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Civil Rights in New York City

From World War II to the Giuliani Era

Clarence Taylor

Publication Year: 2011

Since the 1960s, most U.S. History has been written as if the civil rights movement were primarily or entirely a Southern history. This book joins a growing body of scholarship that demonstrates the importance of the Northern history of the movement. The contributors make clear that civil rights in New York City were contestedin many ways, beginning long before the 1960s, and across many groups with a surprisingly wide range of political perspectives. Civil Rights in New York City provides a sample of the rich historical record of the fight for racial justice in the city that was home to the nation's largest population of African-Americans in mid-twentiethcentury America.The ten contributions brought together here address varying aspects of New York's civil rights struggle, including the role of labor, community organizing campaigns, the pivotal actions of prominent national leaders, the movement for integrated housing, the fight for racial equality in public higher education, and the part played by a revolutionary group that challenged structural, societal inequality. Long before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Jr. helped launch the Harlem Bus Boycott of 1941. The New York City's Teachers' Union had been fighting for racial equality since 1935. Ella Baker worked with the NAACP and the city's grassroots movement to force the city to integrate its public school system. In 1962, a directaction campaign by Brooklyn CORE, a racially integrated membership organization, forced the city to provide better sanitation services to Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn's largest black community. Integrating Rochdale Village in South Jamaica, the largest middle-class housing cooperative in New York, brought together an unusual coalition of leftists, liberal Democrats, moderate Republicans, pragmatic government officials,and business executives.In reexamining these and other key events, Civil Rights in New York City reaffirms their importance to the larger national fight for equality for Americans across racial lines.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: Civil Rights in New York City

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pp. 1-9

Since the 1960s, most U.S. history has been written as if the civil rights movement were primarily or entirely a southern history. Of course, this is incorrect. The fight for civil rights has always been a...

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1. To Be a Good American: The New York City Teachers Union and Race during the Second World War

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pp. 10-31

In 1942, May Quinn, a civics teacher at Public School 227 in Brooklyn, read an anti-Semitic leaflet titled ‘‘The First Americans’’ in her class. The publication listed the names of ‘‘brave Americans’’ during wartime. Absent from the list...

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2. Cops, Schools, and Communism: Local Politics and Global Ideologies—New York City in the 1950s

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pp. 32-51

In 1952, Ella Baker was elected president of the large New York City NAACP branch, becoming its first woman president. She had been active in the branch for several years, working with the youth council...

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3. ‘‘Taxation without Sanitation Is Tyranny’’: Civil Rights Struggles over Garbage Collection in Brooklyn, New York,during the Fall of 1962

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pp. 52-76

During the early 1960s, many residents of Bedford-Stuyvesant saw the neighborhood’s filthy streets as a sign of their community’s low status in New York City. The trash that accumulated on sidewalks and...

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4. Rochdale Village and the Rise and Fall of Integrated Housing in New York City

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pp. 77-94

When Rochdale Village opened in southeastern Queens in late 1963, it was the largest housing cooperative in the world. When fully occupied, its 5,860 apartments contained about 25,000 residents...

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5. Conservative and Liberal Opposition to the New York City School-Integration Campaign

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pp. 95-117

One of the most successful periods for New York City liberalism was during the mayoralty of Robert F. Wagner (1954–1966). During these years, benefits for workers rapidly increased, public housing was...

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6. The Dead End of Despair: Bayard Rustin, the 1968 New York School Crisis, and the Struggle for Racial Justice

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pp. 118-140

On April 6, 1968, Bayard Rustin received the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) John Dewey Award, an acknowledgment by the New York City union of the civil rights leader’s incalculable contributions...

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7. The Young Lords and the Social and Structural Roots of Late Sixties Urban Radicalism

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pp. 141-160

Against the backdrop of America’s spiraling urban crisis in the late 1960s, an unexpected cohort of young radicals unleashed a dramatic chain of urban guerilla protests that riveted the media and alarmed Mayor...

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8. ‘‘Brooklyn College Belongs to Us’’: Black Students and the Transformation of Public Higher Education in New York City

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pp. 161-181

Black student activism exploded in the spring of 1969. These students followed in the footsteps of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and were deeply influenced by its radical and Black Nationalist...

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9. Racial Events, Diplomacy,and Dinkins’s Image

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pp. 182-203

New York City is a political environment replete with socially isolated ethnic groups. Groups usually come into contact with each other in the commercial realm, and retail sales has been the theater for...

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10. ‘‘One City, One Standard’’: The Struggle for Equality in Rudolph Giuliani’s New York

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pp. 204-218

One City, One Standard.’’ Rudolph Giuliani, New York’s mayor from 1994 to 2001, defined his administration, and himself, through these words. They were more than a campaign slogan, although...


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pp. 219-266


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pp. 267-268


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pp. 269-282

E-ISBN-13: 9780823249176
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823232895
Print-ISBN-10: 0823232891

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2011