The University of North Carolina Press

Justice, Power, and Politics

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Justice, Power, and Politics

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Knocking on Labor’s Door

Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide

Lane Windham

The power of unions in workers' lives and in the American political system has declined dramatically since the 1970s. In recent years, many have argued that the crisis took root when unions stopped reaching out to workers and workers turned away from unions. But here Lane Windham tells a different story. Highlighting the integral, often-overlooked contributions of women, people of color, young workers, and southerners, Windham reveals how in the 1970s workers combined old working-class tools--like unions and labor law--with legislative gains from the civil and women's rights movements to help shore up their prospects. Through close-up studies of workers' campaigns in shipbuilding, textiles, retail, and service, Windham overturns widely held myths about labor's decline, showing instead how employers united to manipulate weak labor law and quash a new wave of worker organizing.

Recounting how employees attempted to unionize against overwhelming odds, Knocking on Labor's Door dramatically refashions the narrative of working-class struggle during a crucial decade and shakes up current debates about labor's future. Windham's story inspires both hope and indignation, and will become a must-read in labor, civil rights, and women's history.

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Latino City

Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945–2000

Llana Barber

Latino City explores the transformation of Lawrence, Massachusetts, into New England's first Latino-majority city. Like many industrial cities, Lawrence entered a downward economic spiral in the decades after World War II due to deindustrialization and suburbanization. The arrival of tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in the late twentieth century brought new life to the struggling city, but settling in Lawrence was fraught with challenges. Facing hostility from their neighbors, exclusion from local governance, inadequate city services, and limited job prospects, Latinos fought and organized for the right to make a home in the city.

In this book, Llana Barber interweaves the histories of urban crisis in U.S. cities and imperial migration from Latin America. Pushed to migrate by political and economic circumstances shaped by the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America, poor and working-class Latinos then had to reckon with the segregation, joblessness, disinvestment, and profound stigma that plagued U.S. cities during the crisis era, particularly in the Rust Belt. For many Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, there was no "American Dream" awaiting them in Lawrence; instead, Latinos struggled to build lives for themselves in the ruins of industrial America.

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No Mercy Here

Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity

Sarah Haley

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries imprisoned black women faced wrenching forms of gendered racial terror and heinous structures of economic exploitation. Subjugated as convict laborers and forced to serve additional time as domestic workers before they were allowed their freedom, black women faced a pitiless system of violence, terror, and debasement. Drawing upon black feminist criticism and a diverse array of archival materials, Sarah Haley uncovers imprisoned women's brutalization in local, county, and state convict labor systems, while also illuminating the prisoners' acts of resistance and sabotage, challenging ideologies of racial capitalism and patriarchy and offering alternative conceptions of social and political life.

A landmark history of black women's imprisonment in the South, this book recovers stories of the captivity and punishment of black women to demonstrate how the system of incarceration was crucial to organizing the logics of gender and race, and constructing Jim Crow modernity.

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Power to the Poor

Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974

Gordon K. Mantler

Anti-poverty activism and black-brown coalition The Poor People's Campaign of 1968 has long been overshadowed by the assassination of its architect, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the political turmoil of that year. In a major reinterpretation of civil rights and Chicano movement history, Gordon K. Mantler demonstrates how King's unfinished crusade became the era's most high-profile attempt at multiracial collaboration and sheds light on the interdependent relationship between racial identity and political coalition among African Americans and Mexican Americans. Mantler argues that while the fight against poverty held great potential for black-brown cooperation, such efforts also exposed the complex dynamics between the nation's two largest minority groups. Drawing on oral histories, archives, periodicals, and FBI surveillance files, Mantler paints a rich portrait of the campaign and the larger anti-poverty work from which it emerged, including the labor activism of Cesar Chavez, opposition of Black and Chicano Power to state violence in Chicago and Denver, and advocacy for Mexican American land-grant rights in New Mexico. Ultimately, Mantler challenges readers to rethink the multiracial history of the long Civil Rights movement and the difficulty of sustaining political coalitions. Gordon K. Mantler is a lecturing fellow and associate director in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University.

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Racial Taxation

Schools, Segregation, and Taxpayer Citizenship, 1869–1973

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Raza Sí, Migra No

Chicano Movement Struggles for Immigrant Rights in San Diego

Jimmy Patiño

As immigration from Mexico to the United States grew through the 1970s and 1980s, the Border Patrol, police, and other state agents exerted increasing violence against ethnic Mexicans in San Diego's volatile border region. In response, many San Diego activists rallied around the leadership of the small-scale print shop owner Herman Baca in the Chicano movement to empower Mexican Americans through Chicano self-determination. The combination of increasing repression and Chicano activism gradually produced a new conception of ethnic and racial community that included both established Mexican Americans and new Mexican immigrants. Here, Jimmy Patino narrates the rise of this Chicano/Mexicano consciousness and the dawning awareness that Mexican Americans and Mexicans would have to work together to fight border enforcement policies that subjected Latinos of all statuses to legal violence.

