The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit

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Princeton University Press, Aug 1, 2005 - History - 375 pages
11 Reviews

Once America's "arsenal of democracy," Detroit over the last fifty years has become the symbol of the American urban crisis. In this reappraisal of racial and economic inequality in modern America, Thomas Sugrue explains how Detroit and many other once prosperous industrial cities have become the sites of persistent racialized poverty. He challenges the conventional wisdom that urban decline is the product of the social programs and racial fissures of the 1960s. Probing beneath the veneer of 1950s prosperity and social consensus, Sugrue traces the rise of a new ghetto, solidified by changes in the urban economy and labor market and by racial and class segregation.

In this provocative revision of postwar American history, Sugrue finds cities already fiercely divided by race and devastated by the exodus of industries. He focuses on urban neighborhoods, where white working-class homeowners mobilized to prevent integration as blacks tried to move out of the crumbling and overcrowded inner city. Weaving together the history of workplaces, unions, civil rights groups, political organizations, and real estate agencies, Sugrue finds the roots of today's urban poverty in a hidden history of racial violence, discrimination, and deindustrialization that reshaped the American urban landscape after World War II.

In a new preface, Sugrue discusses the ongoing legacies of the postwar transformation of urban America and engages recent scholars who have joined in the reassessment of postwar urban, political, social, and African American history.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ScoutJ - LibraryThing

With this work, Thomas J. Sugrue presented a new interpretation of the decline and fall of the American industrial city using Detroit as a case study. While previous historians have pointed to the ... Read full review

Review: The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit

User Review  - Brent - Goodreads

This academic work meticulously traces how Detroit progressed from one of the key cities in the US to its current situation. Sugure goes further back in his analysis than most, looking at how the ... Read full review


Arsenal of Democracy
Detroits Time Bomb Race and Housing in the 1940s
The Coffin of Peace The Containment of Public Housing
The Meanest and Dirtiest Jobs The Structures of Employment Discrimination
The Damning Mark of False Prosperities The Deindustrialization of Detroit
Forget about Your Inalienable Right to Work Responses to Industrial Decline and Discrimination
Homeowners Rights White Resistance and the Rise of Antiliberalism
United Communities Are Impregnable Violence and the Color Line
Detroit and the Fate of Postindustrial America
Index of Dissimilarity Blacks and Whites in Major American Cities 19401990
African American Occupational Structure i Detroit 19401970
List of Abbreviations in the Notes

Class Status and Residence The Changing Geography of Black Detroit

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About the author (2005)

Thomas J. Sugrue is the David Boies Professor of History and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of "Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race" (Princeton) and "Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North.