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date: 29 January 2023

The Black Freedom Struggle in the Urban Northfree

The Black Freedom Struggle in the Urban Northfree

  • Thomas J. SugrueThomas J. SugrueDepartment of History, New York University


Racism in the United States has long been a national problem, not a regional phenomenon. The long and well-documented history of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and racial violence in the South overshadows the persistent reality of racial discrimination, systemic segregation, and entrenched inequality north of the Mason-Dixon line. From the mid-19th century forward, African Americans and their allies mounted a series of challenges to racially separate schools, segregated public accommodations, racially divided workplaces, endemic housing segregation, and discriminatory policing. The northern civil rights movement expanded dramatically in the aftermath of the Great Migration of blacks northward and the intensification of segregation in northern hotels, restaurants, and theaters, workplaces, housing markets, and schools in the early 20th century. During the Great Depression and World War II, emboldened civil rights organizations engaged in protest, litigation, and lobbying efforts to undermine persistent racial discrimination and segregation. Their efforts resulted in legal and legislative victories against racially separate and unequal institutions, particularly workplaces and stores. But segregated housing and schools remained more impervious to change. By the 1960s, many black activists in the North grew frustrated with the pace of change, even as they succeeded in increasing black representation in elected office, in higher education, and in certain sectors of the economy. In the late 20th century, civil rights activists launched efforts to fight the ongoing problem of police brutality and the rise of the prison-industrial complex. And they pushed, mostly through the courts, for the protection of the fragile gains of the civil rights era. The black freedom struggle in the North remained incomplete in the face of ongoing segregation, persistent racism, and ongoing racial inequality in employment, education, income, and wealth.


  • Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Urban History

Histories of racial inequality and the struggle for civil rights in the United States tend to focus on the South, with attention on the aftermath of slavery, the short-lived freedoms of Reconstruction, the rise of intensive state-sanctioned racial segregation, and the emergence of nonviolent protests against Jim Crow in the 1950s. The history of the black freedom struggle outside the South has generally remained in the shadows. The North had a long—if mostly forgotten—history of chattel slavery from the 17th through the early 19th centuries. Many fortunes in banking, textiles, and shipping up North were built on the backs of unfree African American labor. Cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia rose to economic power because of the trade in slaves and the products of plantations in the South and Caribbean, particularly cotton.1

As slavery waned in the 19th-century North with gradual emancipation, racial inequality persisted and, in many places, hardened. In 1835 the French political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville observed that

in the North the white no longer clearly perceives the barrier that is supposed to separate him from this debased race, and he shuns the Negro all the more assiduously for fear that he might one day become indistinguishable from him.

Even in those northern states that had abolished or prohibited slavery, Tocqueville observed that

the Negro is free, but he cannot share the rights, pleasures, labors, or sorrows—not even the tomb of him whose equal he has been declared to be. There is no place where the two can come together, whether in life or death.2

In the decades preceding the Civil War, northern abolitionists worked to destroy slavery both in their own region and in the South. Black and white anti-slavery activists participated in the Underground Railroad, resisted Fugitive Slave Laws, and valiantly fought the Confederacy. In some states, under pressure by civil rights activists, legislatures abolished racially separate schools and extended voting rights to African American men during the decades preceding and immediately following the Civil War. During Reconstruction, several northern states passed laws forbidding discrimination by race in public education and public accommodations.3

The Great Migration

Questions of race and civil rights, however, remained minor issues in northern politics until the 20th century. As late as 1920, nearly nine out of ten African Americans still lived in the South, and large sections of states outside the old Confederacy had few, if any, non-whites. Most northern blacks were concentrated in a handful of large cities, notably Philadelphia and New York. Those patterns changed profoundly with the Great Migration (1910–1970) of African Americans northward. More than six million African Americans left the South in search of economic opportunities in burgeoning northern industries. Some fled the declining southern agricultural economy. Others were refugees from widespread racial violence. Many migrants saw themselves as part of an exodus to a “promised land” or a “New Canaan,” where they would be free from the indignities and dangers of southern racism.4

The Great Migration generated intense racial conflict in the North. During the first decades of the 20th century, dozens of race riots broke out in northern towns and cities, always instigated by whites threatened by growing black populations. Those riots peaked in times of social and economic instability. During World War I and its aftermath, whites attacked African Americans in East Saint Louis and Chicago.5 During the 1920s, millions of northern whites joined the Ku Klux Klan, an organization committed to nativism, anti-Catholicism, and opposition to equality between African Americans and whites. Members of the Klan gained political power throughout the North. In Detroit, a Klansman lost the 1925 mayoral election on technicalities in a city riven by racial tensions. The same year as the near-KKK victory, whites attacked the house of Ossian Sweet, an African American doctor who moved into a white neighborhood.6

Jim Crow in Public Accommodations

Few northern states had laws that required the segregation of blacks and whites in public spaces, but Jim Crow was commonly practiced north of the Mason-Dixon line. Movie theaters regularly turned away black customers or confined them to the balconies (colloquially called the “crow’s nests”). Swimming pools, roller rinks, dance halls, bowling alleys, and amusement parks were strictly segregated by race.7 The Young Women’s and Young Men’s Christian Associations (YWCA and YMCA) provided recreation, education, and social services to blacks and whites in racially separate buildings.8 Public parks, beaches, and pools were rigorously segregated by race. In some cities, public swimming facilities sometimes admitted African Americans on a segregated basis, usually on the day before pools were emptied, cleaned, and refilled.9 Few restaurants and hotels in the North that served white patrons allowed African Americans entry. Black travelers relied on The Negro Motorist’s Green Book and on advertisements in African American newspapers to find hotels, campgrounds, and restaurants that were open to them.10

Workplace Discrimination

During the Great Migration, most northern employers refused to hire African Americans at all. For the first third of the 20th century, most black men held service jobs, serving as janitors, maintenance men, barbers, and cooks. The vast majority of African American women in the paid workforce in the North through the Great Depression worked as domestics, cooks, or laundry workers. Others worked in informal jobs, ranging from prostitution to numbers running. Few blacks found work in the skilled building trades. Retail jobs that required interaction with white customers were closed to African Americans. Even fewer found white-collar positions. Even African Americans with professional degrees, including doctors, engineers, and lawyers, found it nearly impossible to find work in white-owned businesses or major corporations until the 1960s.11

Before World War II, African Americans sometimes found work in industry but nearly always in unskilled jobs, often in dangerous or unpleasant settings. In Chicago, black men found work on the killing floors of meatpacking plants. In major steel-producing cities, including Chicago, Gary, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, black workers generally toiled in the unbearable heat of foundries, pouring molten iron and stoking furnaces with coke, a form of processed coal. In the auto industry, blacks were confined to maintenance jobs or hazardous jobs such as engine lifting and car-body painting. Many employers hired black workers to replace white workers who were on strike and in the process fueled racial resentment by whites who believed that African Americans were stealing their jobs. Other firms instituted a strict system of racial segregation on the shop floor or assembly line, refusing to place black workers in white jobs. Whether as domestics and cooks or assembly line workers, African Americans were almost always paid less than their white counterparts. They were the first to be laid off during economic downturns and the last to be hired. Even companies that employed African American workers often did so as a last resort, particularly during periods of labor shortages, including World War I and World War II. Black workers regularly complained of being turned away when they applied for jobs, even as employers continued to hire whites.12

Labor unions had a mixed record of providing support for African American workers. Most unions in the American Federation of Labor (AFL), which was dominated by skilled labors, regularly endorsed racially discriminatory practices. Construction unions favored the sons, brothers, and relatives of their members, who were usually all white. But the AFL also included all-black unions, including the influential Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, led by Asa Philip Randolph. The Sleeping Car Porters had an outsized role in civil rights organizing, in part because of Randolph’s leadership, in part because as railway workers, porters carried black newspapers, pamphlets, and accounts of black resistance to nearly every town in the United States with a railroad depot and a black population.13

The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), founded in 1935, which represented workers in some of the nation’s largest manufacturers, tended to be more open to African American workers. During the Depression and World War II, as the CIO rapidly expanded, its leaders rallied workers around the slogan “black and white, unite and fight.” This slogan was based on the argument that a unified workforce could more effectively challenge employers who profited from pitting the interests of black and white workers against each other. Still, many CIO unions did not challenge employers’ use of racial classifications for assigning work. Even in some of the most racially progressive unions, such as the autoworkers, electrical workers, and steelworkers, blacks were trapped in unskilled jobs and seldom, if ever, were hired or promoted to well-paying skilled jobs.14

Systematic Housing Segregation

During the period of the Great Migration, northern whites, acting individually and collectively—and working through banks, real estate firms, and government—imposed a system of nearly complete segregation in the housing market. Racial segregation was not commonplace in the North before the Great Migration. In his pathbreaking study of Philadelphia (the northern city with the largest black population at the end of the 19th century), W. E. B. Du Bois found that blacks and whites lived in close proximity to each other. Later historians writing about Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and New York noted that African Americans tended to live in poor and working-class neighborhoods that were racially and ethnically heterogeneous.15

That pattern changed rapidly beginning in the 1920s. Nearly every new home built in white neighborhoods between 1920 and 1948 included racial restrictions in home titles, deeds, and rental agreements. Using the racial and ethnic classifications commonplace in the early 20th century, racially restrictive covenants forbade the occupancy or use of properties by groups other than “whites” or “Caucasians,” and prevented the sale or rental of homes to “Negroes” (sometimes called Africans or Ethiopians) as well as Jews and sometimes Asians. Many northern municipalities became “sundown towns,” posting signs forbidding the presence of African Americans after dark.16

Residential segregation took a more systematic form during the Great Depression. New government agencies (the Home Owners Loan Corporation, created in 1933; the Federal Housing Administration, in 1934, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in 1937; and the Veterans Administration, in 1944), promoted home ownership by guaranteeing affordable home loans and mortgages. As a result of the loosening of credit, rates of homeownership skyrocketed in the United States. But federally backed loans and mortgages were generally unavailable to African Americans. The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), collaborating with local bankers and real estate brokers, prepared maps that ranked neighborhoods to determine the eligibility of properties for federally guaranteed mortgages and home loans. The HOLC designated neighborhoods as “the best” (A or green), “still desirable” (B or blue), “definitely declining” (C or yellow), and “hazardous” (D or red). Any neighborhood with even a handful of African Americans, unless they were live-in domestic servants, received a D rating.17

With access to affordable home mortgages and loans, whites moved in growing numbers to racially homogeneous suburbs, where banks refused to extend mortgages to African Americans. The result was the confinement of African Americans to what some at the time called “ghettos,” including New York’s Harlem, Chicago’s Bronzeville, and Detroit’s Paradise Valley, or in small black suburbs, mostly places with long-established black communities and self-built housing. Because African Americans did not have access to conventional mortgages, they had to resort to various forms of predatory lending, most commonly contract buying, which had high interest rates and substantial monthly charges. The majority of blacks in northern cities were trapped in rental housing, often in deteriorating neighborhoods. By the middle of the 20th century, the nation’s most racially segregated metropolitan areas were all in the northeast and Midwest.18

