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Spanning three centuries of Brooklyn history from the colonial period to the present, A Covenant with Color exposes the intricate relations of dominance and subordination that have long characterized the relative social positions of white and black Brooklynites. Craig Steven Wilder -- examining both quantitative and qualitative evidence and utilizing cutting-edge literature on race theory -- demonstrates how ideas of race were born, how they evolved, and how they were carried forth into contemporary society.

In charting the social history of one of the nation's oldest urban locales, Wilder contends that power relations -- in all their complexity -- are the starting point for understanding Brooklyn's turbulent racial dynamics. He spells out the workings of power -- its manipulation of resources, whether in the form of unfree labor, privileges of citizenship, better jobs, housing, government aid, or access to skilled trades. Wilder deploys an extraordinary spectrum of evidence to illustrate the mechanics of power that have kept African American Brooklynites in subordinate positions: from letters and diaries to family papers of Kings County's slaveholders, from tax records to the public archives of the Home Owners Loan Corporation.

Wilder illustrates his points through a variety of cases, including banking interests, the rise of Kings County's colonial elite, industrialization and slavery, race-based distribution of federal money in jobs, and mortgage loans during and after the Depression. He delves into the evolution of the Brooklyn ghetto, tracing how housing segregation corralled African Americans in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The book explores colonial enslavement, the rise of Jim Crow, labor discrimination and union exclusion, and educational inequality. Throughout, Wilder uses Brooklyn as a lens through which to view larger issues of race and power on a national level.

One of the few recent attempts to provide a comprehensive history of race relations in an American city, A Covenant with Color is a major contribution to urban history and the history of race and class in America.

In the decades following the Civil War, nearly a quarter of African Americans achieved a remarkable victory—they got their own land. While other ex-slaves and many poor whites became trapped in the exploitative sharecropping system, these independence-seeking individuals settled on pockets of unclaimed land that had been deemed too poor for farming and turned them into successful family farms. In these self-sufficient rural communities, often known as "freedom colonies," African Americans created a refuge from the discrimination and violence that routinely limited the opportunities of blacks in the Jim Crow South.

Freedom Colonies is the first book to tell the story of these independent African American settlements. Thad Sitton and James Conrad focus on communities in Texas, where blacks achieved a higher percentage of land ownership than in any other state of the Deep South. The authors draw on a vast reservoir of ex-slave narratives, oral histories, written memoirs, and public records to describe how the freedom colonies formed and to recreate the lifeways of African Americans who made their living by farming or in skilled trades such as milling and blacksmithing. They also uncover the forces that led to the decline of the communities from the 1930s onward, including economic hard times and the greed of whites who found legal and illegal means of taking black-owned land. And they visit some of the remaining communities to discover how their independent way of life endures into the twenty-first century.

Since the earliest days of colonial America, the relationship between cotton and the African-American experience has been central to the history of the republic. America's most serious social tragedy, slavery and its legacy, spread only where cotton could be grown. Both before and after the Civil War, blacks were assigned to the cotton fields while a pervasive racial animosity and fear of a black migratory invasion caused white Northerners to contain blacks in the South.

Gene Dattel's pioneering study explores the historical roots of these most central social issues. In telling detail Mr. Dattel shows why the vastly underappreciated story of cotton is a key to understanding America's rise to economic power. When cotton production exploded to satiate the nineteenth-century textile industry's enormous appetite, it became the first truly complex global business and thereby a major driving force in U.S. territorial expansion and sectional economic integration. It propelled New York City to commercial preeminence and fostered independent trade between Europe and the United States, providing export capital for the new nation to gain its financial "sea legs" in the world economy. Without slave-produced cotton, the South could never have initiated the Civil War, America's bloodiest conflict at home.

