Whose Detroit?: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City

Whose Detroit?: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City

by Heather Ann Thompson
     
 

ISBN-10: 080143520X

ISBN-13: 9780801435201

Pub. Date: 11/28/2001

Publisher: Cornell University Press

America's urbanites have engaged in many tumultuous struggles for civil and worker rights since the Second World War. In Whose Detroit?, Heather Ann Thompson focuses in detail on the struggles of Motor City residents during the 1960s and early 1970s and finds that conflict continued to plague the inner city and its workplaces even after Great Society

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Overview

America's urbanites have engaged in many tumultuous struggles for civil and worker rights since the Second World War. In Whose Detroit?, Heather Ann Thompson focuses in detail on the struggles of Motor City residents during the 1960s and early 1970s and finds that conflict continued to plague the inner city and its workplaces even after Great Society liberals committed themselves to improving conditions.

Using the contested urban center of Detroit as a model, Thompson assesses the role of such upheaval in shaping the future of America's cities. She argues that the glaring persistence of injustice and inequality led directly to explosions of unrest in this period. Thompson finds that unrest as dramatic as that witnessed during Detroit's infamous riot of 1967 by no means doomed the inner city, nor in any way sealed its fate. The politics of liberalism continued to serve as a catalyst for both polarization and radical new possibilities and Detroit remained a contested, and thus politically vibrant, urban center.

Thompson's account of the post-World War II fate of Detroit casts new light on contemporary urban issues, including white flight, police brutality, civic and shop floor rebellion, labor decline, and the dramatic reshaping of the American political order. Throughout, the author tells the stories of real events and individuals, including James Johnson, Jr., who, after years of suffering racial discrimination in Detroit's auto industry, went on trial in 1971 for the shooting deaths of two foremen and another worker at a Chrysler plant.

Bringing the labor movement into the context of the literature of Sixties radicalism, Whose Detroit? integrates the history of the 1960s into the broader political history of the postwar period. Urban, labor, political, and African-American history are blended into Thompson's comprehensive portrayal of Detroit's reaction to pressures felt throughout the nation. With deft attention to the historical background and preoccupations of Detroit's residents, Thompson has written a biography of an entire city at a time of crisis.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801435201
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
11/28/2001
Series:
6/30/2008
Pages:
295
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.46(h) x 0.94(d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Introduction: Reassessing the Fate of Postwar Cities, Politics, and Labor
Chapter 1 Beyond Racial Polarization: Political Complexity
in the City and Labor Movement of the 1950s
Chapter 2 Optimism and Crisis in the New Liberal Metropolis
Chapter 3 Driving Desperation on the Auto Shop Floor
Chapter 4 Citizens, Politicians, and the Escalating War
for Detroit's Civic Future
Chapter 5 Workers, Officials, and the Escalating War for
Detroit's Labor Future
Chapter 6 From Battles on City Streets to Clashes in the Courtroom
Chapter 7 From Fights for Union Office to Wildcats in the Workplace
Chapter 8 Urban Realignment and Labor Retrenchment:
An End to Detroit's War at Home
Conclusion: Civic Transformation and Labor Movement Decline in
Postwar Urban America
Epilogue
Notes from the Author
Notes
Index

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