Educational Segregation

Many northern states had laws dating to the 19th century that forbade racial separation in schools; however, some states, including New York, New Jersey, and Indiana, permitted racially segregated public schools well into the 20th century. But even states where school segregation was forbidden by law, such statutes were seldom honored. In communities with small black populations, school districts built “colored” or “Negro” schools that all African American students were required to attend, regardless of where they lived. A traveler driving across the North could stop in nearly every town with a black population and find a school named after Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, or prominent black intellectuals such as Phyllis Wheatley or Arthur Dunbar and know by the school’s name that it was segregated. If a town’s black student population was not large enough to justify a separate school, districts regularly confined black students to their own classrooms. Some districts even required African Americans students to play in separate playgrounds. In bigger cities, school attendance zones tended to correspond with racially segregated neighborhoods. When the African American population expanded, school districts usually redrew or gerrymandered school boundaries to ensure that schools remained racially heterogeneous. Most districts also refused to hire African American teachers, except to teach African American students. Black teachers were almost always paid less than their white counterparts.19

Violence and Policing

In many African American neighborhoods in the North, the only whites present wore blue uniforms. Northern police forces were usually all white or nearly all white through the early 1970s. Urban African Americans were deeply distrustful of the police and mostly for good reason. White police officers regularly targeted blacks who ventured into white neighborhoods. They regularly harassed, threatened, and beat black suspects and arrestees. When whites attacked the homes of the first African Americans to move into formerly all-white neighborhoods, the police usually turned a blind eye to window breaking, arson, and other vandalism. They seldom investigated racial incidents. And they usually refused to uphold laws that forbade racial discrimination in public places. Police regularly arrested African Americans who refused to give up their seats at white-only restaurants, even in states where such segregation was illegal. Instead, they often charged black protestors with disturbing the peace, trespassing, or resisting arrest. Even when the police were accused of negligence, harassment, or brutality, they were usually immune from discipline and seldom faced criminal charges. White judges and juries usually sympathized with the police and refused to convict uniformed officers of wrongdoing.20

Community Formation and Political Mobilization

The Great Migration witnessed an intense period of community formation in African American neighborhoods throughout the north. Black-run institutions, including churches, civic clubs, fraternities and sororities, social service organizations, trade unions, and cultural organizations thrived in densely packed African American districts. So-called race businesses provided goods and services that whites would not provide to blacks. Migrant communities gave rise to the thriving culture of the “New Negro,” particularly in Harlem and Chicago, where artists, poets, musicians, and authors used their work to celebrate black culture and challenge racial conventions. The concentration of population fostered a sense of community consciousness and became the basis for political organization and grassroots resistance to discrimination and segregation.21

As the northern African American population grew, the ranks of black elected officials swelled. Unlike in the South, where only a small percentage of blacks had the right to vote, northern blacks faced fewer obstacles to political participation. African Americans in northern cities used the power of the ballot box to gain patronage jobs and political recognition. In states where the electorate was closely divided between Democrats and Republicans, white politicians heeded the demands of their black constituents as a matter of political expediency. By the mid-1930s, however, urban blacks increasingly cast their political lot with the Democratic Party, largely because they benefited from New Deal social programs. Still, enough African American voters remained in the party of Lincoln through the 1960s to attract the attention of politicians of both parties. By mid-century, nearly all the largest northern cities, led by Chicago, had elected at least a few African Americans to office, including to school boards, city councils, state legislatures, and the US House of Representatives. They used their positions to pressure local, state, and federal governments to hire African Americans. The percentage of black public employees grew steadily in the decades following the New Deal, even if most of them worked in menial jobs, particularly janitorial and sanitation work. African Americans, especially in northern states with intense partisan competition, also pushed (often successfully) for the passage of local and state civil rights legislation, winning support from both parties.22

African Americans—still a small minority in most states—also pushed for social change through non-governmental organizations, most notably civil rights and racial advocacy organizations, many founded during the first wave of black migration northward. Some, like the United Negro Improvement Association, founded in 1919 and headquartered in Harlem, argued for black advancement through the creation of black-run businesses. Most northern cities also had vibrant chapters of the Booker T. Washington Business Association, a group that also promoted “race businesses.” During the Depression, the Young Negroes’ Co-Operative League, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and grassroots organizations in cities as diverse as Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Gary, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh established cooperative grocery stores and cooperative credit unions to meet the needs of black consumers ill-served by white- dominated retailers and banks.23

Black women created a particularly extensive web of organizations committed to advancing the race, most of them particularly active in the North. The National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (founded in 1896), the Young Women’s Christian Association, and various churchwomen’s organizations promoted a politics of respectability among African American migrant women. African American sororities had an outsized influence in working to provide charitable assistance to black women. The National Council of Negro Women, founded in 1935, began as an organization promoting self-help and racial respectability but also grew increasingly active in protests and lobbied for local, state, and federal legislation to expand civil rights.24

Also committed to racial uplift was the National Urban League, founded in 1910. The Urban League conducted research on racial inequality in northern cities and provided social services and job training to black migrants as a vehicle for racial advancement. By the 1930s, the Urban League also joined efforts to challenge discrimination in housing, education, and employment. Urban League officials met with white employers to persuade them to hire black workers. In addition, the Urban League also collaborated with other civil rights organizations to advocate civil rights legislation on the local, state, and national levels, with special attention to laws forbidding workplace discrimination.25

The most influential civil rights organization in the 20th century was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded in 1909. The largest secular African American–dominated mass membership organization in the country, the NAACP pushed for racial equality through anti-discrimination legislation, litigation, and grassroots protest. The NAACP energetically formed local branches in hundreds of cities and towns in the north. Grassroots NAACP activists supported national civil rights efforts, including anti-lynching legislation and the desegregation of the military, but also organized intensively on the local level against segregated housing, discrimination and unemployment, and separate and unequal public education. In the late 1930s, the NAACP took a leftward turn, in part prompted by the rise of the National Negro Congress (NNC), an umbrella organization that included socialists and Communists, churchwomen, and militant trade unionists. The NNC had large chapters in nearly every major northern city, but lost membership when it struggled with factional disputes between Communists and their critics, eventually collapsing during the Cold War. During the same period, the NAACP expanded its mission and grew rapidly. By the end of World War II, the NAACP had more than a half million members nationwide, with the largest share in the urban North. While the NAACP’s central office dedicated its energy toward litigation around housing segregation, military desegregation, voting rights, labor discrimination, and especially southern school desegregation, its local branches, particularly in the North, directed much of their energy to local problems—full employment and fair employment in cities with major industrial unions; racially separate schools in smaller cities and suburbs; and anti-discrimination statutes in major cities—with little interference from the national office. Local branches varied in their base of support and tactics (some chapters were proudly proletarian and protest oriented, others were resolutely middle class and committed to fundraising and quiet lobbying. In large metropolitan areas, branches were always interracial; in smaller communities, they were often mostly black. Some branches were dominated by secular leftists, others closely associated with labor unions and still others tied to moderate religious leaders or black social clubs.26

Challenging Northern Jim Crow

As early as the 1920s, civil rights activists began to resist Jim Crow in northern public accommodations but only sporadically. Efforts to desegregate public accommodations intensified during World War II, particularly because of wartime anti-fascist rhetoric. How could America be fighting for victory against racist regimes abroad while African Americans faced second-class status at home? In Cincinnati, for example, civil rights activists fought to open up downtown movie theaters to black customers by slowing ticket lines. In Detroit, black activists, many affiliated with the United Automobile Workers, protested against racial exclusion in downtown restaurants, bars, and bowling alleys. The most influential group to challenge segregation in public accommodations was the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), founded in Chicago in 1942. An interracial group, informed by Christian socialism and nonviolence, CORE held sit-ins at city restaurants that refused to serve African Americans. Sit-ins became one of the most successful tactics of the civil rights movement nationwide. CORE members engaged in wade-ins at swimming pools and similar protests at bowling alleys, roller rinks, and amusement parks throughout the North in the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s. Some of CORE’s earliest members, among them Bayard Rustin and James Farmer, would travel southward in the 1950s, spreading the gospel of nonviolent resistance that they had honed in the North. Their efforts shaped the strategies of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, including lunch counter sit-ins and the Freedom Rides.27

Another tactic pioneered by northern activists was the use of paired black and white “testers,” who visited restaurants and hotels demanding service. If whites were served and blacks were not, activists filed discrimination complaints and publicized their efforts in the African American press. Slowly, these efforts succeeded in breaking down the barriers of segregation in the North and, at the same time, provided models for efforts to resist Jim Crow in commercial establishments south of the Mason-Dixon line. By the early 1960s, most northern restaurants and hotels served black customers, even if civil rights organizations fielded complaints about racial harassment, especially in dining establishments for decades more. But civil rights activists won pyrrhic victories against segregation in public pools, beaches, and amusement parks. Many cities closed pools rather than allowing blacks and whites to swim together. The 1960s witnessed a wave of urban amusement park closings as whites refused to send their children to integrated parks. In densely populated parts of the country, like the New Jersey shore and coastal Connecticut, municipalities restricted the use of beaches to local residents or required expensive beach passes—ostensibly color-blind measures designed to keep racial minorities out.28

Opening the Workplace

Civil rights activists targeted workplaces, particularly during the Great Depression and World War II. One of the major grievances was the lack of jobs for African Americans in neighborhood stores. Some activists, particularly those associated with fledgling black nationalist organizations including the United Negro Improvement Association founded “race” businesses that hired black workers to sell to black customers. Many northern cities had chapters of the Booker T. Washington Business Association, a group founded to promote black business ownership. During the 1930s, black activists launched cooperatives in several cities. The most influential efforts in the 1930s involved “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” campaigns, which boycotted white-owned businesses with no black employees.29

As African Americans migrated to northern cities in search of industrial employment, civil rights activists turned their attention to undermining workplace discrimination and in expanding job opportunities. Activist women, including Ella Baker and Anna Arnold Hedgeman, investigated and reported on the abysmal conditions of black women laundry workers and domestics who gathered in New York’s infamous “slave market.” The National Negro Congress teamed with labor organizers to promote the unionization of African American workers, particularly in the industrial North. The NAACP collaborated closely with the United Automobile Workers in the 1930s and early 1940s to organize at Ford and other auto and defense plants and fight workplace discrimination. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the left-led National Negro Labor Council challenged workplace discrimination and led opposition to corporations that shut down plants in northern cities and moved production to suburbs, rural areas, and especially to the South, where workplace Jim Crow was nearly universal.30