Mr. Dattel's skillful historical analysis identifies the commercial forces that cotton unleashed and the pervasive nature of racial antipathy it produced. This is a story that has never been told in quite the same way before, related here with the authority of a historian with a profound knowledge of the history of international finance. With 23 black-and-white illustrations.
The history of growth, decline, and revitalization in Poughkeepsie, New York, parallels that of many other small northeastern cities. Main Street to Mainframes tells the story of Poughkeepsie’s transformation over the past three centuries—from an agricultural market town, to a small city with a diversified economy centered on Main Street, to an urban region dependent on the success of one corporation—and how this transformation has affected the lives and landscape of its inhabitants. As it adjusted to major changes in agriculture, transportation, and industry, Poughkeepsie was also shaped by the forces and tensions of immigration and race. The voices of immigrant and migrant newcomers, from the Germans, Irish, and African Americans of the nineteenth century to the Italians, Poles, and Latinos of the twentieth, enliven the narrative and offer personal perspectives on the social and demographic shifts that have taken place over the years. The book also places Poughkeepsie in the context of the mid–Hudson Valley’s other cities—Kingston, Newburgh, and Hudson—as they competed from the colonial period onward. Finally, the book examines recent revitalization efforts based on tourism, culture, and the arts.

More than just a local history, Main Street to Mainframes addresses important issues in urban and regional planning, community development, and sociology. Like a palimpsest, Poughkeepsie shows how past landscapes live on in the present, and how, over time, popular perceptions both shape and reflect urban and rural realities.
Across Massachusetts, workers in virtually all sectors of the economy are facing reorganization, new technology, and the intensification of expectations and demands. With globalization, smaller employers are increasingly becoming part of large multinational companies, and workers are now forced to compete on a world stage. The result is that long-term, stable jobs are disappearing as work has become more temporary, part-time, and contingent. This volume offers a collection of original essays that explore the changing nature of work in the Commonwealth and its impact on workers, their families, and their communities.

Taking a multidisciplinary approach, the contributors examine the impact of offshoring and outsourcing and the growth of low-wage employment in the service sector, while also looking at the software industry and the future of high-tech jobs. The volume includes an overview of the economics of work in Massachusetts, an analysis of the experience of women and minorities in the workforce, and a case study of the fiscal crisis in Springfield and its relationship to employment issues. Several chapters address the challenges and prospects in the health care industry. Finally, a number of authors examine the complex ways in which these adjustments in the nature of work play out in families across the state, and how policy changes could help workers and their families adjust to these new environments.

In addition to Tom Juravich, contributors include Randy Albelda, Mark Brenner, Kate Bronfenbrenner, Heather Bourne, Alan Clayton-Matthews, Dan Clawson, Xiaogang Deng, Robert Forrant, Naomi Gerstel, Dana Huyser, Marlene Kim, Sarah Kuhn, William Lazonick, Stephanie Luce, Karen Meteyer, Maureen Perry-Jenkins, Steven Quimby, Pauala Rayman, Randall P. Wilson, and Lening Zhang.

An intimate, eye-opening portrait of San Francisco transformed by the tech boom.

San Francisco is changing at warp speed. Famously home to artists and activists, and known as the birthplace of the Beats, the Black Panthers, and the LGBTQ movement, in recent decades the Bay Area has been reshaped by Silicon Valley, the engine of the new American economy. The richer the region gets, the more unequal and less diverse it becomes, and cracks in the city’s facade—rapid gentrification, an epidemic of evictions, rising crime, atrophied public institutions—have started to show.

Inspired by Studs Terkel’s classic works of oral history, writer and filmmaker Cary McClelland spent several years interviewing people at the epicenter of the recent change, from venture capitalists and coders to politicians and protesters, from native sons and daughters to the city’s newest arrivals. The crisp and vivid stories of Silicon City’s diverse cast capture San Francisco as never before.

The book opens with a longtime tour guide recounting the history of the original Gold Rush and observing how little the people of his city pay attention to its history; it ends on Fisherman’s Wharf, with the proprietor of an arcade game museum reminding us that even today’s technology will become relics of the past. In between we hear from people who have passed through Apple, Google, eBay, Intel, and the other big tech companies of our time. And we meet those who are experiencing the changes at the grassroots level: a homeless advocate in Haight-Ashbury, an Oakland rapper, a pawnbroker in the Mission, a man who helped dismantle and rebuild the Bay Bridge, and a woman who runs a tattoo parlor in the Castro.

Silicon City masterfully weaves together a candid conversation across a divided community to create a dynamic portrait of a beloved city—and a cautionary tale for the entire country.

