American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland / Edition 1

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Overview

"American Babylon traces the dialectic of suburbanization and black power in my hometown of Oakland, California. Encapsulating the postwar history of hundreds of mid-sized American cities, Robert Self's original and fascinating case study historicizes city-suburb racial segregation as a creation within living memory. We cannot heal or make sense of the nation we live in now without American Babylon."—Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University, author of Southern History across the Color Line

"American Babylon promises to be one of those rare works that redefines the field. Robert Self brilliantly weaves together histories that are usually told separately: political economy, labor, black community formation, suburbanization, and civil rights. His analysis of the relationship between 'black power' and 'white power' opens up a new way of thinking about race, economics, and politics in modern America."—Thomas J. Sugrue, University of Pennsylvania, author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis

"By grounding his historical narrative in its spatial context, Robert Self offers a new conception of postwar urban history and also of national political history, making it possible to map the relations of social and political power. He has moreover broken free of a traditional limitation of urban histories: rather than limit himself to a single municipality, he tells the story of an entire metropolitan region. This very readable book promises to be highly influential in the fields of urban history, postwar political history, and African American and race relations history."—Philip J. Ethington, University of Southern California, author of The Public City

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Editorial Reviews

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

[M]eticulously researched. . . . [A] compelling, complex, and original account of black and, to a lesser extent, white community politics in metropolitan Oakland California from 1945 to 1978.
— Cynthia Horan
Annals of the American Academy of Political & Social Sciences
[M]eticulously researched. . . . [A] compelling, complex, and original account of black and, to a lesser extent, white community politics in metropolitan Oakland California from 1945 to 1978.
— Cynthia Horan
Journal of American History - Albert S. Broussard
By placing the history of Oakland and its African American community in a new theoretical framework that emphasizes suburban growth, tax revolts, and battles over land, jobs, and political power, Self has challenged historians to reconsider the way that they study postwar black urban communities.
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences - Cynthia Horan
[M]eticulously researched. . . . [A] compelling, complex, and original account of black and, to a lesser extent, white community politics in metropolitan Oakland California from 1945 to 1978.
American Historical Review - Kenneth Durr
If you are concerned with the postwar city, race, economics, and politics, get this book and read it.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2005 James A. Rawley Prize, Organization of American Historians

Winner of the 2005 Best Book in Urban Affairs, Urban Affairs Association

Winner of the 2004 Ralph J. Bunche Award, American Political Science Association

Winner of the 2004 Best Book in North American Urban History, Urban History Association

"[A]n original and complex explanation for the urban crisis that transformed Oakland, California, from 1945 to 1978. . . . By placing the history of Oakland and its African American community in a new theoretical framework that emphasizes suburban growth, tax revolts, and battles over land, jobs, and political power, Self has challenged historians to reconsider the way that they study postwar black urban communities."—Albert S. Broussard, Journal of American History

"[M]eticulously researched. . . . [A] compelling, complex, and original account of black and, to a lesser extent, white community politics in metropolitan Oakland California from 1945 to 1978."—Cynthia Horan, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences

"By placing the history of Oakland and its African American community in a new theoretical framework that emphasizes suburban growth, tax revolts, and battles over land, jobs, and political power, Self has challenged historians to reconsider the way that they study postwar black urban communities."—Albert S. Broussard, Journal of American History

"If you are concerned with the postwar city, race, economics, and politics, get this book and read it."—Kenneth Durr, American Historical Review

Journal of American History
By placing the history of Oakland and its African American community in a new theoretical framework that emphasizes suburban growth, tax revolts, and battles over land, jobs, and political power, Self has challenged historians to reconsider the way that they study postwar black urban communities.
— Albert S. Broussard
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences
[M]eticulously researched. . . . [A] compelling, complex, and original account of black and, to a lesser extent, white community politics in metropolitan Oakland California from 1945 to 1978.
— Cynthia Horan
American Historical Review
If you are concerned with the postwar city, race, economics, and politics, get this book and read it.
— Kenneth Durr
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Robert O. Self is Assistant Professor of History at Brown University.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Abbreviations xv
Introduction 1
PART I: URBAN AND SUBURBAN POLITICS AND THE CALIFORNIA DREAM, 1945-1964 21
1. Industrial Garden 23
2. Working Class 61
3. Tax Dollar 96
PART II: RACE, URBAN TRANSFORMATION, AND THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SEGREGATION, 1954-1966 133
4. Redistribution 135
5. Opportunity Politics 177
PART III: BLACK LIBERATION AND SUBURBAN REVOLT, 1964-1978 215
6. Black Power 217
7. White Noose 256
8. Babylon 291
Conclusion 328
Appendix: Population, Housing, and Taxes 335
Notes 339
Index 379

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