As the United States mobilized industries for military production in 1940 and 1941, A. Philip Randolph launched the March on Washington Movement (MOWM), using the threat of a mass demonstration in the nation’s capital to pressure President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to open employment in defense industries to black workers. In June 1941, in part to prevent the march, the president issued Executive Order 8802, which created Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) to investigate and prevent discrimination.31 Supporters of the MOWM regrouped near the end of World War II to demand the creation of a permanent federal FEPC. At the state and local level, civil rights organizations, led by the NAACP, pushed for laws to forbid workplace discrimination. In California, one of the few states in the mid-20th century with a large multiracial population, labor and civil rights organizers attempted to build a coalition of African American, Mexican, and Asian workers, with mixed success, to challenge workplace discrimination and to expand employment opportunities. By 1964, twenty-four states, all of them in the North and West, had passed laws prohibiting workplace discrimination by race. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbade discrimination on the basis of race, as well as sex, national origin, and age, drew its language and legal frameworks from state laws.32

The passage of anti-discrimination laws did not, however, automatically break down workplace discrimination. Many state laws were relatively toothless. Rather than penalizing employers for the systematic exclusion of blacks, they required efforts to educate employers or put into place mediation programs to resolve discrimination cases on an individual basis. Likewise Title VII of the Civil Rights Act required expensive litigation. By the early 1960s, civil rights activists pushed for more aggressive efforts to open workplaces to African Americans. Increasingly, they turned their attention to the skilled trades, public employment, and the health-care sectors. During the mid- and late 1960s, protesters in Philadelphia, New York, Newark, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco mounted dramatic protests against discrimination in the building trades. In Philadelphia in 1963, protesters engaged in sit-ins at the mayor’s office and picketed federally funded construction sites. That year and the next, in Queens, New York, black activists gathered outside a massive housing complex and a hospital, both under construction, and on one occasion chained themselves to a massive crane. In St. Louis, in 1965, demonstrators chained themselves atop the partially built Gateway Arch. All of them demanded more aggressive efforts to open lucrative construction jobs to blacks. In 1969, the Nixon administration, under pressure, required that all federal government contractors engage in affirmative action, setting aside jobs for minority workers.33

Under pressure from civil rights activists and litigators, local and state governments also instituted their own affirmative action programs, as did many colleges and universities. Anti-discrimination activists also targeted hospitals, usually located in or near urban African American neighborhoods, which provided a wide range of jobs, including janitorial and food service work, nursing, and surgery. In the aftermath of the urban uprisings of the 1960s, black protestors also targeted white-dominated police and fire departments, demanding jobs and usually facing fierce resistance. Although affirmative action was unpopular among whites, such policies led to dramatic increases in the number of black public employees, government-contracted workers, and students in selective colleges and universities. For the first time, big city police forces and fire departments opened their ranks to African American officers in significant numbers. Private employers, even those not bound by affirmative action requirements, also opened jobs to African Americans, especially women. Through the late 1950s, it was uncommon to see black women working in sales positions, or as secretaries, nurses, social workers, or clerks, except in black-owned firms. By the end of the 20th century, black women were well-represented in retail, clerical, health care, and social service professions.34

Fair Housing

Civil rights activists in the North fought housing segregation, particularly during the World War II era, when segregation created a housing shortage: confining African Americans, especially wartime workers, to overcrowded and expensive housing. Lawyers, often working closely with local branches of the NAACP, filed suits challenging the legality of racially restrictive covenants in St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit, among others. In California, where blacks, Mexican Americans, and Asian Americans experienced various degrees of discrimination in housing, civil rights activists and litigators attempted with mixed success to build interracial alliances to resist racial covenants and segregation. In a landmark 1948 case, Shelley v, Kraemer, the US Supreme Court ruled that racially restrictive covenants were legally unenforceable. Civil rights activists also charged private real estate developers with racial discrimination, including Metropolitan Life, which built large apartment complexes in New York, and builder Arthur Levitt, whose firm developed Levittowns in suburban New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and elsewhere. Private racial discrimination proved more resistant to change. State and federal courts regularly ruled that the government could not interfere in private real estate transactions.35

Civil rights activists took two other tacks in the battle against housing segregation. In the 1940s, a coalition of religious groups and civil rights organizations launched fair or open housing campaigns, attempting to change the hearts and minds of white Americans about the desirability of black neighbors. Through films, pamphlets, and sermons, they made a case that housing discrimination was both immoral and economically irrational. At the same time, fair housing organizations lobbied local and state governments to enact laws that forbade racial discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. These campaigns bore fruit. By 1967, twenty-four states had enacted fair housing laws. Those laws become a model for the 1968 Fair Housing Act, passed by Congress in the aftermath of urban riots and the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.36

Achieving the goal of fair housing proved to be difficult, however, even after the passage of anti-discrimination laws. Those laws were difficult and costly to enforce. Real estate brokers and lenders found all sorts of ways to avoid selling and renting homes to African Americans, including steering black homebuyers away from white neighborhoods and vice versa. Lenders continued to redline African American neighborhoods, leaving black homebuyers to the whims of the subprime and non-conventional lending market, with high interest rates, punitive fees, and a high risk of foreclosure. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development faced protests and budget cuts, particularly during the 1970s and 1980s, after it attempted to subsidize public housing in suburbia. Many suburban communities enacted zoning laws or used ostensibly color-blind tools such as environmental impact laws to exclude affordable housing. And whites continued to vote with their feet, despite a liberalization of attitudes toward racial integration, picking up and leaving neighborhoods that attracted even a small percentage of African Americans. The result was that racial segregation lessened very slowly, especially in the northern metropolitan areas with large African American populations. In 2010, twenty-one of the nation’s twenty-five most-segregated metropolitan areas were in the Northeast and Midwest.37

Desegregating Public Education

The challenge to separate and unequal education also proceeded by fits and starts in the North. Throughout the 20th century, especially during World War II and the ensuing decade, grassroots activists in racially mixed suburbs and small towns in the North fought to abolish separate schools. Black mothers led school boycotts in dozens of towns, particularly in New York and New Jersey. The NAACP also went to state and federal court in support of parents in places as diverse as Hillburn, Hempstead, and New Rochelle, New York; Cairo, Illinois; and Trenton and Englewood, New Jersey. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, activists increasingly turned their attention to big city school districts, leading massive student walkouts against overcrowded, underfunded, segregated schools in New York, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, and other cities throughout the first half of the 1960s.38

Civil rights attorneys, particularly the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, turned to federal courts in the 1960s and first half of the 1970s, backing parents and students who demanded quality, racially balanced schools for their children. Many early federal cases required intradistrict integration in districts that had a record of drawing school boundaries to maintain segregation, including New Rochelle, Pontiac, Michigan, and Denver, Colorado. Intradistrict plans could not, however, adequately deal with the fact that white families mostly avoided racial integration by moving outside of central city districts to majority or all-white suburban schools. As long as northern school district boundaries overlapped with segregated metropolitan housing patterns, it was impossible to create racial balance in public education. But metropolitan-wide desegregation ultimately fell with the Supreme Court’s Milliken v. Bradley (1974) decision, which struck down a plan to bus children between the majority-black Detroit Public Schools and districts in dozens of surrounding all-white suburbs. The most prominent post-Milliken case involved Boston, where a federal court ordered intradistrict busing in lieu of a metropolitan-wide mandatory desegregation plan. Whites in Boston fiercely resisted school integration. Some majority-white suburban districts accepted African American students through a token, voluntary desegregation program; however, the pattern of racial imbalance across the metropolitan area was unchanged. As in Boston, big city school districts throughout the North, left to solve the problem of racial inequality in public education themselves without the option of regional solutions, experienced re-segregation, as whites continued to flee, leaving behind majority-minority public schools.39

While most African Americans supported racial integration, they put quality education at the top of their list. When big city districts did not integrate, they looked for alternatives. By the end of the 1960s, some activists, influenced by black power, called for community-controlled schools and, in some cities, pushed for Afrocentric education. Others pushed cities to create special interest or magnet schools that would attract the most talented African American and white students. Some black activists embraced the idea of vouchers to send their children to private schools and school choice programs that would allow them to transfer to majority-white suburban schools. And by the 1990s, a wide interracial coalition of business and religious elites, foundations, and educational reformers advocated for the creation of charter schools, run by non-profits or businesses. From the late 1970s onward, black educational gains stagnated in most big city districts. And the emergence of large minority-dominated districts sapped political will in white-dominated state legislatures and in the US Congress for expanding funding for public education.40

Race, Policing, and the Carceral State

Racial disparities in policing and incarceration remained pressing and unresolved issues in the North. Throughout the 20th century (and beyond) civil rights organizations regularly fielded complaints from their constituents about police harassment and brutality. During the 1940s, left-leaning organizations, including the National Negro Congress and the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), publicized incidents of police brutality in both the North and the South. In its 1951 manifesto sent to the United Nations, “We Charge Genocide,” the CRC charged that “the wanton killing of Negroes…is no longer a sectional phenomenon.” Charges of police harassment mostly languished in the courts and were usually ignored by police departments. Police communisty relations worsened in the next few decades. Spurred by fears of juvenile delinquency and sensational accounts of gang violence in the 1950s, northern police departments stepped up activity, particularly on the borders of racially changing neighborhoods. Those efforts led to a full-blown crackdown on crime by the early 1960s. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, protests against police brutality intensified, often sparked by media coverage of the police beating and arresting civil rights protestors.

The fact that the vast majority of northern police were white greatly exacerbated tensions. Black newspapers regularly reported on police beatings, unwarranted arrests, and investigations and harassment of civil rights protestors. By 1963, in a period of intensifying civil rights protest and growing militancy nationwide, police departments began accumulating riot gear, preparing for what many saw as an impending race war. Those fears came to fruition in a series of long, hot summers. In 1964, African Americans angry about police violence took to the streets in Harlem, Rochester, and Philadelphia, looting stores and clashing with law enforcement officials. In 1965, the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles exploded in the wake of rumors that police killed an unarmed black woman. In 1967, blacks rose up in 163 cities and towns, as small as Nyack, New York, and Plainfield, New Jersey, and as big as Detroit and Newark.

Black Power

Many observers noted the coincidence of urban uprisings and the growing visibility of a movement demanding black power. The term “black power,” popularized by Harlem-raised activist Stokely Carmichael in the fall of 1966, was less accurate as the description of a singular movement than as a name for a diverse impulse that had coursed through the black freedom struggle in the North at least since the Great Migration. Calls for black self-determination and self-defense waxed and waned in the period from the 1920s through the 1960s, but never fully disappeared. Groups like the Nation of Islam steadily expanded in the period following World War II, mostly without gaining media attention; the UNIA diminished in size but still had active chapters throughout the North; and black support for self-defense and racially separate institutions persisted. In the 1940s and 1950s, black activists in the United States drew inspiration from anticolonial struggles in Africa and Asia and increasingly adopted the language of self-determination. By the late 1950s, many black journalists and intellectuals increasingly argued that the plight of African Americans was like that of Africans yearning to free themselves from the yoke of colonization.41

In the early 1960s, newly formed black organizations, including the Deacons for Defense and the Revolutionary Action Movement argued that African Americans should take up arms against white oppression. Malcolm X and Robert F. Williams gained large followings in northern cities for their rejection of nonviolence. Calls for black power, self-defense, and separatism took fuel from the failures of civil rights in education, housing, and the workplace during the postwar years. And they drew inspiration from struggles against imperialism in Africa and the Caribbean. For most black power activists, the struggle for freedom in the United States was tied to resistance against apartheid in South Africa; independence movements in Algeria, Ghana, and the Congo; and revolutions in places as diverse as Cuba, Vietnam, and China.42

A growing cadre of black militants called for the celebration of African culture, the creation or reinvigoration of separate black institutions, and the unleashing of black economic power through black-owned businesses. One of the most enduring currents of black power celebrated African and African American cultures through art, music, clothing, and poetry. The Black Arts movement, which thrived in New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles, turned the visual arts, song, and verse into tools to create and reinforce a distinctive black communal ethos. Black power advocates adapted African dress (such as the dashiki), celebrated natural hairstyles, and created new celebrations and rituals (most notably the holiday of Kwanzaa) to create common identities.43 Many of these efforts had analogues in the self-help, artistic, nationalist, and cooperative movements of the Great Migration era.

