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Blacks and the Quest for Economic Equality

The Political Economy of Employment in Southern Communities in the United States

James W. Button, Barbara A. Rienzo, Sheila L. Croucher

Publication Year: 2009

Published by: Penn State University Press

Copyright Page

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List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

Thirty years ago, I began the exploration of race, politics, and change in six southern (Florida) communities. In Blacks and Social Change: Impact of the Civil Rights Movement in Southern Communities (Princeton University Press, 1989), I detailed transformations that resulted following the 1960s political mobilization of blacks, including the election of African Americans to public office, improvements in...

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1. Race Relations and Economic Progress

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pp. 1-9

As the United States enters the new millennium, race in the South continues to be the distinctively American Dilemma that Gunnar Myrdal (1944) identified sixty years ago. While African Americans have made substantial progress in politics in the South since the 1960s civil rights movement, particularly following the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, similar advancements in...

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2. The Economic, Racial, and Political Contexts of the Cities

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pp. 10-42

The political and economic environments in which African Americans seek employment are important to understand. We have posited that two major contextual factors that influence black progress are political culture and relative size of the black population. Political culture, as exemplified in our Deep South–Border South dichotomy, includes the history and basic traditions of a community...

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3. Blacks and Business Sector Employment

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pp. 43-74

The most important institutional force affecting the economic well-being of African Americans is private sector employment. One’s job largely defines one’s status in society and contributes to feelings of self-esteem and self-worth. In addition, we know that employment often provides an effective deterrent to crime, youth delinquency, welfare dependency, and other...

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4. African Americans in the Municipal Workforces

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pp. 75-102

The employment of blacks in municipal service jobs is a good indicator of racial equity at the local level. Public employment not only provides a valuable source of income, but it also confers a degree of status or prestige not found in low-paying, service-oriented jobs held by many blacks in the private sector. Within city employment, police and fire forces are among the largest and best-funded...

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5. Race, Gender, and Ethnicity: Competition for Employment Opportunities

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pp. 103-120

The increasing presence of race/ethnic minorities in urban areas has provided the potential for intergroup competition for scarce community resources, especially jobs. Such competition is an issue when two or more groups strive for the same goals, so that the success of one group may result in lesser achievements by others (McClain 1993). The rivalry for jobs is...

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6. Affirmative Action and Black Employment

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pp. 121-152

Affirmative Action in employment and education has been one of the most controversial social policies of the past forty years. The term ignites culture war debates over equal opportunity, reverse discrimination, unfair competition, quotas, racism, sexism, and diversity (Reskin 1998). A product of the civil rights movement and liberal white elites, affirmative action (AA) has focused a great...

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7. Promoting Progress in Black Employment

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pp. 153-176

The quest for economic equality for blacks in the South remains an elusive goal. The civil rights laws of the 1960s provided African Americans with significant political and legal powers, and as a result, the walls of racial discrimination began to crumble. Blacks gained elected offices, schools desegregated, and white racial hostility became less severe. There were economic advances...


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pp. 177-188


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pp. 189-202


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pp. 203-210

E-ISBN-13: 9780271053424
E-ISBN-10: 0271053429
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271035567
Print-ISBN-10: 0271035560

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 5 charts/graphs, 31 tables
Publication Year: 2009