In this extraordinary book, Kevin Starr–widely acknowledged as the premier historian of California, the scope of whose scholarship the Atlantic Monthly has called “breathtaking”–probes the possible collapse of the California dream in the years 1990—2003. In a series of compelling chapters, Coast of Dreams moves through a variety of topics that show the California of the last decade, when the state was sometimes stumbling, sometimes humbled, but, more often, flourishing with its usual panache.

From gang violence in Los Angeles to the spectacular rise–and equally spectacular fall–of Silicon Valley, from the Northridge earthquake to the recall of Governor Gray Davis, Starr ranges over myriad facts, anecdotes, news stories, personal impressions, and analyses to explore a time of unprecedented upheaval in California. Coast of Dreams describes an exceptional diversity of people, cultures, and values; an economy that mirrors the economic state of the nation; a battlefield where industry and the necessities of infrastructure collide with the inherent demands of a unique and stunning natural environment. It explores California politics (including Arnold Schwarzenegger’s election in the 2003 recall), the multifaceted business landscape, and controversial icons such as O. J. Simpson.

“Historians of the future,” Starr writes, “will be able to see with more certainty whether or not the period 1990-2003 was not only the end of one California but the beginning of another”; in the meantime, he gives a picture of the place and time in a book at once sweeping and riveting in its details, deeply informed, engagingly personal, and altogether fascinating.
SALEM has long been notorious for the witch trials of 1692. But a hundred years later it was renowned for very different pursuits: vast wealth and worldwide trade. Now Death of an Empire tells the story of Salem's glory days in the age of sailing, and the murder that hastened its descent.

When America first became a nation, Salem was the richest city in the republic, led by a visionary merchant who still ranks as one of the wealthiest men in history. For decades, Salem connected America with the wider world, through a large fleet of tall ships and a pragmatic, egalitarian brand of commerce taht remains a model of enlightened international relations.

But America's emerging big cities and westward expansion began to erode Salem's national political importance just as its seafaring economy faltered in the face of tariffs and global depression. With Salem's standing as a world capital imperiled, two men, equally favored by fortune, struggled for its future: one, a progressive merchant-politician, tried to build new institutions and businesses, while the other, a reclusive crime lord, offered a demimonde of forbidden pleasures. The scandalous trial that followed signaled Salem's fall from national prominence, a fall that echoed around the world in the loss of friendly trade and in bloody reprisals against native peoples by the U.S. Navy.

Death of an Empire is an exciting tale of a remarkably rich era, shedding light on a little-known but fascinating period of Ameriacn history in which characters such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Quincy Adams, and Daniel Webster interact with the ambitious merchants and fearless mariners who made Salem famous around the world.

Where water supply, railway transportation, and oil reserves have been abundant, towns in central West Texas have prospered; where these resources are few, settlements have maintained only slight growth or disappeared entirely. Supporting his conclusions with profuse statistical evidence, Robert L. Martin traces the economic development of six major towns in the area, all with over 10,000 residents in 1960: Lamesa, Snyder, Sweetwater, Big Spring, Midland, and Odessa.

Ranching brought the first settlers to West Texas in the 1870s and dominated the economy until 1900. In the 1880s farmers began to arrive, and between 1900 and 1930 agricultural production replaced ranching as the most important industry.

With the influx of population came the railroad, and small settlements were established along its route. Those with sufficient water supply prospered and, as counties were organized, became county seats and supply centers for the surrounding agricultural regions.

The land could not support a large agricultural population, and agriculture-related manufactures soon drew population to the towns. However, it was not until the oil discoveries of the 1920's that the modern city emerged. After World War II, oil production and oil-related industries generated great wealth and caused a boom in population growth and urban development. Despite the growth in prosperity, the economy is precariously balanced. Urban centers dependent on oil—an industry of limited life—have matured in an area without sufficient water or agricultural resources to support them. Martin concludes that, without careful planning and a solution to the water problem, these cities could some day become ghost towns on the plains.