But black power was also shaped by distinctive features of postwar American culture. Many black militants called for the reassertion of a strong black masculinity, one that reinforced traditional notions of patriarchy. Some embraced the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, forming gun clubs and openly brandishing weapons on the streets. Others argued that white supremacy had psychologically damaged African Americans, drawing from postwar pop psychology. They argued that an emphasis on black pride and school curricula that valorized black heroes and black culture would bolster self-esteem and that African-influenced education would empower students who were marginalized by white teachers who used textbooks that denigrated people of African descent or ignored them altogether.44

Black power organizations were mostly small in membership and varied widely in their emphases. One observer hailed the rise of “cement-roots” organizations that promoted black advancement through community-run economic development and job training programs. The Black Panthers embraced Maoist ideas and also created community health and food distribution programs. The Revolutionary Union Movement pushed for black control on the shop floors of the auto industry. The Revolutionary Action Movement armed its small but ardent group of supporters for an upcoming race war. The Republic of New Afrika called for the United States to set aside land for an independent black nation. Nearly all of these organizations, for all of their different visions and strategies, faced intense repression by law enforcement officials, who infiltrated black radical organizations and introduced agents provocateurs who fueled inter-group rivalries and hatched violent schemes. Local police forces frequently raided black radical groups’ offices and storefronts, regularly arrested and sometimes assassinated radical leaders, and charged them (often falsely) with petty and major crimes, including disorderly conduct, murder, and sedition. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s COINTELPRO program infiltrated many black militant organizations, using agents to stir up factional rivalries and frame activists for conspiracies.45

Law and Order and Its Discontents

The combination of protest and rebellion led to urgent demands for a harsh new law-and-order politics. President Lyndon Johnson announced an ambitious “war on crime” and dramatically increased federal funding to police departments, which had long been supported by local tax revenue. Police departments purchased expensive military equipment and hired experienced military officials who were previously part of international counterinsurgency programs during the Cold War to provide training. The clamor for law and order became a central issue in local and national politics, leading big city majors to give license to harsh policing tactics and, increasingly, to state legislatures to pass laws that tightened sentencing. Alarmed by fears of a drug-infused counterculture that supposedly emanated from urban black culture, politicians launched a war on narcotics that led to stiffening sentences for the possession and sale of drugs. States also began expanding prison systems to accommodate those swept up in the anti-crime campaign—disproportionately African American men. The prison population expanded dramatically between the 1970s and the end of the first decade of the 21st century.46

In the 1970s, civil rights and black power activists turned their anger toward the prison system. Radical groups publicized the police and FBI infiltration of their organizations, and organized campaigns around the arrests or death of black activists. Mass prison uprisings in the 1970s, the most infamous at Attica in upstate New York, grew from prisoners’ discontent at miserable conditions and everyday brutality behind bars. But prisoners’ rights efforts were small in scale compared to what activists called the rise of the prison-industrial complex, a grim reality worsened by the long-term detention of arrestees and the emergence of long mandatory sentences for many crimes.47

The persistence of police brutality in the early 21st century, well documented by social media and on online news sources, fueled a new wave of outrage and grassroots organizing. In the early 2000s, activists complained of black motorists pulled over and harassed for “driving while black,” leading to investigations of racial profiling. But nothing was more galvanizing than a wave of well-publicized police killings in Ferguson, Missouri, Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Minneapolis, and elsewhere. Beginning in 2014, protestors took to the streets in mass demonstrations on a larger scale than anything since the 1960s. Activists took to Twitter, using the hashtag Black Lives Matter, and sparking a new national movement working—as had past northern protests—through protest, litigation, and legislation, to resist ongoing racial injustice.48

Discussion of the Literature

Until recently, the history of civil rights in the South overshadowed the history of the African American freedom struggle in the North.49 The North usually appeared as a tragic coda to the southern freedom struggle, usually in accounts of “the movement moving North” through protests led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago (1966) and accounts of racial conflicts that generated mass media attention, including the rise of the Black Panthers, debates about black power and community control in public education, and battles over school busing.50 Journalists and historians paid disproportionate attention to the supposed backlash of northern working-class whites against black power and liberalism in the 1960s and 1970s, with special attention to just a few places, namely Brooklyn, where black power advocates and urban Jews clashed over public education and affirmative action, and Boston, where blue-collar Irish and Italian Americans fiercely resisted racially integrated schools. Other accounts argued that well-meaning whites were alienated by black radicalism, urban riots, and skyrocketing rates of violent crime in northern cities. With few exceptions, influential accounts of race and politics in the North paid little heed to the deep roots of northern white opposition to racial equality, the long history of official and market-based segregation and discrimination in the North, or to the strategies, motivations, and ideology of black activists who fought for equality and rights.51

Conventional narratives of the civil rights movement rest also on a binary distinction between the South and North. They emphasize exceptional nature of southern racism, rooted in slavery, secession, racial terrorism, and systemic Jim Crow. Racism in the South, the conventional argument goes, was de jurethat is, legally mandated. Segregation in the North, by contrast, was de facto, the result of individual actions and prejudices or of ostensibly race-neutral market processes supposedly individualized and subtle. Histories of the freedom struggle in the South focused largely on non-violent struggles against violent, virulent white racism. Scholars downplayed the long history of black militancy and self-defense in the region, largely treating black militancy and black power as northern phenomena.52

Since the early 2000s, however, a slew of local and regional case studies of the black politics and activism outside the South and a handful of synthetic accounts, have reoriented our understandings of the black freedom struggle.53 The most influential books and articles built on decades of work on urban and suburban history, on African American community life, and more generally on social and cultural, labor, and gender history, as well as on innovative work on grassroots politics. African American historiography laid the groundwork. In the aftermath of the urban uprisings of the 1960s, urbanists focused on the rise of segregated black ghettos through detailed case studies of Harlem, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit.54 Beginning in the 1980s, many African American historians challenged the paradigm of ghettoization, instead emphasizing community formation, with special attention to the role of black churches, fraternal organizations, and businesses in creating a common racial consciousness.55 In the 1990s and 2000s, urban and political historians turned their attention to the racialization of public space, housing, and labor in the period following the New Deal, in what one historian called “the spatial turn” in American political history. These histories, for all of their strengths, usually gave only scant attention to institutional and grassroots efforts to battle against northern racial inequality.56

By the early 2000s, Jacqueline Dowd Hall made a strong case for revisionist histories of “the long civil rights movement,” pushing the movement’s chronology backward in time and rejecting “the myth of southern exceptionalism,” thus expanding its geography northward and westward.57 Rather than focusing on the “classic period” of civil rights history in the South from the Montgomery Bus Boycott through the assassination of Rev. King, long civil rights historians researched black-led grassroots social movements in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Newark, New York City, Oakland, Seattle, and St. Louis. Other historians wrote case studies of the black freedom struggle in smaller places such as Grand Rapids, Michigan; coastal Connecticut; and Wichita, Kansas. Many of these books emphasized radical politics and challenged conventional distinctions between civil rights and black power.58

A significant subset of newer northern civil rights histories focused on the origins of northern black activism during the Great Migration, turning their attention to groups that were underrepresented in earlier civil rights historiography, including black women activists and the politics of respectability and black girls and activism, and grassroots black internationalism.59 An explosion of work on black radicalism, nationalism, and militancy, focusing on activism from the interwar years through the 1960s uncovered a history of demands for black self-determination, anti-colonialism, self-defense, and community control that long predated black power.60 Historians of black leftism have offered fresh perspectives on the relationship of socialists and leftists to civil rights politics, including a spectrum of organizations ranging from the National Negro Congress, the Socialist Workers, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and the Communist Party. They have engaged in a robust debate about the Communism and anti-Communism and whether or not the Cold War opened possibilities for civil rights activists or channeled civil rights demands away from a critique of capitalism and toward notions of individual rights.61

Scholars of civil rights in the North have also opened up new perspectives on civil rights litigation and legislation. For decades following the civil rights revolution, legal historians focused on key Supreme Court decisions and offered top-down histories of the NAACP’s litigation strategies, usually through biographies of nationally known attorneys and close analyses of legal arguments, briefs, and opinions. Many influential legal scholars treated the NAACP’s litigation strategy as tailored toward the black elite and narrowly focused on integration. Recently, however, a handful of scholars have turned their attention to local and state courts and to lesser-known attorneys, in the process shedding new light on the rich, variegated, and often contradictory history of civil rights lawyering. The history of civil rights law from below, still underdeveloped, has uncovered local cases dealing with restrictive covenants, criminal law, and educational segregation and neighborhood schooling that were often at odds with or irrelevant to the NAACP’s southern-oriented litigation strategy. Recent books on anti-discrimination laws and their enforcement have also fruitfully explored intergroup conflict and collaboration, particularly around affirmative action.62

Recent years have seen an outpouring of scholarship on black power organizations, dominated by work on the Black Panther Party (BPP). The best of the new work on the BPP moves beyond polarized debates about the efficacy of its strategies of self-defense and its leaders’ fiery rhetoric to rich accounts of its health and free breakfast programs, its relationship to a long history of black anticolonialism, its gender politics, and the political and strategic diversity of its many local chapters. Other black power groups, many of which received less media attention than the Panthers and, as a result less have received far less scholarly attention, including CORE (after its shift to black nationalism), Maulana Karenga’s US, the Revolutionary Action Movement, various Revolutionary Union Movements, the Young Lords, and the Republic of New Afrika.63 Revisionists have shed fresh light on black power’s gender politics, business and black power, black power and urban electoral politics, and the relationship of black power to conservatism.64 Biographies of activists who spent much of their lives in the North have greatly enriched our understanding of the connections between civil rights and black power movements, among them Grace Lee Boggs and James Boggs, Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X.65

Several pathbreaking works turned attention to what historian Lisa Levenstein has called “a movement without marches” largely led by black women, to improve public housing, challenge punitive welfare laws, and champion the rights of poor people. Recent books and articles have moved the history of the welfare rights and anti-poverty movements from the margins to the center of the field.66 A topic that long received scant attention by urban, political, and African American historians—racially disparate policing and incarceration—has sparked the rise of a new and rich subfield of books and articles about law and order politics, police brutality, the disparate racial impact of the war on drugs, and prison unrest and prisoner rights movements.67

