedite plans already under way to construct a runway safety...

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Chapter Eight: The Politics of Hearing and Telling

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pp. 218-247

ON THURSDAY, July 28, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) convened the second of two public hearing on the AGT’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS, a two-thousand-page report assessing the environmental impact of the Port Authority’s airport access proposal, was prepared by FAA consultants in compliance with the National Environmental Policy...

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Chapter Nine: Conclusion

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pp. 248-252

JOHN BELL had invited me to the East Elmhurst–Corona Civic Association’s 1995 Scholarship Dinner Dance held at the flamboyant Starlight Ballroom in Jackson Heights. Bell was being awarded the Civic Association’s Pioneer Award for his community activism over the past forty years. Dressed in a crisp tuxedo, he whisked back and forth between the glitzy lobby and the ballroom, escorting guests to the four tables he had reserved for the occasion. Two were filled with people...

Notes

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pp. 253-266

References Cited

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pp. 267-278

Index

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pp. 279-282