Organizing the South Bronx / Edition 1

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This is a story of heroic and articulate individuals who were able to defy overwhelming odds and build affordable housing in the South Bronx. it is about the process of teaching citizens in a low-income neighborhood how to participate in public life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For urban social-change activists, the strategies and movements inspired by the late Saul Alinsky are the stuff of legend. Alinsky, who died in 1972, taught professional organizers to serve as catalysts, enabling local residents in poor communities to form and control their own movements. Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation IAF has been around for decades. But because the IAF's activities have received little publicity, just how Alinsky-style movements work is not well known. Now Rooney, a Rye, N.Y., high school teacher, has given us a valuable study of South Bronx Churches SBC, an IAF project begun in one of the nation's most blighted urban communities in the late 1980s. This is a thorough and insightful book, combining astute historical research with firsthand reporting of SBC's activities. Rooney describes how suburbanization, government neglect and unwise policy transformed the South Bronx from a model community for upwardly mobile immigrants into a slum. He combines that tale with the story of Alinksy and the IAF, bringing them together at the turn of this decade, as people in a Church-based organization set out to reform their community and how it's governed. Along the way, the author gives nuts-and-bolts organizing lessons, making this a useful tool for students and others interested in social change and community empowerment. Nov.
A study of the process by which the residents of an impoverished urban neighborhood were educated and organized to fight the city government for vacant land and build low-cost, owner-occupied housing. Such organizing, mainly working through traditional churches, is a rapidly growing phenomena in the US and has close analogies throughout Latin America. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791422106
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Series: SUNY Series, the New Inequalities
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword by Nathan Glazer


Introduction: The Design and Purpose of the Study

Part One: Context

1. The Bronx: "The City Without a Slum"

2. Why Did the South Bronx Collapse?

Part Two: The IAF in New York City

3. Alinsky, Chambers, and Citizen Movements

4. The IAF in Queens and Brooklyn

5. Old Testament Builders Nehemiah and Robbins

6. Relational Organizing: Launching South Bronx Churches

7. South Bronx Civics: Morris High School

Part Three: South Bronx Case Study

8. Here We Will Build!

9. War on 404! The Reaction to the Action

10. Digging in for the Long Haul

11. Armistice in the War on 404

Part Four: Analysis

12. Was It a Just War?

13. Learning from South Bronx Churches





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