A growing body of work has focused on connections between religion and the black freedom struggle. African American religious history is a booming subfield, incorporating work on black nationalist sects, including the early Nation of Islam, black churchwomen, and black liberation theology.68 Several studies devoted attention to Roman Catholics who fought against the racial integration of their parishes and neighborhoods, and a small but vocal group of Catholics who supported civil rights.69 Histories of black-Jewish relations have largely moved beyond the bitter debates about black power and allegations of anti-Semitism dating to the late 1960s to explore the complicated relationship between Jewish institutions and leaders who were often staunchly pro-civil rights and Jewish business leaders and ordinary urban Jews, who were frequently indifferent or hostile to racial integration.70 The role of liberal white Protestants as allies of the civil rights movement has also attracted new attention.71

The scholarship on the black freedom struggle in the North—for all of the sweeping syntheses and detailed local case studies that have been published in recent years—remains incomplete. There are potentially hundreds of local studies to be written because nearly every city and town in the United States has its own, largely untold, civil rights and black power histories, with abundant materials in local archives, in the news media, in the records of national civil rights organizations with local chapters, and in still-to-be conducted oral histories of grassroots activists. Few historians have ventured deeply into the history of civil rights struggles after the 1970s (often misleadingly described as the “post-civil rights” era). Some recent historians have begun considering the legacy of the northern freedom struggle on early 21st-century politics, especially the election of Barack Obama and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. As long as racial inequality persists, as long as the struggle for justice continues, the history of the northern freedom struggle will remain urgent.72

Primary Sources

Any study of civil rights in the North must rely on the papers of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations, which had national offices and local and state affiliates that challenged racial discrimination and segregation in the courts, lobbied city halls and the federal and state governments, and mobilized grassroots activists to fundraise and protest racial inequalities. The largest mass membership civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People, has archives available in the Library of Congress and on microfilm. Most NAACP branches sent material to the national office, making the national records an indispensable source for state and local research. The National Urban League records, also on deposit at the Library of Congress, document the organization’s investigations of discrimination and contain abundant material on topics as diverse as social services, employment discrimination, and federal and state civil rights legislation. The short-lived but influential National Negro Congress and Civil Rights Congress have papers on deposit at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and on microfilm. One of the largest repositories of civil rights records in the United States, the Schomburg Center includes the papers of many local activists and organizations in New York, as well as national organizations. The Schomburg’s extraordinary vertical files, which include ephemeral pamphlets, posters, brochures, and publications are available at the library and on microfiche.The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site holds the National Archives for Black Women’s History, a collection that includes the records of The National Council of Negro Women and its affiliates. The Congress of Racial Equality papers, at the Wisconsin Historical Society, also digitized and on microfilm, span the period from World War II through the late 1960s, offering insight into grassroots protests and civil disobedience in many northern cities and on college campuses. They also illustrate the connections between the struggles for racial equality on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. More and more archival collections are now digitized and available online, including the African American Studies collection of Gale’s Archives Unbound, which includes the records of many key civil rights organizations, individual activists, and Federal Bureau of Investigation dossiers on black radical groups.

The history of racial discrimination in the North may be documented in a number of important archives. For the federal role in housing segregation, the collections of the Federal Home Finance Board are held by the National Archives in Suitland, Maryland. Redlining maps, prepared by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, are available online at Mapping Inequality. The United States Civil Rights Commission published reports documenting segregation and discrimination in public education, housing, and policing. Its publications are available in government documents collections at major research libraries nationwide. The research papers of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, also known as the Kerner Commission, are available in full at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, Texas, and have been digitized by University Publications of America.

No history of the African American freedom struggle can be written without use of black newspapers and periodicals, many of which are fully digitized. Most African American newspapers circulated widely, well outside their cities of publication, and as a result often covered protests and organizations throughout the North. Of particular value because of the breadth of their readership are the Baltimore Afro-American, Chicago Defender, Michigan Chronicle, New York Amsterdam News, Philadelphia Tribune, and Pittsburgh Courier. Many incidents of racial discrimination and protests against them were never reported by white-owned newspapers, making the black press particularly important. In addition, researchers will find valuable material in The Crisis, the NAACP’s monthly magazine, Liberator Magazine (1960–1971), and in scholarly periodicals, including the Journal of Negro Education and Phylon. These publications are widely available in research libraries.

Further Reading

  • Biondi, Martha. To Stand and Fight: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.
  • Countryman, Matthew. Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.
  • Delmont, Matthew F. Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Segregation. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2016.
  • Douglas, Davison M. Jim Crow Moves North: The Battle Over Northern School Segregation, 1865–1954. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Farmer, Ashley D. Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.
  • Joseph, Peniel. Waiting ‘til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power. New York, NY: Henry Holt, 2006.
  • Meier, August, and Elliott Rudwick. Along the Color Line: Explorations in the Black Experience. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976.
  • Nadesen, Premilla. Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States. New York, NY: Routledge, 2005.
  • Sokol, Jason. All Eyes are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2014.
  • Speltz, Mark. North of Dixie: Civil Rights Photography Beyond the South. Los Angeles, CA: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015.
  • Sugrue, Thomas J. Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North. New York, NY: Random House, 2008.
  • Taylor, Keeanga-Yahmatta. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2016.
  • Theoharis, Jeanne F., and Komozi Woodard, eds. Freedom North: Black Freedom Struggles Outside the South, 1940–1980. New York: Palgrave, 2003.
  • Williams, Rhonda Y. Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century. New York, NY: Routledge, 2015.


  • 1. Leon F. Litwack, North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 1790–1860 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961); Leslie Harris and Ira Berlin, eds., Slavery in New York (New York, NY: New Press, 2005); Sven Beckert, The Empire of Cotton (New York, NY: Knopf, 2014); and Tiya Miles, The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits (New York, NY: New Press, 2017).

  • 2. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. 1 [1835], trans. Arthur Goldhammer, ed. Olivier Zunz (New York, NY: Library of America, 2004), 396.

  • 3. James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton, In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1600–1860 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997); Gary B. Nash and Jean R. Soderlund, Freedom by Degrees: Emancipation in Pennsylvania and Its Aftermath (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1991); Litwack, North of Slavery; and Pauli Murray, ed., States’ Laws on Race and Color [1951], reprint (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997).

  • 4. James N. Gregory, Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Changed America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); James R. Grossman, Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1989); Joe W. Trotter Jr., ed., The Great Migration in Historical Perspective (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991); and Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (New York, NY: Random House, 2010).

  • 5. Roberta Senechal, The Sociogenesis of a Race Riot: Springfield Illinois in 1908 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990); William Tuttle, Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (New York, NY: Athenaeum, 1970); August Meier and Elliott Rudwick, Along the Color Line: Explorations in the Black Experience (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976); David Allan Levine, Internal Combustion: The Races in Detroit, 1915–1926 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1976); Domenic J. Capeci Jr., The Harlem Riot of 1943 (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1977); and Elliott Rudwick, Race Riot at East Saint Louis, July 2, 1917 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982).

  • 6. Kenneth T. Jackson, The Ku Klux Klan in the City (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1968); Leonard J. Moore, Citizen Klansmen: The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921–1928 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991). Linda Gordon, The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition (New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2017); and Kevin M. Boyle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age (New York, NY: Henry Holt, 2005).

  • 7. Victoria Wolcott. Race, Riots, and Roller Coasters: The Struggle over Segregated Recreation in America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012); for a general overview of patterns of Jim Crow in the North, see Sugrue, Sweet Land, chap. 5.

  • 8. Nina Mjagkij, Light in the Darkness: African Americans and the YMCA, 1852–1946 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2003); Nina Mjagkij and Margaret Pratt, eds. Men and Women Adrift: The YMCA and YWCA in the City (New York: New York University Press, 1997), see especially chapters 4 and 6–9; and Judith Weisenfeld, African American Women and Christian Activism: New York’s Black YWCA, 1905–45 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997).

  • 9. Jeff Wiltse, Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007); Wolcott, Race, Riots, and Roller Coasters; and Bryant Simon, Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004).

  • 10. Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty, chap. 3.

  • 11. Robert H. Zieger, For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America since 1865 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010); Jacqueline Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from the Civil War to the Present (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1985); and Eric Arnesen, ed., The Black Worker: Race. Labor, and Civil Rights Since Emancipation (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007), chapters 5, 8, 9, 11. The best overview of labor patterns for African American workers remains Robert C. Weaver, Negro Labor: A National Problem (New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, 1946).

  • 12. David R. Roediger and Elizabeth D. Esch, The Production of Difference: Race and the Management of Labor in U.S. History (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012); Michael Reich, Racial Inequality: A Political-Economic Analysis (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981); David M. Gordon, Richard Edwards, and Michael Reich, Segmented Work, Divided Workers: The Historical Transformation of Labor in the United States (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1982); Herbert Northrup, et al., Negro Employment in Basic Industry: A Study of Racial Policies in Six Industries (Philadelphia: Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1970); Beth Tompkins Bates, The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013); and Thomas J. Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014).

  • 13. Beth Tompkins Bates, Pullman Porters and the Rise of Protest Politics in Black America, 1925–1945 (Chapel Hill, 2001); Eric Arnesen, Brotherhoods of Color: Black Railroad Workers and the Struggle for Equality (Cambridge, MA, 2001), 84–115; and Melinda Chateauvert, Marching Together: Women of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998).

  • 14. Robert H. Zieger, The CIO, 1935–1955 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006); Robert Korstad and Nelson Lichtenstein, “Opportunities Found and Lost: Labor Radicals and the Early Civil Rights Movement,” Journal of American History 75 (1988): 786–811; Michael Goldfield, Race and the CIO: The Possibilities for Racial. Egalitarianism During the 1930s and 1940s (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993). On the CIO, labor, and race generally, see Eric Shickler, Racial Realignment: The Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932–1965 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016); and Reuel Schiller, Forging Rivals: Race, Class, Law, and the Collapse of Postwar Liberalism (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

  • 15. W. E. B. Du Bois, The Philadelphia Negro (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1899); and David M. Katzman, Before the Ghetto: Black Detroit in the Nineteenth Century (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974).

  • 16. Robert M. Fogelson, Bourgeois Nightmares: Suburbia, 1870–1930 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005); and James Loewen, Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism (New York, NY: New Press, 2005).

  • 17. Louis Lee Woods II, “The Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Redlining, and the National Proliferation of Racial Lending Discrimination, 1921–1950,” Journal of Urban History 38 (2012), 1036–1059; Kenneth T. Jackson, “Race, Ethnicity, and Real Estate Appraisal: The Home Owners' Loan Corporation and the Federal Housing Administration,” Journal of Urban History 6 (1980), 419–452; and Robert K. Nelson, et al., “Mapping Inequality”, in American Panorama, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers (Richmond: University of Richmond Digital Processing Lab, 2016). This site includes digitized HOLC appraisal maps for dozens of cities.

