The Dream Is Lost: Voting Rights and the Politics of Race in Richmond, Virginia

The Dream Is Lost: Voting Rights and the Politics of Race in Richmond, Virginia

by Julian Maxwell Hayter


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Once the capital of the Confederacy and the industrial hub of slave-based tobacco production, Richmond, Virginia has been largely overlooked in the context of twentieth century urban and political history. By the early 1960s, the city served as an important center for integrated politics, as African Americans fought for fair representation and mobilized voters in order to overcome discriminatory policies. Richmond's African Americans struggled to serve their growing communities in the face of unyielding discrimination. Yet, due to their dedication to strengthening the Voting Rights Act of 1965, African American politicians held a city council majority by the late 1970s.

In The Dream Is Lost, Julian Maxwell Hayter describes more than three decades of national and local racial politics in Richmond and illuminates the unintended consequences of civil rights legislation. He uses the city's experience to explain the political abuses that often accompany American electoral reforms and explores the arc of mid-twentieth-century urban history. In so doing, Hayter not only reexamines the civil rights movement's origins, but also seeks to explain the political, economic, and social implications of the freedom struggle following the major legislation of the 1960s.

Hayter concludes his study in the 1980s and follows black voter mobilization to its rational conclusion — black empowerment and governance. However, he also outlines how Richmond's black majority council struggled to the meet the challenges of economic forces beyond the realm of politics. The Dream Is Lost vividly illustrates the limits of political power, offering an important view of an underexplored aspect of the post—civil rights era.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813169484
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 06/05/2017
Series: Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century Series
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Julian Maxwell Hayter is a historian and associate professor of leadership studies at the University of Richmond.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations x

Introduction 1

1 Strictly Political: Racial and Urban Politics and the Rise of the Richmond Crusade for Voters before 1965 19

2 Systematically Done In: Black Electoral Empowerment, Vote Dilution, and the Push for Annexation after the Voting Rights Act 63

3 From Intent to Effect: The Long Struggle for Voting Rights Litigation during the 1970s 111

4 "The Dream Is Lost": Henry Marsh and Black Governance in an Era of White Political Resistance 151

5 "All He Gave Me Was a Foot11: Black Technocrats, Richmond's Urban Woes, and the Crisis of the Crusade for Voters 195

Conclusion 239

Appendix: City Council Election Data, City of Richmond, Virginia, 1960-1984 247

Acknowledgments 257

Notes 263

Bibliography 309

Index 323

Photographs follow page 166

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