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ask "forgiveness" of several descendants of Ball slaves. On one occasion (a rare emotional occasion), when he brings a ninety-year-old black woman back to die dilapidated cabin in which she had been born, he weeps. And at the end of his search, he seeks expiation by travelling to Sierra Leone where he faces his "responsibility " and participates in a "ceremony of commemoration" on the banks ofa creek from which captured slaves had been sent to the West African coast to be taken by white traders to America. Such is the need even ofan expatriate southerner, far removed from the sins of the fathers, too young even to have been involved in die South's system ofJim Crow. Such is the powerful hold ofracial sin and guilt on the contemporarywhite conscience—at least in those cases in which the possessors of diat conscience look deeply and honesdy into the soudiern past. Sorting Out the New South City Race, Class, and Urban Development in Charlotte, 1 87 5 —1 97 5 By Thomas W Hanchett University ofNorth Carolina Press, 1998 379 pp. Cloth $59.95, Paper $24.95 Reviewed by David Goldfleld, Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and two-time Mayflower Award-winner. Though foreigners often express shock at the sprawling confusion of American cities, Thomas Hanchett demonstrates diat diere is metiiod in this madness in his analysis ofCharlotte, North Carolina. The book is more than a spatial accounting ofCharlotte's neighborhood and business district development. Hanchett places growth in regional, political, economic, and cultural context. This is a southern story of the emergence of mercantile, industrial, banking, and real estate entrepreneurs and how they shaped a city in an era of black disenfranchisement, Jim Crow, and die waning political power of white workers. The leading planning practitioners of the early twentieth century worked in Charlotte, and their influence remains visible in the city today. Hanchett identifies numerous subdivisions diat followed their planning precepts, including an emphasis on residential homogeneity and die spatial isolation ofdiverse racial income groups, the use ofreReviews 87 strictive covenants, street layout and zoning designed to reinforce class and racial distinctions, and die separation of work from residence diat consequendy defined a downtown business district. Neighborhood groups and African American leaders did generate political opposition to elite planning and secured significant political change in 1977, when Charlotte switched from at-large voting to a district/at-large system, but Hanchett ends his analysis before he can assess the subsequent impact ofthis shift on the city's spatial development. For the century Hanchett studies, however, he provides a broad context for understanding that die shape ofour cities is far from happenstance. Ella Baker Freedom Bound ByJoanne Grant John Wiley and Sons, 1998 270 pp. Cloth $24.95, Paper $16.95 Reviewed by Edward O. Frantz, a doctoral candidate in the department ofhistory at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Until this biography, students had to be content with only morsels ofinformation from other publications about civil-rights activist Ella Baker, butJoanne Grant's narrative traces Baker's combative spirit back to the legacy of her grandparents, who were former slaves, and stresses a continuity ofresistance within the African American community. The book covers Baker's upbringing in a middle-class family, her education and graduation from Shaw University, her exposure to the Harlem Renaissance, and her stints as newspaper reporter, librarian, wpa teacher, and NAACP recruiter. The heart of the text is devoted to Baker's years as director of branches of the naacp and sclc, as well as her aid to die young people of SNCC. Through Baker's eyes the reader finds a critical view of Martin Luther KingJr. and naacp president Walter White. The discussion ofBaker's influence on sNcc, however, is the book's highlight. Grant weaves autobiographical references and recollections with the broader story ofthe civil rights organization and depicts Baker's preference for grassroots leadership at the expense of her own. Baker's persona, though, does not fully emanate from the text, nor does die ex88 southern cultures, Summer2000 : Reviews ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 87-88
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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