The fascinating story of the birth and development of a rural American community from its origins at the turn of the nineteenth century to the years that followed the Civil War. Drawing on newspapers, account books, and reminiscences, the author of the prize-winning Women and Men on the Overland Trail vividly portrays the lives of the prairie’s inhabitants—Indians, pioneers, farming men and women—and adds a compelling new chapter to American social history.
"This is a book for anyone who has ridden down a country road and, hearing the wind whistle through the cornstalks, wondered about the Indians and pioneers who listened to that sound before him."—Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune
"Every chapter, almost every page, contains new ideas or throws new light on old ones, by means of a wealth of detail and clarity of though which brings the past alive again."—Hugh Brogan, The Times Literary Supplement
"A notably successful example of the new work being done on the social history of rural America…. Faragher has constructed a vivid portrait of everyday life as well as an analysis of how the community developed and changed."—George M. Fredrickson, New York Review of Books
"Here, succinctly set out, is the American prairie experience."—Publishers Weekly
"Sugar Creek is a major new interpretation of America’s rural past."—Howard R. Lamar, Yale University
Winner of the 1986 Society for the History of the Early American Republic Award
John Mack Faragher is associate professor of history at Mount Holyoke College.

From its beginnings as an army camp in the 1840s, Fort Worth has come to be one of Texas’s—and the nation’s—largest cities, a thriving center of culture and commerce. But along the way, the city’s future, let alone its present prosperity, was anything but certain. Fort Worth tells the story of how this landlocked outpost on the arid plains of Texas made and remade itself in its early years, setting a pattern of boom-and-bust progress that would see the city through to the twenty-first century.

Harold Rich takes up the story in 1880, when Fort Worth found itself in the crosshairs of history as the cattle drives that had been such an economic boon became a thing of the past. He explores the hard-fought struggle that followed—with its many stops, failures, missteps, and successes—beginning with a single-minded commitment to attracting railroads. Rail access spurred the growth of a modern municipal infrastructure, from paved streets and streetcars to waterworks, and made Fort Worth the transportation hub of the Southwest. Although the Panic of 1893 marked another setback, the arrival of Armour and Swift in 1903 turned the city’s fortunes once again by expanding its cattle-based economy to include meatpacking.

With a rich array of data, Fort Worth documents the changes wrought upon Fort Worth’s economy in succeeding years by packinghouses and military bases, the discovery of oil and the growth of a notorious vice district, Hell’s Half Acre. Throughout, Rich notes the social trends woven inextricably into this economic history and details the machinations of municipal politics and personalities that give the story of Fort Worth its unique character. The first thoroughly researched economic history of the city’s early years in more than five decades, this book will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Fort Worth, urban history and municipal development, or the history of Texas and the West.
In 1997, after General Motors shuttered a massive complex of factories in the gritty industrial city of Flint, Michigan, signs were placed around the empty facility reading, “Demolition Means Progress,” suggesting that the struggling metropolis could not move forward to greatness until the old plants met the wrecking ball. Much more than a trite corporate slogan, the phrase encapsulates the operating ethos of the nation’s metropolitan leadership from at least the 1930s to the present. Throughout, the leaders of Flint and other municipalities repeatedly tried to revitalize their communities by demolishing outdated and inefficient structures and institutions and overseeing numerous urban renewal campaigns—many of which yielded only more impoverished and more divided metropolises. After decades of these efforts, the dawn of the twenty-first century found Flint one of the most racially segregated and economically polarized metropolitan areas in the nation.

In one of the most comprehensive works yet written on the history of inequality and metropolitan development in modern America, Andrew R. Highsmith uses the case of Flint to explain how the perennial quest for urban renewal—even more than white flight, corporate abandonment, and other forces—contributed to mass suburbanization, racial and economic division, deindustrialization, and political fragmentation. Challenging much of the conventional wisdom about structural inequality and the roots of the nation’s “urban crisis,” Demolition Means Progress shows in vivid detail how public policies and programs designed to revitalize the Flint area ultimately led to the hardening of social divisions.
The evolution of the Boston metropolitan area, from country villages and streetcar suburbs to exurban sprawl and “smart growth.”

