Black Rage in New Orleans
Police Brutality and African American Activism from World War II to Hurricane Katrina
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Title Page, Copyright
List of Tables
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I am grateful for the support of outstanding librarians and archivists at the Louisiana Division of the New Orleans Public Library; the Department of Special Collections at the University of New Orleans’s Earl K. Long Library; and the Amistad Research Center. And special thanks goes to Lynn Cunningham and Doug Parker at the...
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INTRODUCTION: Police Violence, New Orleans, and the Postwar Urban Landscape
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Police brutality has been a source of frustration, anger, and rage for African Americans throughout the postwar period. In the postwar migration of African Americans out of the rural South into the nation’s urban areas in search of better social and economic opportunities, they came in contact with the most visible arm of the state: the police. African...
1. NEGRO POLICE WILL AID IN LAW AND ORDER: The Fight for Black Police in the Crescent City
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In the immediate aftermath of World War II, African Americans across the urban South tested the region’s commitment to democracy by demanding integration of local police departments. While black citizens had made similar requests during the interwar period, these requests became more serious and radical as black citizens looked at equal...
2. OR DOES IT EXPLODE?: The Black Freedom Struggle Comes to New Orleans
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While African Americans across the South were marching, sitting-in, and holding various forms of protest against segregation and disenfranchisement, television viewers outside the South saw the brutality of southern police departments that black southerners had complained about for decades. During the civil rights movement, many police...
3. "WE WANT AN END TO POLICE BRUTALITY": The Black Panthers, Desire, and Police Repression
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Point Number Seven of the Black Panther Party (BPP) Platform and Program, “What We Want, What We Believe,” spoke directly to the issue of police brutality and sexual violence against women. “We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of black people,” read the statement. Founded in 1966 in Oakland, California, as a...
4. THE POLITICS OF SELF-DEFENSE: Mark Essex, the Soul Patrol, and Black Vigilantism
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With the popular radicalism of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and other organizations, such as the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), the Republic of New Afrika, the Liberators, the Defenders, and the Black Liberation Front, in the early 1970s, government authorities called for an increased police presence in urban communities, partly...
5. THE RIGHT TO ORGANIZE: The Black Organization of Police, Mass Protest, and the City Council Hearings
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In the immediate post-Essex period, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and other urban police departments adopted aggressive policing techniques as they increased their presence in black neighborhoods. Responding in part to escalating national crime rates, local law enforcement officials doubled police expenditures between...
6. BLACK POWER POLITICS: Ernest “Dutch” Morial and the Limits of Police Reform
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One of the greatest accomplishments of the postwar period was the transition from protest to political power. Beginning with Cleveland’s election of Carl Stokes in 1967, virtually every major city in America would elect an African American as mayor by the mid-1980s. As expected, black mayors launched an impressive array of programs and...
7. “WE ARE LIVING IN A POLICE STATE”: The Algiers Tragedy, the Maturation of Community Protest, and the Politics of a Civilian Review Board
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Between 1976 and 1982, the United States experienced an unprecedented crime wave as rape and violent crimes continued to escalate. Trapped in enclaves of high unemployment, poor housing, bad schools, and inadequate social services, blacks turned their frustration inward as American’s inner cities became sites of general despair. In...
8. BLACK-ON-BLACK CRIME: The Consequences of White Flight, the War on Drugs, and Political Indifference
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After a decade of economic decline, white flight, and urban disinvestment, along with six years of Reaganomics and an oil bust that cost more than 60,000 residents their jobs, New Orleans was struggling to survive as Sydney Barthelemy took office. Like many of the nation’s urban centers, New Orleans suffered from federal and state...
9. “A NEW DAY IN BABYLON”: The Professionalization of the New Orleans Police Department and the Claiming of Urban Public Space
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In 1993, Marc H. Morial captured the mayor’s office largely on a platform to completely overhaul the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and stamp out corruption and brutality. The thirty-six-year-old attorney and alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown Law School ran an unsuccessful race for Congress in 1990, and...
EPILOGUE: Policing Katrina
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As the dire predictions about Hurricane Katrina controlled public discussion in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast throughout the month of August, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) did not make any definite emergency plans until thirty-six hours before landfall. At a meeting on Saturday, August 27, the NOPD command staff...
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Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2010