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Black Political Organizations in the Post-Civil Rights Era

Edited by Ollie A. Johnson III

Publication Year: 2002

We know a great deal about civil rights organizations during the 1960s, but relatively little about black

political organizations since that decade. Questions of focus, accountability, structure, and relevance have surrounded these groups since the modern Civil Rights Movement ended in 1968. Political scientists Ollie A. Johnson III and Karin L. Stanford have assembled a group of scholars who examine the leadership, membership, structure, goals, ideology, activities, accountability, and impact of contemporary black political organizations and their leaders. Questions considered are: How have these organizations adapted to the changing sociopolitical and economic environment? What ideological shifts, if any, have occurred within each one? What issues are considered important to black political groups and what strategies are used to implement their agendas? The contributors also investigate how these organizations have adapted to changes within the black community and American society as a whole.

Organizations covered include well-known ones such as the NAACP, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Urban League, and the Congress of Racial Equality, as well as organizations such as the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. Religious groups, including black churches and the Nation of Islam, are also considered.


Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-x

The idea for this book was the result of a myriad of questions raised by students in American Politics and African American Politics classes. Although the students understood and celebrated the work of African American political organizations during the Civil Rights Movement...

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pp. xi-xii

My formal introduction to the study of Black politics, history, and culture occurred in the early 1980s at Brown University. Under the guidance of Professors Barry Beckham, Anani Dzidzienyo, Michael S. Harper, Rhett Jones, and Wilson Moses, I majored in...

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Introduction: The Relevance of Black Political Organizations in the Post–Civil Rights Era

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pp. 1-13

Prior to the 1960s most African Americans were denied their basic civil and human rights. The right to vote, the right to protest peacefully, the right to a fair trial, the right to live without fear of state violence, and the rights to live, work, study, and travel were routinely...

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1. Will the Circle Be Unbroken? The Political Involvement of Black Churches since the 1960s

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pp. 14-27

The Black church is unique among Civil Rights organizations in that it is not a single organization, nor was it founded with the express purpose of addressing racism and discrimination. Black church is a term that aggregates all predominantly Black Christian congregations...

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2. The NAACP in the Twenty-first Century

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pp. 28-39

In recent years a number of Black scholars have questioned both the effectiveness and the relevance of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the continuing struggle for racial justice in the United States, arguing that in its...

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3. The National Urban League: Reinventing Service for the Twenty-first Century

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pp. 40-53

The National Urban League (NUL) defines itself “as the premier social service and civil rights organization in America.” Headquartered in New York City, this nonprofit, community-based agency has an organizational structure of over one hundred affiliates in...

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4. A Layin’ On of Hands: Black Women’s Community Work

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pp. 54-79

At its core this study is about the linkages between African American women, the political community work they perform in gender-specific organizations, and the development of a distinctive race- and gender-informed style of politics produced from these locations...

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5. From Protest to Black Conservatism: The Demise of the Congress of Racial Equality

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pp. 80-98

The tribute in honor of the late James Farmer held in Washington, D.C., on September 10, 1999, underscored the Congress of Racial Equality’s (CORE) historic role in the struggle for African American equality. CORE, cofounded by Farmer in 1942, was a forerunner...

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6. “You’re Not Ready for Farrakhan”: The Nation of Islam and the Struggle for Black Political Leadership, 1984–2000

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pp. 99-131

October 16, 1995, was a clear, radiant day in Washington, D.C. As the morning sun arced against an azure sky, tens of thousands of people, predominantly African American and male, began assembling on the Mall in front of the Capitol Building. The occasion was the...

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7. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference: Beyond the Civil Rights Movement

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pp. 132-149

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was founded in 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia. Like other civil rights groups, the SCLC was established to improve the political and social conditions of Black Americans. The SCLC is characterized by its use of nonviolent...

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8. Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition: Institutionalizing Economic Opportunity

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pp. 150-169

The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Wall Street Project, launched on January 15, 1997, represents Rev. Jesse Jackson’s effort to promote economic inclusion. Its purpose is to create new opportunities for African Americans and other minorities in corporate America and...

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9. “We Refused to Lay Down Our Spears”: The Persistence of Welfare Rights Activism, 1966–1996

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pp. 170-192

By the time President Bill Clinton left office in January 2001, he had made good on his campaign pledge to “end welfare as we know it,” even though few critics and supporters actually thought he would dismantle the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program...

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10. Black Political Leadership in the Post–Civil Rights Era

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pp. 193-201

An examination of the history of Black people in America invokes more than 350 years of slavery, overt discrimination, segregation, and institutional racism. It also reveals the indefatigable strength of Black people and their enduring political leadership. At the same...

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11. Where Do We Go from Here? Facing the Challenges of the Post–Civil Rights Era

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pp. 202-216

As a critique of Black politics in the post–Civil Rights era, the preceding chapters address numerous factors that challenge the effectiveness of Black political organizations. Key to this assessment is the general acknowledgment that Black political organizations...


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pp. 217-248


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pp. 249-251


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pp. 253-264

E-ISBN-13: 9780813547015
E-ISBN-10: 0813547016
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813531397

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2002