Boston's metropolitan landscape has been two hundred years in the making. From its proto-suburban village centers of 1800 to its far-flung, automobile-centric exurbs of today, Boston has been a national pacesetter for suburbanization. In The Hub's Metropolis, James O'Connell charts the evolution of Boston's suburban development.

The city of Boston is compact and consolidated—famously, “the Hub.” Greater Boston, however, stretches over 1,736 square miles and ranks as the world's sixth largest metropolitan area. Boston suburbs began to develop after 1820, when wealthy city dwellers built country estates that were just a short carriage ride away from their homes in the city. Then, as transportation became more efficient and affordable, the map of the suburbs expanded. The Metropolitan Park Commission's park-and-parkway system, developed in the 1890s, created a template for suburbanization that represents the country's first example of regional planning.

O'Connell identifies nine layers of Boston's suburban development, each of which has left its imprint on the landscape: traditional villages; country retreats; railroad suburbs; streetcar suburbs (the first electric streetcar boulevard, Beacon Street in Brookline, was designed by Frederic Law Olmsted); parkway suburbs, which emphasized public greenspace but also encouraged commuting by automobile; mill towns, with housing for workers; upscale and middle-class suburbs accessible by outer-belt highways like Route 128; exurban, McMansion-dotted sprawl; and smart growth. Still a pacesetter, Greater Boston has pioneered antisprawl initiatives that encourage compact, mixed-use development in existing neighborhoods near railroad and transit stations.

O'Connell reminds us that these nine layers of suburban infrastructure are still woven into the fabric of the metropolis. Each chapter suggests sites to visit, from Waltham country estates to Cambridge triple-deckers.

California, Wallace Stegner observed, is like the rest of the United States, only more so. Indeed, the Golden State has always seemed to be a place where the hopes and fears of the American dream have been played out in a bigger and bolder way. And no one has done more to capture this epic story than Kevin Starr, in his acclaimed series of gripping social and cultural histories. Now Starr carries his account into the 1930s, when the political extremes that threatened so much of the Depression-ravaged world--fascism and communism--loomed large across the California landscape. In Endangered Dreams, Starr paints a portrait that is both detailed and panoramic, offering a vivid look at the personalities and events that shaped a decade of explosive tension. He begins with the rise of radicalism on the Pacific Coast, which erupted when the Great Depression swept over California in the 1930s. Starr captures the triumphs and tumult of the great agricultural strikes in the Imperial Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, Stockton, and Salinas, identifying the crucial role played by Communist organizers; he also shows how, after some successes, the Communists disbanded their unions on direct orders of the Comintern in 1935. The highpoint of social conflict, however, was 1934, the year of the coastwide maritime strike, and here Starr's narrative talents are at their best, as he brings to life the astonishing general strike that took control of San Francisco, where workers led by charismatic longshoreman Harry Bridges mounted the barricades to stand off National Guardsmen. That same year socialist Upton Sinclair won the Democratic nomination for governor, and he launched his dramatic End Poverty in California (EPIC) campaign. In the end, however, these challenges galvanized the Right in a corporate, legal, and vigilante counterattack that crushed both organized labor and Sinclair. And yet, the Depression also brought out the finest in Californians: state Democrats fought for a local New Deal; California natives helped care for more than a million impoverished migrants through public and private programs; artists movingly documented the impact of the Depression; and an unprecedented program of public works (capped by the Golden Gate Bridge) made the California we know today possible. In capturing the powerful forces that swept the state during the 1930s--radicalism, repression, construction, and artistic expression--Starr weaves an insightful analysis into his narrative fabric. Out of a shattered decade of economic and social dislocation, he constructs a coherent whole and a mirror for understanding our own time.
After the Civil War a convergence of circumstances provided Galveston with an unparalleled opportunity for growth and development. Geography, demography, and technology combined to favor Galveston's commercial development, and the city seized on these factors to spur its growth as an important transportation center. By 1900, Galveston served as the leading seaport for the worldwide shipment of grain and cotton and as a major gateway to what lay west of the Mississippi.

