University of Nebraska Press

Justice and Social Inquiry

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Justice and Social Inquiry

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Black Mayors, White Majorities

The Balancing Act of Racial Politics

Ravi K. Perry

Recent years have seen an increase in the number of African Americans elected to political office in cities where the majority of their constituents are not black. In the past, the leadership of black politicians was characterized as either “deracialized” or “racialized”—that is, as either focusing on politics that transcend race or as making black issues central to their agenda. Today many African American politicians elected to offices in non-majority-black cities are adopting a strategy that universalizes black interests as intrinsically relevant to the needs of their entire constituency.

In Black Mayors, White Majorities Ravi K. Perry explores the conditions in which black mayors of majority-white cities are able to represent black interests and whether blacks’ historically high expectations for black mayors are being realized. Perry uses Toledo and Dayton, Ohio, as case studies, and his analysis draws on interviews with mayors and other city officials, business leaders, and heads of civic organizations, in addition to official city and campaign documents and newspapers. Perry also analyzes mayoral speeches, the 2001 ward-level election results, and city demographics. Black Mayors, White Majorities encourages readers to think beyond the black-white dyad and instead to envision policies that can serve constituencies with the greatest needs as well as the general public.

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Hurricane Katrina

America's Unnatural Disaster

Jeremy I. Levitt

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana and Mississippi. The storm devastated the region and its citizens. But its devastation did not reach across racial and class lines equally. In an original combination of research and advocacy, Hurricane Katrina: America’s Unnatural Disaster questions the efficacy of the national and global responses to Katrina’s central victims, African Americans.

This collection of polemical essays explores the extent to which African Americans and others were, and are, disproportionately affected by the natural and manmade forces that caused Hurricane Katrina. Such an engaged study of this tragic event forces us to acknowledge that the ways in which we view our history and life have serious ramifications on modern human relations, public policy, and quality of life.

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Opposing Jim Crow

African Americans and the Soviet Indictment of U.S. Racism, 1928-1937

Meredith L. Roman

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The Struggle in Black and Brown

African American and Mexican American Relations during the Civil Rights Era

Brian D Behnken

It might seem that African Americans and Mexican Americans would have common cause in matters of civil rights. This volume, which considers relations between blacks and browns during the civil rights era, carefully examines the complex and multifaceted realities that complicate such assumptions—and that revise our view of both the civil rights struggle and black-brown relations in recent history. Unique in its focus, innovative in its methods, and broad in its approach to various locales and time periods, the book provides key perspectives to understanding the development of America’s ethnic and sociopolitical landscape.

These essays focus chiefly on the Southwest, where Mexican Americans and African Americans have had a long history of civil rights activism. Among the cases the authors take up are the unification of black and Chicano civil rights and labor groups in California; divisions between Mexican Americans and African Americans generated by the War on Poverty; and cultural connections established by black and Chicano musicians during the period. Together these cases present the first truly nuanced picture of the conflict and cooperation, goodwill and animosity, unity and disunity that played a critical role in the history of both black-brown relations and the battle for civil rights. Their insights are especially timely, as black-brown relations occupy an increasingly important role in the nation’s public life.

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