By placing the Chicano and Latino civil rights struggle on explicitly transnational terrain, Patino fundamentally reorients the understanding of the Chicano movement. Ultimately, Patino tells the story of how Chicano/Mexicano politics articulated an "abolitionist" position on immigration--going beyond the agreed upon assumptions shared by liberals and conservatives alike that deportations are inherent to any solutions to the still burgeoning immigration debate.

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Remaking Black Power

How Black Women Transformed an Era

Ashley D. Farmer

In this comprehensive history, Ashley D. Farmer examines black women's political, social, and cultural engagement with Black Power ideals and organizations. Complicating the assumption that sexism relegated black women to the margins of the movement, Farmer demonstrates how female activists fought for more inclusive understandings of Black Power and social justice by developing new ideas about black womanhood. This compelling book shows how the new tropes of womanhood that they created--the "Militant Black Domestic," the "Revolutionary Black Woman," and the "Third World Woman," for instance--spurred debate among activists over the importance of women and gender to Black Power organizing, causing many of the era's organizations and leaders to critique patriarchy and support gender equality.

Making use of a vast and untapped array of black women's artwork, political cartoons, manifestos, and political essays that they produced as members of groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Congress of African People, Farmer reveals how black women activists reimagined black womanhood, challenged sexism, and redefined the meaning of race, gender, and identity in American life.

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The Rise of the Arab American Left

Activists, Allies, and Their Fight against Imperialism and Racism, 1960s–1980s

Pamela E. Pennock

In this first history of Arab American activism in the 1960s, Pamela Pennock brings to the forefront one of the most overlooked minority groups in the history of American social movements. Focusing on the ideas and strategies of key Arab American organizations and examining the emerging alliances between Arab American and other anti-imperialist and antiracist movements, Pennock sheds new light on the role of Arab Americans in the social change of the era. She details how their attempts to mobilize communities in support of Middle Eastern political or humanitarian causes were often met with suspicion by many Americans, including heavy surveillance by the Nixon administration. Cognizant that they would be unable to influence policy by traditional electoral means, Arab Americans, through slow coalition building over the course of decades of activism, brought their central policy concerns and causes into the mainstream of activist consciousness.

With the support of new archival and interview evidence, Pennock situates the civil rights struggle of Arab Americans within the story of other political and social change of the 1960s and 1970s. By doing so, she takes a crucial step forward in the study of American social movements of that era.

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Unjust Deeds

The Restrictive Covenant Cases and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement

Jeffrey D. Gonda

In 1945, six African American families from St. Louis, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., began a desperate fight to keep their homes. Each of them had purchased a property that prohibited the occupancy of African Americans and other minority groups through the use of legal instruments called racial restrictive covenants--one of the most pervasive tools of residential segregation in the aftermath of World War II. Over the next three years, local activists and lawyers at the NAACP fought through the nation's courts to end the enforcement of these discriminatory contracts.

Unjust Deeds explores the origins and complex legacies of their dramatic campaign, culminating in a landmark Supreme Court victory in Shelley v. Kraemer (1948). Restoring this story to its proper place in the history of the black freedom struggle, Jeffrey D. Gonda's groundbreaking study provides a critical vantage point to the simultaneously personal, local, and national dimensions of legal activism in the twentieth century and offers a new understanding of the evolving legal fight against Jim Crow in neighborhoods and courtrooms across America.

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Winning Our Freedoms Together

African Americans and Apartheid, 1945–1960

Nicholas Grant

In this transnational account of black protest, Nicholas Grant examines how African Americans engaged with, supported, and were inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement. Bringing black activism into conversation with the foreign policy of both the U.S. and South African governments, this study questions the dominant perception that U.S.-centered anticommunism decimated black international activism. Instead, by tracing the considerable amount of time, money, and effort the state invested into responding to black international criticism, Grant outlines the extent to which the U.S. and South African governments were forced to reshape and occasionally reconsider their racial policies in the Cold War world.

This study shows how African Americans and black South Africans navigated transnationally organized state repression in ways that challenged white supremacy on both sides of the Atlantic. The political and cultural ties that they forged during the 1940s and 1950s are testament to the insistence of black activists in both countries that the struggle against apartheid and Jim Crow were intimately interconnected.

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