City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles

Princeton University Press
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On the sixtieth anniversary of the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles, the full story of the controversial building of Dodger Stadium and how it helped transform the city.

When Walter O'Malley moved his Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1957 with plans to construct a new ballpark next to downtown, he ignited a bitter argument over the future of a rapidly changing city. For the first time, City of Dreams tells the full story of the controversial building of Dodger Stadium—and how it helped create modern Los Angeles by transforming its downtown into a vibrant cultural and entertainment center.

In a vivid narrative, Jerald Podair tells how Los Angeles was convulsed between 1957 and 1962 over whether, where, and how to build Dodger Stadium. Competing civic visions clashed. Would Los Angeles be a decentralized, low-tax city of neighborhoods, as demanded by middle-class whites on its peripheries? Or would the baseball park be the first contribution to a revitalized downtown that would brand Los Angeles as a national and global city, as advocated by leaders in business, media, and entertainment?

O'Malley's vision triumphed when he opened his privately constructed stadium on April 10, 1962—and over the past half century it has contributed substantially to the city's civic and financial well-being. But in order to build the stadium, O'Malley negotiated with the city to acquire publicly owned land (from which the city had uprooted a Mexican American community), raising sharply contested questions about the relationship between private profit and "public purpose." Indeed, the battle over Dodger Stadium crystallized issues with profound implications for all American cities, and for arguments over the meaning of equality itself.

Filled with colorful stories, City of Dreams will fascinate anyone who is interested in the history of the Dodgers, baseball, Los Angeles, and the modern American city.

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About the author

Jerald Podair is professor of history and the Robert S. French Professor of American Studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He is the author of The Strike That Changed New York and Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer. He is a recipient of the Allan Nevins Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians for "literary distinction in the writing of history."
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 27, 2017
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781400884704
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / General
History / Social History
History / United States / 20th Century
History / United States / State & Local / West (AK, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY)
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
Sports & Recreation / Baseball / General
Sports & Recreation / Baseball / History
Sports & Recreation / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Bayard Rustin was a unique twentieth-century American radical voice. A homosexual, World War II draft resister, and ex-communist, he made enormous contributions to the civil rights, socialist, labor, peace, and gay rights movements in the United States, despite being viewed as an "outsider" even by fellow activists. Rustin was a humanist who championed the disadvantaged and oppressed, regardless of identity.

In Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer, Jerald Podair examines the life and career of a man who shaped virtually every aspect of the modern civil rights movement as a theorist, strategist, and spokesman. Podair begins by covering the period from Rustin's 1912 birth in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to his 1946 release from federal prison, where he served over two years for draft evasion. After his release, Rustin threw himself into work on behalf of pacifism and racial integration, two goals that, at this stage of his career, fit together almost seamlessly. Podair goes on to examine Rustin's role as the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, the most important civil rights demonstration in American history. He was a major influence on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolent direct action, which led to the strategy that changed the course of American race relations. During the last years of his life, Rustin continued to champion the causes of socialism, coalition politics, and racial integration, as he also sought to aid oppressed people and foster democratic institutions worldwide.

Yet for all this, Rustin was rarely permitted a leading role in the movements he helped to shape. Because of his sexuality and his background as a former communist and draft resister, he was forced to do much of his work on the fringes, offering his organizational, strategic, and rhetorical skills to public leaders who chose to keep him at arm's length. Despite this, as Podair makes clear, Bayard Rustin was one of the most important civil rights leaders—and one of the most important radical leaders—in twentieth-century American history.

Documents in this book include excerpts from Rustin's writings, speeches, and public statements.
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