  • 18. Arnold R. Hirsch, “With or Without Jim Crow: Black Residential Segregation in the United States,” in Urban Policy in Twentieth-Century America, ed. Arnold R. Hirsch and Raymond A. Mohl (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993), 65–99; Stephen Grant Meyer, As Long As They Don’t Move Next Door: Segregation and Racial Conflict in American Neighborhoods (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000); Andrew Wiese, Places of Their Own: African American Suburbanization in the Twentieth Century (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2004); Beryl Satter, Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America (New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, 2009); Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton, American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Urban Underclass (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993). Key case studies of ghetto formation include Gilbert Osofsky, Harlem: The Making of a Ghetto, 1890–1930 (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1966); Gilbert Osofsky, “The Enduring Ghetto,” Journal of American History 55 (1968): 243–255; Kenneth T. Kusmer, A Ghetto Takes Shape: Black Cleveland, 1870–1930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976); Thomas L. Philpott, The Slum and the Ghetto: Neighborhood Deterioration and Reform, Chicago, 1880–1930 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1978); Allan H. Spear, Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1967); and Kenneth L. Kusmer, “The Black Urban Experience in American History,” in The State of Afro-American History: Past, Present, and Future, ed. Darlene Clark Hine (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986), 91–122. For a long view of history, see Mitchell Duneier, Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016).

  • 19. Davison M. Douglas, Jim Crow Moves North: The Battle over Northern School Segregation, 1865–1954 (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty, chapters 6 and 13; Matthew D. Lassiter, “De Jure/De Facto Segregation: The Long Shadow of a National Myth,” in The Myth of Southern Exceptionalism, ed. Lassiter and Joseph Crespino (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009), 25–48; for case studies, see Emily E. Straus, Death of a Suburban Dream: Race and Schools in Compton, California (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014); Jack Dougherty, More than One Struggle: The Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004); Vincent P. Franklin, The Education of Black Philadelphia: The Social and Educational History of a Minority Community, 1900–1950 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979); Michael W. Homel, Down From Equality: Black Chicagoans and the Public Schools, 1920–41 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984); and August Meier and Elliott Rudwick, Along the Color Line: Explorations in the Black Experience (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976), 312–314, 359–362, 376–377.

  • 20. Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorder (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1968); Marilynn Johnson, Street Justice: A History of Police Violence in New York City (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2003); Clarence Taylor, Fight the Power: African Americans and the Long History of Police in New York City (New York: New York University Press, 2018); and Andrew J. Diamond, Mean Streets: Chicago Youths and the Everyday Struggle for Empowerment in the Multiracial City, 1908–1969 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009), includes an extensive discussion of police and black youth. More generally, see “Special Issue: African Americans, Police Brutality, and the U.S. Criminal Justice System: Historical Perspectives,” Journal of African American History 98, no. 2 (2013): 197–303.

  • 21. Eric Arnesen, Black Protest and the Great Migration: A Brief History with Documents (Boston, MA: Bedford Books, 2002); Grossman, Land of Hope; Robert S. Gregg, Sparks from the Anvil of Oppression: Philadelphia’s African Methodists and Southern Migrants, 1890–1940 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993); Joe William Trotter, Black Milwaukee: The Making of an Industrial Proletariat, 1915–1945 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985), 123–124, 127–129; Richard Walter Thomas, Life for Us Is What We Make It: Building Black Community in Detroit, 1915–1945 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992); Richard B. Pierce, Polite Protest: The Political Economy of Race in Indianapolis, 1920–1970 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005); Kimberley L. Phillips, AlabamaNorth: African American Migrants, Community, and Working-Class Activism in Cleveland, 1915–45 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009); Nathan Irvin Huggins, Harlem Renaissance (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1971); David Levering Lewis, When Harlem Was in Vogue (New York, NY: Knopf, 1981); Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, Or Does It Explode? Black Harlem in the Great Depression (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1991); Shannon King, Whose Harlem is This, Anyway? Community Politics and Grassroots Activism During the New Negro Era (New York: New York University Press, 2015); Davarian Baldwin, Chicago’s New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007); and Darlene Clark Hine and John McCluskey Jr., eds., The Black Chicago Renaissance (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012); and Adam Green, Selling the Race: Culture and Community in Black Chicago, 1940–55 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

  • 22. Harvard Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergence of Civil Rights as a National Issue: The Depression Decade (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1978); Nancy Weiss, Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983); James Wolfinger, Philadelphia Divided: Race and Politics in the City of Brotherly Love (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011); Jeffrey Helgeson, Crucible of Black Empowerment: Chicago’s Neighborhood Politics from the New Deal to Harold Washington (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2014); Jason Sokol, All Eyes are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2014); Leah Wright Rigeur, The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015); and Joshua D. Farrington, Black Republicans and the Transformation of the GOP (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).

  • 23. Robert E. Weems Jr., Desegregating the Dollar: African American Consumerism in the Twentieth Century (New York: NYU Press, 1998); and Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014).

  • 24. Darlene Clark Hine, “Black Migration to the Urban Midwest: The Gender Dimension, 1915–1945,” in Trotter, The Great Migration, 127–146; and Hine, “’We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible’ The Philanthropic Work of Black Women,” in Lady Bountiful Revisited: Women, Philanthropy, and Power, ed. Kathleen D. McCarthy (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 70–93; Elsa Barkley Brown, “Womanist Consciousness,” Signs 14 (1989): 610–633; Dorothy Salem, To Better Our World: Black Women in Organized Reform, 1890–1920 (New York, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990); Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (New York, NY: Viking, 1984); Deborah Gray White, Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894–1994 (New York, NY: Norton, 1999); V. P. Franklin and Bettye Collier-Thomas, “For the Race in General and Black Women in Particular: The Civil Rights Activities of African American Women’s Organizations, 1915–1950,” in Sisters in the Struggle, ed. Collier-Thomas and Franklin, 21–41; Victoria Wolcott, Remaking Respectability: African American Women in Interwar Detroit (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001); Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, Abiding Courage: African American Migrant Women and the East Bay Community (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); Anne Meis Knupfer, The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women's Activism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006); and Lisa Krissoff Boehm, Making a Way Out of No Way: African American Women and the Second Great Migration (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2009).

  • 25. Touré F. Reed, Not Alms But Opportunity: The Urban League and the Politics of Racial Uplift, 1910–1950 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008); Nancy J. Weiss, The National Urban League, 1910–1940 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1974): Nancy J. Weiss, Whitney M. Young, Jr. and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989); and Dennis C. Dickerson, Militant Mediator: Whitney M. Young, Jr. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1998).

  • 26. Gilbert Jonas, Freedom's Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle Against Racism in America, 1909–1969 (New York, NY: New Press, 2004); Manfred Berg, The Ticket to Freedom: The NAACP and the Struggle for Black Political Integration (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005); Christopher Robert Reed, The Chicago NAACP and the Rise of Black Professional Leadership (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997); Patricia A. Sullivan, Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement (New York, NY: New Press, 2009); Kenneth Janken, White: The Biography of Walter White, Mr. NAACP (New York, NY: New Press, 2003); and Beth Tompkins Bates, “A New Crowd Challenges the Agenda of the Old Guard in the NAACP, 1933–1941,” American Historical Review 102 (1997): 340–377.

  • 27. Meier and Rudwick, CORE; James Tracy, Direct Action: Radical Pacifism from the Union Seven to the Chicago Eight (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 14–15; and John D’Emilio, Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin (New York, NY: Free Press, 2003).

  • 28. Sugrue, Sweet Land, chap. 5; Wolcott, Race, Riots and Roller Coasters, Simon, Boardwalk of Dreams; and Andrew W. Kahrl, Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the and the Battle for America’s Most Exclusive Shoreline (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018).

  • 29. Meier and Rudwick, Along the Color Line, 314–332; Trotter, Black Milwaukee, 125–127, 134–135; Richard W. Thomas, Life for Us is What We Make It: Building the Black Community in Detroit, 1915–45 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), 194–201; Andor Skotnes, “’Buy Where You Can Work:’ Boycotting for Jobs in African-American Baltimore, 1933–34,” Journal of Social History 27 (1994): 735–762; and Jeffrey Helgeson, “’Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work’ Campaigns,” in Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History, vol. 1, ed. Eric Arnesen (New York, NY: Routledge, 2006), 380–382.

  • 30. Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty, chaps. 1 and 2; Meier and Rudwick, Black Detroit and the Rise of the UAW; Bates, Making of Black Detroit; Kevin Boyle, “’There Are No Sorrows the Union Cannot Heal: The Struggle for Racial Equality in the UAW, 1940–60, Labor History 36 (1995): 5–23; Bruce Nelson, Divided We Stand: American Workers and the Struggle for Black Equality (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); Rick Halpern, Down on the Killing Floor: Black and White Workers in Chicago’s Packinghouses, 1904–1954 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997); Roger Horowitz; “Negro and White, Unite and Fight!”: A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking, 1930–90 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997); Ruth Needleman, Black Freedom Fighters in Steel: The Struggle for Democratic Unionism (Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, 2003); Megan Taylor Shockley, We, Too, Are Americans: African American Women in Detroit and Richmond, 1940–54 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003) and generally, Robert H. Zieger, For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America since 1865 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010); and Paul Moreno, Black Americans and Organized Labor: A New History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006).

  • 31. William P. Jones, The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights (New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2013), chaps. 1 and 2; Bates, Pullman Porters and the Rise of Black Protest; Paula E. Pfeffer, A. Philip Randolph: Pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990); and Herbert Garfinkel, When Negroes March (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1959).

  • 32. Merl Reed, Seedtime for the Modern Civil Rights Movement: The President’s Committee on Fair Employment Practice, 1941–46 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press,1991); Andrew Edmund Kersten, Race, Jobs, and the War: The FEPC in the Midwest, 1941–46 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000); Anthony Chen, The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941–1972 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009); Duane Lockard, Toward Equal Opportunity: A Study of State and Local Antidiscrimination Laws (London: Macmillan, 1968); and Hugh Davis Graham, The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of National Policy (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1990). On interracial organizing efforts in California, see Mark Brilliant, The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil Rights Reform in California, 1941–1978 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010).

  • 33. John David Skrentny, The Ironies of Affirmative Action (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press 1996); Nancy MacLean, Freedom is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006); Thomas J. Sugrue, “Affirmative Action From Below: Civil Rights, the Building Trades, and the Politics of Racial Equality in the North, 1945–1969,” Journal of American History 91 (2004): 145–173; Stacy Kinlock Sewell, “The ‘Not-Buying Power’ of the Black Community: Equal Employment Opportunity in the Civil Rights Movement, 1960-1964,” Journal of African American History 89, no. 2 (2004): 135–151; and David Goldberg and Trevor Griffey, eds., Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010).

  • 34. Francis P. Ryan, AFSCME's Philadelphia Story: Municipal Workers and Urban Power in the Twentieth Century (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2011); Dennis Deslippe, Protesting Affirmative Action: The Struggle over Equality after the Civil Rights Revolution (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012); David Goldberg, Black Firefighters and the FDNY: The Struggle for Jobs, Justice, and Equity in New York City (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017); and Thomas J. Sugrue, “‘The Largest Civil Rights Organization Today’: Title VII and the Transformation of the Public Sector,” Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas 11, no. 3 (2014), 25–29.

  • 35. Clement Vose, Caucasians Only: The Supreme Court, the NAACP, and the Restrictive Covenant Cases (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959); and Jeffrey D. Gonda, Unjust Deeds: The Restrictive Covenant Cases and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015). On California, see Scott Kursashige, The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008); Shana Bernstein, Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2011); Martha Biondi, To Stand and Fight The Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003); Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty; and Dianne Harris, ed., Second Suburb: Levittown, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010).

  • 36. See generally, Juliet Saltman, Open Housing as a Social Movement (Lexington, MA: Heath, 1971); Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty, chapters 7 and 12; for case studies, see Abigail Perkiss, Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014); Lily Geismer, Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015), chapter 2; and Sidney M. Fine, “Michigan and Housing Discrimination, 1949–1968,” Michigan Historical Review 23, no. 2 (1997): 81–114; data on state laws from Lockard, Toward Equal Opportunity.

  • 37. Christopher Bonastia, Knocking on the Door: The Federal Government's Attempt to Desegregate the Suburbs (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006); Gregory D. Squires, ed., The Fight for Fair Housing: Causes, Consequences and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act (New York, NY: Routledge, 2018).

  • 38. For a discussion of many of these cases, see Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty, chap. 13; see also Jack Dougherty, More than One Struggle: The Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004); and Clarence Taylor, Milton A. Galamison and the Struggle to Integrate New York City’s Public Schools (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1997).

  • 39. Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974); 188–189, 192–193, 258–259, 261; Paul R. Dimond, Beyond Busing: Inside the Challenge to Urban Segregation (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1985); Jeffrey Mirel, The Rise and Fall of an Urban School System: Detroit, 1907–1981 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993). Anthony Lukas, Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families (New York, NY: Knopf, 1986); Ronald Formisano, Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991); Jeanne Theoharis, “’We Saved the City: Black Struggles Against Educational Inequality in Boston, 1960–76,” Radical History Review 81 (2001), 61–93; Jeanne Theoharis and Matthew Delmont, eds., “Special Section: Rethinking the Boston Busing Crisis,” Journal of Urban History 43 (2017): 191–293; and Geismer, Don’t Blame Us, chap. 3.

  • 40. Jennifer Hochschild and Nathan Skovronick, The American Dream and the Public Schools (New York,[NY: Oxford University Press, 2003); Gary Orfield, Susan Eaton, and the Harvard Project on School Desegregation, Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education (New York, NY: The New Press, 1996); Michael B. Katz and Mike Rose, eds., Public Education Under Siege (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013); and Dougherty, More Than One Struggle; and Straus, Death of a Suburban Dream.

  • 41. Rhonda Y. Williams, Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (New York, NY: Routledge, 2015); Peniel Joseph, Waiting Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America (New York, NY: Henry Holt, 2006); Keisha Blain, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018); Dayo F. Gore, Radicalism at the Crossroads: African American Women Activists in the Cold War (New York, NY: NYU Press, 2011); Penny von Eschen, Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937–57 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997); Brenda Gayle Plummer, In Search of Power: African Americans in the Era of Decolonization, 1956–1974 (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Robin D. G. Kelley, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2002); Peniel Joseph, ed., The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005); Dean E. Robinson, Black Nationalism in American Politics and Thought (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001); and Rod Bush, We Are Not What We Seem: Black Nationalism and Class Struggle in the American Century (New York: New York University Press, 1999).

  • 42. Simon Wendt, The Spirit and the Shotgun: Armed Resistance and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2017); Timothy Tyson, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999); Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr., Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2013); Sean L. Malloy, Out of Oakland: Black Panther Party Internationalism during the Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017); and Nico Slate, ed., Black Power beyond Borders: The Global Dimensions of the Black Power Movement (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

  • 43. Tanisha C. Ford, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015); James Smethurst, The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); Scot Brown. Fighting for Us: Maulana Karenga, the US Organization, and Black Cultural Nationalism (New York: New York University Press, 2003); William Van Deburg, New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement in American Culture, 1965–1975 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); and Laura Warren Hill and Julia Rabig, eds., The Business of Black Power: Corporate Responsibility, Community Development, and Capitalism in Post-War America (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2012).

  • 44. Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, Black Power: Radical Politics and African American Identity (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004); William L. Van Deburg, Black Camelot: African American Culture Heroes in their Times, 1960–1980 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1997), Daryl M. Scott, Contempt and Pity: Social Policy and the Image of the Damaged Black Psyche, 1880–1996 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), chapter 9; and Russell Rickford, We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016).

  • 45. Sugrue, Sweet Land, chap. 10;

  • 46. Heather Ann Thompson, “Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline, and Transformation in Postwar American History,” Journal of American History 97 (2010): 703–734; Naomi Murakawa, The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2014); Michael Flamm, Law and Order: Street Crime, Civil Unrest, and the Crisis of Liberalism in the 1960s (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2005); Marie Gottschalk, Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014); Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007); and Heather Ann Thompson and Donna Murch, eds., “Special Section: Urban America and the Carceral State,” Journal of Urban History 41 (2015), 751–824.

  • 47. Dan Berger, Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014); Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 2017); Dan Berger and Toussaint Losier, Rethinking the American Prison Movement (New York, NY: Routledge, 2017); Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Era of Colorblindness (New York, NY: New Press, 2010); and John F. Pfaff, Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2017).

  • 48. Christopher J. Lebron, The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017); and Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2016).

  • 49. For exceptions, see the work of August Meier and Elliot Rudwick, particularly CORE: A Study in the Civil Rights Movement, 1942–1968 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1973); Along the Color Line: Explorations in the Black Experience (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976); and Black Detroit and the Rise of the UAW.

  • 50. Alan B. Anderson and George W. Pickering, Confronting the Color Line: The Broken Promise of the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986); Martin Mayer, The Teachers Strike, New York, 1968 (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1969); Marilyn Gittell and Maurice Berube, eds., Confrontation at Ocean Hlll-Brownsville (New York, NY: Praeger, 1969); Daniel H. Perlstein, Justice, Justice: School Politics and the Eclipse of Liberalism (New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2004); Richard Kahlenberg, Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battle Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2007); Jonathan Rieder, Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn against Liberalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985); J. Anthony Lukas, Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families (New York, NY: Knopf, 1986); Ronald Formisano, Boston Against Busing: Race and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991). Important early correctives to this scholarship include James Ralph, Northern Protest: Martin Luther King, Jr., Chicago, and the Civil Rights Movement (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); and Jerald Podair, The Strike that Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002).

  • 51. Synthetic accounts that solidified the conventional wisdom about white backlash and black radical excesses include Allen Matusow, The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1984); Jonathan Rieder, “The Rise of the ‘Silent Majority,’” in The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, ed. Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989); Jim Sleeper, The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York (New York, NY: Norton, 1990); Thomas and Mary Edsall, Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1991); Stephan Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom, America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1997); Fred Siegel, The Future Once Happened Here: New York, DC, LA, and the Future of America’s Big Cities (New York, NY: Free Press, 2000); and Tamar Jacoby, Someone Else’s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration (New York, NY: Free Press, 2000).

  • 52. Lassiter, “De Jure/De Facto Segregation;” Jeanne Theoharis, “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Civil Rights Movement Outside the South,” in Myth of Southern Exceptionalism, ed. Lassiter and Crespino, 49–73; Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty, xiii–xxviii; and Jeanne Theoharis, A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History (Boston, MA: Beacon, 2018).

  • 53. Useful synthetic accounts include Quintard Taylor, In Search Of The Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, 1528-1990 (New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 1998); Theoharis and Woodard, Freedom North; Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty; Sokol, All Eyes are Upon Us; Mark Speltz, North of Dixie: Civil Rights Photography Beyond the South (Los Angeles, CA: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015). Few synthetic overviews of civil rights history nationwide have thoroughly integrated the history of the North. One noteworthy exception is Caroline Rolland-Diamond, Black America: Une histoire des luttes pour l'égalité et la justice (Paris, France: La Découverte, 2016).

  • 54. Osofsky, Black Harlem; Kusmer, A Ghetto Takes Shape; Philpott, Slum and the Ghetto; Spear, Black Chicago; Katzmann, Before the Ghetto.

  • 55. See Grossman, Land of Hope; Trotter, Black Milwaukee; Thomas, Life is for Us What We Make It; and Quintard Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle's Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994).

  • 56. The term “spatial turn” was coined by Matthew Lassiter, The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 7. For examples concerning race and metropolitan areas outside the South, see Arnold Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-–1960 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983); Sugrue, Origins of the Urban Crisis; Robert O. Self, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003); Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (New York, NY: Knopf, 2003); Amanda R. Seligman, Block by Block: Neighborhoods and Public Policy on Chicago’s West Side (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2005); David M. P. Freund, Colored Property: State Policy and White Racial Politics in Suburban America (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007); Colin Gordon, Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008); Andrew Highsmith, Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, and the Fate of the American Metropolis (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2015); Geismer, Don’t Blame Us; and Andrew J. Diamond, Chicago on the Make: Power and Inequality in an American City (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2017).

  • 57. Jacqueline Dowd Hall, “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past,” Journal of American History 90, no. 4 (2005): 1233–1263; Sugrue, Sweet Land; Lassiter and Crespino, The Myth of Southern Exceptionalism. For a critique of the long civil rights framework, see Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua and Clarence Lang, “The ‘Long Movement’ as Vampire: Temporal and Spatial Fallacies in Recent Black Freedom Studies,” Journal of African American History 92, no. 2 (2007): 265–288.

  • 58. Many case studies can be found in edited collections, including Jeanne Theoharis and Komozi Woodard, eds., Groundwork: Local Black Freedom Movements in America (New York: New York University Press, 2005); Theoharis and Woodard, Freedom North; Peniel Joseph, ed., The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era (New York, NY: Routledge, 2006); and Yohuru Williams and Jama Lazerow, eds., Liberated Territory: Untold Local Perspectives on the Black Panther Party (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008). For book-length case studies by city see Chicago: Ralph, Northern Protest; Diamond, Chicago on the Make; Helgeson, Crucible of Black Empowerment; Green, Selling the Race; Seligman, Block by Block; Detroit: Karen R. Miller, Managing Inequality: Northern Racial Liberalism in Interwar Detroit (New York: New York University Press, 2014); Meier and Rudwick, Black Detroit; Bates, Making of Black Detroit; Heather Ann Thompson, Whose Detroit? Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001); Los Angeles: Josh Sides. L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Kurashige, Shifting Grounds of Race; Bernstein, Bridges of Reform; Newark Kevin Mumford, Newark: A History of Race, Rights, and Riots in America (New York: New York University Press, 2008); Julia Rabig, The Fixers: Devolution, Development and Civil Society in Newark, 1960–1990 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2016); Mark Krasovic, The Newark Frontier: Community Action in the Great Society (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2016); Biondi, To Stand and Fight; Craig Wilder, A Covenant with Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2000); Clarence Taylor, ed., Civil Rights in New York City from World War II to the Giuliani Era (New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2011); Brian Purnell, Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: The Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2013); Oakland: Self, American Babylon; Donna Jean Murch, Living for the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010); Philadelphia: Levenstein, Movement Without Marches; Countryman, Up South; Matthew F. Delmont, The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock 'n' Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2014); Stanley Arnold, Building the Beloved Community: Philadelphia’s Interracial Civil Rights Organizations and Race Relations, 1930–1970 (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014); St. Louis: Clarence Lang, Grassroots at the Gateway: Class Politics and Black Freedom Struggle in St. Louis (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009); Kenneth Jolly, Black Liberation in the Midwest: The Struggle in St. Louis, Missouri, 1964–1970 (New York, NY: Routledge, 2006); Other places: Patrick Jones, The Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009); Randal Jelks, African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006); Kahrl, Free the Beaches; and Gretchen Cassel Eick, Dissent in Wichita: The Civil Rights Movement in the Midwest, 1954–1972 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001).

  • 59. Marcia Chatelain, South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015); Victoria Wolcott, Remaking Respectability: African-American Women in Interwar Detroit (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001); Cheryl D. Hicks, Talk with You Like a Woman: African American Women, Justice, and Reform in New York, 1890–1935 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015); and Keona K. Ervin, Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2018).

  • 60. Winston James, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth Century America (New York: NY: Verso, 1998); Minkah Makalani, In the Cause of Freedom: Radical Black Internationalism from Harlem to London, 1917–1939 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011); Blain, Set the World on Fire; William R. Scott, The Sons of Sheba's Race: African-Americans and the Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935–41 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993); and Von Eschen, Race Against Empire; Gerald Horne, Red Seas: Ferdinand Smith and Radical Black Sailors in the United States and Jamaica (New York: New York University Press, 2005); and more generally, Kelley, Freedom Dreams; and Joseph, Waiting Til the Midnight Hour.

  • 61. Mark Naison, Communists in Harlem During the Great Depression (Urbana: University of Illinois Press 1983); Eric Gellman, Death Blow to Jim Crow: The National Negro Congress and the Rise of Militant Civil Rights (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012); Biondi, To Stand and Fight; Gerald Horne, Communist Front? The Civil Rights Congress, 1946–1956 (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1988); Gerald Horne, Black Liberation/Red Scare: Ben Davis and the Communist Party (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 1994); Carol Anderson, Eyes Off the Prize; Brenda Gayle Plummer, Rising Wind: Black Americans and U.S. Foreign Affairs, 1935–1960 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000); Thomas Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001); Eric Arnesen, “No ‘Graver Danger:’ Black Anticommunism, the Communist Party, and the Race Question,” Labor 3 (2006): 13–52; Gore, Radicalism at the Crossroads; Erik McDuffie, Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011); and Carol Anderson, “Bleached Souls and Red Negroes: The NAACP and Black Communists in the Early Cold War, 1948–52,” in Window on Freedom, ed. Brenda Gayle Plummer (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 93–113.

  • 62. Richard Kluger, Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality (New York, NY: Knopf, 1975); Mark V. Tushnet, The NAACP's Legal Strategy against Segregated Education, 1925–1950 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987); Mark V. Tushnet, Making Civil Rights Law: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1936–1961 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1994); Michael Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004); for newer work see Kenneth W. Mack, “Bringing the Law Back into the History of the Civil Rights Movement,” Law and History Review 27, no. 3 (Fall 2009): 657–670; Kenneth W. Mack, “Rethinking Civil Rights Lawyering and Politics in the Era Before Brown,” Yale Law Journal 115 (2005): 256–354. Kenneth W. Mack, “Law and Mass Politics in the Making of the Civil Rights Lawyer, 1931–1941,” Journal of American History 93, no. 1 (June 2006): 37–62; Kenneth W. Mack, Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012); David Canton, Raymond Pace Alexander: A New Negro Lawyer Fights for Civil Rights in Philadelphia (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2010); Risa Goluboff, “‘Let Economic Equality Take Care of Itself’: The NAACP, Labor Litigation, and the Making of Civil Rights in the 1940s,” UCLA Law Review 52 (2005), 1393–1486. For a bottom-up history of housing cases, see Gonda, Unjust Deeds; for a grassroots history of education protests and litigation, see Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty, 163–199. An excellent model for a bottom-up history of civil rights litigation that could be applied to a northern city is Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2011). For three quite different legal histories of interracial collaboration and conflict, see Brilliant, The Color of America Has Changed; MacLean, Freedom is Not Enough; and John David Skrentny, The Minority Rights Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

  • 63. Useful overviews of black power history include Ogbar, Black Power and Joseph, Waiting ‘til the Midnight Hour. On the Black Panthers, see Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr., Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2013); Sean L. Malloy, Out of Oakland: Black Panther Party Internationalism during the Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017); Murch, Living for the City; Yohuru Williams, Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Black Panthers in New Haven (New York, NY: Wiley, 2000); Jakobi Williams, From the Bullet to the Ballot: The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013); Williams and Lazerow, eds., Liberated Territory; Judson L. Jeffries, On the Ground: The Black Panther Party in Communities across America (Oxford: University Press of Mississippi, 2010); Lucas N. N. Burke and Judson L. Jeffries, The Portland Black Panthers: Empowering Albina and Remaking a City (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2016); Robyn C. Spencer, The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016); Alondra Nelson, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011); and Charles E. Jones, ed., The Black Panther Party Reconsidered (Oakland, CA: Black Classic Press, 1998). For other organizations, see various essays in Joseph, Black Power; Muhammad Ahmad, We Will Return in the Whirlwind: Black Radical Organizations. 1960–1975 (Chicago, IL: Charles Kerr, 2008); Brown, Fighting for US; Nishani Frazier, Harambee City: The Congress of Racial Equality in Cleveland and the Rise of Black Power Populism (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2017); William W. Sales Jr., From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: Malcolm X and the Organization of Afro-American Unity (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1994); and James A. Geschwender, Class, Race. and Worker Insurgency: The League of Revolutionary Black Workers (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1977).

  • 64. Tracye Matthews, “No One Ever Asks What a Man’s Role in the Revolution Is”: Gender and the Politics of the Black Panther Party, 1966–1971,” in Black Panther Party Reconsidered, ed. Jones, 267–304; Kimberley Springer, Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968–80 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006); Steve Estes, I Am A Man: Race, Manhood, and the Civil Rights Movement (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), Bettye Collier Thomas and V. P. Franklin, eds., Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement (New York: New York University Press, 2001); Ashley D. Farmer, Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017); Trevor Griffey and David Goldberg, eds., Black Power at Work (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010); Rabig and Warren, The Business of Black Power; Rabig, The Fixers; Martha Biondi, The Black Revolution on Campus (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012); on black power and electoral politics, see Self, American Babylon; Countryman, Up South; Williams, From the Bullet to the Ballot; David R. Colburn and Jeffrey S. Adler, eds., African American Mayors: Race, Politics, and the American City (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001); and Leonard N. Moore, The Defeat of Black Power: Civil Rights and the National Black Political Convention of 1972 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2018).

  • 65. Steven M. Ward, In Love and Struggle: The Revolutionary Lives of James and Grace Lee Boggs (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016); Jeanne F. Theoharis, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2013); Peniel Joseph, Stokely: A Life (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2014); Komozi Woodard, A Nation Within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Black Power Politics (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999); and Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (New York, NY: Henry Holt, 2010).

  • 66. Lisa Levenstein, A Movement Without Marches: African American Women and the Politics of Poverty in Postwar Philadelphia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009); Rhonda Y. Williams, The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles Against Urban Inequality (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004); Premilla Nadasen, Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005); Felicia Kornbluh, The Battle Over Welfare Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009); Annelise Orleck, Storming Caesar’s Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty (Boston, MA: Beacon, 2006); and Gordon Mantler, Power to the Poor: Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960–1974 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013).

  • 67. Thompson, “Why Mass Incarceration Matters;” Murakawa, First Civil Right; Flamm, Law and Order; Gottschalk, Caught; Gilmore, Golden Gulag; Thompson and Murch, “Special Section: Urban America and the Carceral State”; Berger, Captive Nation; Berger and Losier, Rethinking the American Prison Movement; Alexander, New Jim Crow; Elizabeth Hinton, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016); Michael Javen Fortner, The Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015); James Forman Jr., Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (New York, NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017); and Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, Getting Tough: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017).

  • 68. Michael A. Gomez, Black Crescent: The Experience and Legacy of African Muslims in the Americas (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Claude Clegg, An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1997); Ula Yvette Taylor, The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017); Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (New York, NY: Henry Holt, 2010); Judith Weisenfeld, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration (New York: New York University Press, 2017); Bettye Collier-Thomas, Jesus, Jobs, and Justice: African American Women and Religion (New York, NY: Knopf, 2010); Clarence Taylor, The Black Churches of Brooklyn (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1994); Clarence Taylor, Black Religious Radicals: The Fight for Equality from Jim Crow to the Twenty First Century (New York, NY: Routledge, 2002); Angela Dillard, Faith in the City: Preaching Radical Social Change in Detroit (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007); Nick Salvatore, Singing in a Strange Land: C.L Franklin, the Black Church, and the Transformation of America (New York, NY: Knopf, 2005); and Kerry Pimblott, Faith in Black Power: Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2017).

  • 69. John T. McGreevy, Parish Boundaries: The Catholic Encounter with Race in the Twentieth Century Urban North (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996); Gerald Gamm, Urban Exodus: Why the Jews Left Boston and the Catholics Stayed (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999); Eileen McMahon, Which Parish are You From? A Chicago Irish Community and Race Relations (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1995); and Timothy B. Neary, Crossing Parish Boundaries: Race, Sports, and Catholic Youth in Chicago, 1914–1954 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2017).

  • 70. Murray Friedman, What Went Wrong: The Creation and Collapse of the Black-Jewish Alliance (New York, NY: Free Press, 1995); Maurianne Adams and John Bracey, eds., Strangers and Neighbors: Relations Between Blacks and Jews in the United States (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999); Gamm, Urban Exodus; Wendell Pritchett, Brownsville, Brooklyn: Blacks, Jews, and the Changing Face of the Ghetto (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2002); Podair, Strike that Changed New York; and Cheryl Greenberg, Troubling the Waters: Black-Jewish Relations in the American Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).

  • 71. James F. Finlay, Church People in the Struggle: The National Council of Churches and the Black Freedom Movement, 1950–1970 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997); and David A. Hollinger, Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World but Changed America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017).

  • 72. William Jelani Cobb, The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress (New York, NY: Walker, 2010): Peniel Joseph, Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2010); Thomas J. Sugrue, Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010); and Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.