The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North: Segregation and Struggle outside of the South

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Brian Purnell
NYU Press, Apr 23, 2019 - History - 352 pages
Did American racism originate in the liberal North? An inquiry into the system of institutionalized racism created by Northern Jim Crow Jim Crow was not a regional sickness, it was a national cancer. Even at the high point of twentieth century liberalism in the North, Jim Crow racism hid in plain sight. Perpetuated by colorblind arguments about “cultures of poverty,” policies focused more on black criminality than black equality. Procedures that diverted resources in education, housing, and jobs away from poor black people turned ghettos and prisons into social pandemics. Americans in the North made this history. They tried to unmake it, too. Liberalism, rather than lighting the way to vanquish the darkness of the Jim Crow North gave racism new and complex places to hide. The twelve original essays in this anthology unveil Jim Crow’s many strange careers in the North. They accomplish two goals: first, they show how the Jim Crow North worked as a system to maintain social, economic, and political inequality in the nation’s most liberal places; and second, they chronicle how activists worked to undo the legal, economic, and social inequities born of Northern Jim Crow policies, practices, and ideas. The book ultimately dispels the myth that the South was the birthplace of American racism, and presents a compelling argument that American racism actually originated in the North.
 

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Contents

Introduction Histories of Racism and Resistance Seen
1
Charlotta Bass
67
Ella Baker
89
Paule Marshalls
113
White Backtalk
139
How a White
163
Racial
187
Project Equality
259
Friend or Foe of Jim Crow?
285
The Black Panther Party
307
Acknowledgments
333
About the Contributors
339
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Brian Purnell is Geoffrey Canada Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History at Bowdoin College. He is the author of Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings (University Press of Kentucky, 2013).

Komozi Woodard is Professor of American History, Public Policy, and Africana Studies at Sarah Lawrence College and author of A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka and Black Power Politics.

Jeanne Theoharis is distinguished Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College of CUNY. She is the author of numerous books and articles on the black freedom struggle, including the award-winning The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Beacon Press, 2013) and most recently A More Beautiful and Terrible History (Beacon Press, 2018).

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