Politics and Welfare in Birmingham, 1900-1975

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This well-written volume explores the relationships between politics and welfare programs for low-income residents in Birmingham during four periods in the twentieth century:

• 1900-1917, the formative period of city building when welfare was predominantly a responsibility of the private sector;
• 1928-1941, when the Great Depression devastated the local economy and federal intervention became the principal means of meeting human need;
• the mid 1950s, when the lasting impacts of the New Deal could be assessed and when matters of race relations became increasingly significant;
• 1962-1975, when an intense period of local government reform, the Civil Rights movement, federal intervention in the form of the War on Poverty, and increasing demands for citizen participation all reinforced one another.

From the time of its founding in 1871, Birmingham has had a biracial population, so the theme of race relations runs naturally throughout the narrative. LaMonte pays particular attention to those efforts to achieve a more harmonious biracial community, including the failed effort to establish an Urban League in the 1940s, the progressive activities of the Community Chest’s Interracial Division in the 1950s, which were abruptly terminated, and the dramatic events of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, when local events were elevated to international significance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A carefully crafted contribution to our understanding of public services in a major southern city.” - Harold W. Stanley, University of Rochester

“LaMonte covers an important and neglected subject. In clear prose he examines the evolution of welfare policy in an important southern city and analyzes the relationship of politics, political culture, and policy. A very fine study that is knowledgeable, critical, and intelligent. An important book.” - Numan V. Bartly, The University of Georgia

Studies the relationships between politics and welfare programs for low income residents in Birmingham, Alabama during four periods in the 20th century: 1900-1917--the formative period of city building; 1928-1941--when the Great Depression devastated the local economy; the mid 1950s--when the lasting impacts of the New Deal could be assessed and when race relations came to the forefront; and 1962- 1975--an intense period of local government reform. A thorough work with a clear focus on a neglected subject. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817307547
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward Shannon LaMonte is Vice-President of Administration and Howell Heflin Professor of Political Science at Birmingham-Southern College.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 1900-1917
1 Birmingham, Alabama: The Historical Background 3
2 Politics and Decision Making 15
3 Welfare Services 40
Pt. 2 1928-1941
4 Politics and Government in Birmingham 69
5 The Depression in Birmingham 88
6 Relief in Birmingham: From the Community Chest to the Department of Public Welfare 113
Pt. 3 1954
7 The Missed Opportunity in Race Relations 135
Pt. 4 1962-1975
8 Political and Social Modernization 161
9 The Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity and the Birmingham Citizen Participation Program 200
Epilogue 239
Notes 245
Bibliography 281
Index 291
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