Galveston and the Great West traces Galveston's emergence as a key American port city: from its initial conception by risk-taking businessmen and daring civic leaders through the thirty-five years it took to realize the dreams of a world-class harbor capable of handling the largest ships afloat. Author Earle B. Young interweaves two major themes: the technology that was then being developed and employed in innovative ways and the personal role of entrepreneurs and engineers who together conceived the goals, made the plans, and eventually carried them out in spite of many obstacles.

Young tells the story of Galveston's technical and political struggles, such as engineering a twenty-five-foot-deep harbor channel and winning federal appropriations by enlisting the support of the Rocky Mountain and Plains states. He further shows how the technology—the jetties and the railroads—enabled Galveston to become the focal point of a land-sea transportation network that capitalized on Galveston's unique geographical position to serve the newly populated western regions of the continent.

Young's work at NASA has informed his deep understanding of and respect for the complexities of engineering feats and government involvement in technological matters. His thorough grasp of the dynamics of success and failure in an advanced engineering environment gave his investigation into Galveston's vibrant past a ready-made focus. The result is a lively and penetrating history of technology and transportation that will prove to be of interest to the general reader as well as to Texas and western historians.

Despite the many advances that the United States has made in racial equality over the past half century, numerous events within the past several years have proven prejudice to be alive and well in modern-day America. In one such example, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina dismissed one of her principal advisors in 2013 when his membership in the ultra-conservative Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) came to light. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2001 the CCC website included a message that read "God is the one who divided mankind into different races.... Mixing the races is rebelliousness against God." This episode reveals America's continuing struggle with race, racial integration, and race mixing-a problem that has plagued the United States since its earliest days as a nation. The Color Factor: The Economics of African-American Well-Being in the Nineteenth-Century South demonstrates that the emergent twenty-first-century recognition of race mixing and the relative advantages of light-skinned, mixed-race people represent a re-emergence of one salient feature of race in America that dates to its founding. Economist Howard Bodenhorn presents the first full-length study of the ways in which skin color intersected with policy, society, and economy in the nineteenth-century South. With empirical and statistical rigor, the investigation confirms that individuals of mixed race experienced advantages over African Americans in multiple dimensions - in occupations, family formation and family size, wealth, health, and access to freedom, among other criteria. The Color Factor concludes that we will not really understand race until we understand how American attitudes toward race were shaped by race mixing. The text is an ideal resource for students, social scientists, and historians, and anyone hoping to gain a deeper understanding of the historical roots of modern race dynamics in America.
In the autumn of 1857, sustained runs on New York banks led to a panic atmosphere that affected the American economy for the next two years. In The Panic of 1857 and the Coming of the Civil War, James L. Huston presents an exhaustive analysis of the political, social and intellectual repercussions of the Panic and shows how it exacerbated the conflict between North and South.The panic of 1857 initiated a general inquiry between free traders and protectionists into the deficiencies of American economic practices. A key aspect of this debate was the ultimate fate of the American worker, an issue that was given added emphasis by a series of labor demonstrations and strikes. In an attempt to maintain the material welfare of laborers, northerners advocated a program of high tariffs, free western lands, and education. But these proposals elicited the opposition of southerners, who believed that such policies would not serve the needs of the slaves system. Indeed, many people of the period saw the struggle between North and South as an economic one whose outcome would determine whether laborers would be free and well paid or degraded and poor.Politically, the Panic of 1857 resurrected economic issues that had characterized the Whig-Democratic party system prior to the 1850s. Southerners, observing the collapse of northern banks, believed that they could continue to govern the nation by convincing northern propertied interests that sectionalism had to be ended in order to ensure the continued profitability of intersectional trade. In short, they hoped for a marriage between the Yankee capitalist and the southern plantation owner.However, in northen states, the Panic had made the Whig program of high tariffs, a national bank, and internal improvements popular with distressed members of the community. The country's old-line Whigs and nativists were particularly affected by the state of economic affairs. When Republicans moved to adopt a portion of the old Whig program, conservatives found the attraction irresistible. By maintaining their new coalition with conservatives and by exploiting the weaknesses of the Buchanan administration, the Republicans managed to capture the presidency in 1860.No other book examines in such detail the political ramifications of the Panic of 1857. By explaining how the economic depression influenced the course of sectional debate, Huston has made an important and much-needed contribution to Civil War historiography.
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