Flak-Catchers: One Hundred Years of Riot Commission Politics in America

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Lexington Books, Dec 2, 2010 - Political Science - 284 pages
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Flak-Catchers explores the ways in which riot commissions-the institutional bodies appointed by an executive in the aftermath of a race riot to determine a riot timeline, investigate causes, and offer prescriptions for change-have dealt with racial violence in the United States over the last century. In studying five riots and their commissions, Chicago 1919, Harlem 1935, Los Angeles 1965, USA 1967, and Los Angeles 1992, this book shows that riot commissions only serve to give the appearance of strong and responsive government action during uncertain times. They primarily benefit the instituting body by focusing on a restoration of law and order while undermining any larger civil rights message. However, this book also challenges the prevalent idea that riot commissions are all the same, by revealing how riot commissions have changed over the last century, shifting in their prominence, content, and focus. After the 1968 Kerner Commission, which studied the 1967 summer riots, it has become increasingly common for the riot commission to fail to answer fundamental questions posed by the crisis.
 

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Contents

Chapter 01 Introduction
1
Chapter 02 Commission Politics
23
Chapter 03 Research Design
37
Chapter 04 The 1919 Chicago Riot and the Chicago Commission
43
Chapter 05 The 1935 Harlem Riot and the Harlem Commission
67
Chapter 06 The 1965 Los Angeles Riot and the McCone Commission
93
Chapter 07 The 1967 USA Riots and the Kerner Commission
123
Chapter 08 The 1992 Los Angeles Riot and the Assembly Special Committee Senate Special Task Force Presidential Task Force and the WebsterWilli...
159
Chapter 09 The Changing Nature of Riot Commission Politics in the PostKerner Commission Years
207
Chapter 10 Conclusion
237
Archive Notes
257
Bibliography
261
Index
271
About the Author
275
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About the author (2010)

Lindsey Lupo is assistant professor at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA.