Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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p. ix

Abbreviations

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p. x

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

Richmond, Virginia, is seldom central to the narrative of the American civil rights movement or pointed out in studies of twentieth-century urban history. Yet in June 1980 Ebony magazine featured the Commonwealth of Virginia’s capital in an article entitled “Richmond: Former Confederate Capital Finally Falls to Blacks.” The column documented the arrival of black governance in what was once the industrial capital of slave-based tobacco production and the home of the Confederacy. Richmond activist Curtis Holt Sr. was at the center of the Ebony article. In 1971...

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1 Strictly Political: Racial and Urban Politics and the Rise of the Richmond Crusade for Voters before 1965

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pp. 19-62

America’s age-old racial struggle between greater access and more restrictions peaked after World War II. Nearly a century after the Civil War, African Americans waged a second battle to secure their rights as citizens. These demonstrators insisted that the freedom struggle occur in public view. Civil rights advocates tapped the wellspring of time-honored organizing traditions and institutions: they activated the machinery of black churches, drew from traditions of labor activism, borrowed from the nonviolent social movements of the prewar era, and continued...

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2 Systematically Done In: Black Electoral Empowerment, Vote Dilution, and the Push for Annexation after the Voting Rights Act

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pp. 63-110

In 1966, Ebony magazine’s politics section featured an article on Richmond’s African American vice mayor Winfred Mundle. The city council had recently appointed Mundle to the vice mayoralty. He was one of three African Americans (along with Sonny Cephas and Henry Marsh III) elected to the nine-member council following the passage of the VRA and the abolition of state and local poll taxes in 1966. The article claimed, “In the four months since taking office, Mundle has fully mastered the somewhat ambiguous job of vice mayor, playing...

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3 From Intent to Effect: The Long Struggle for Voting Rights Litigation during the 1970s

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pp. 111-150

On Monday, June 30, 1969, Virginia judge Earl L. Abbott ruled that Richmond was entitled to twenty-three square miles and 44,000 people in Chesterfield County. Richmond News-Leader reporter Bill Sauder observed that as Abbott read the court’s opinion, for the first time during the annexation trial he seemed noticeably nervous while sipping from a glass of water. Abbott’s anxiousness likely signified growing concern about the legality of boundary expansions. In their rush to incorporate more than 40,000 white residents, city officials had failed to...

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4 “The Dream Is Lost”: Henry Marsh and Black Governance in an Era of White Political Resistance

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pp. 151-194

On Friday, August 20, 1982, members of the Crusade and a handful of Richmond’s most prominent African American political figures assembled for a private retreat at the Roslyn Conference Center in Henrico County, Virginia. Shortly after Ellen D. Pearson called the meeting to order, the state director of the NAACP, Jack Gravely, interjected, “What the hell is going on in Richmond? What is the Crusade doing”? Gravely would not have asked that question in 1977. Had he, not a member in attendance would have struggled to answer the question. Even fewer...

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5 “All He Gave Me Was a Foot”: Black Technocrats, Richmond’s Urban Woes, and the Crisis of the Crusade for Voters

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pp. 195-238

On July 1, 1982, Richmond’s city clerk, E. A. Duffy, swore in what looked like another black-majority city council—five African Americans and four white council members. On its face, it appeared that African Americans voted for yet another black city council majority—the fourth in four elections since the capital city implemented a majority–minority district system. In accordance with the city charter, following the opening ceremony, council members began the process of voting for mayor. Again, the votes split evenly along racial lines. Henry Marsh, Claudette...

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Conclusion

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pp. 239-246

The struggle for civil rights persisted well beyond 1977. Even Roy West’s fortunes turned during the late 1980s. In 1989, the Supreme Court finally ruled against Richmond’s Minority Business Utilization Plan of 1983. A construction firm from Ohio, J. A. Croson, eventually forced the courts to reassess the provision that reserved a percentage of city construction contracts for minority businesses. Croson contested the plan after city officials refused to award the firm a contract to revamp the plumbing system in the Richmond City Jail even though Croson...

Appendix

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pp. 247-256

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 257-262

This project began in Charlottesville, Virginia, developed during my time in Los Angeles, lay dormant in Buffalo, New York, and came to fruition where it belonged, in Richmond, Virginia. In fact, I wrote most of this book in Richmond’s stadium neighborhood due west of Carytown—one block from the constant drone of the Downtown Expressway. This undertaking more broadly originated from a question I once asked Julian Bond during my first semester of graduate school. Mr. Bond, a group of professors, and a handful of graduate students came together...

Notes

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pp. 263-308

Bibliography

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pp. 309-322

Index

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pp. 323-342

Photographs

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