6 Best Books About Segregation Update 05/2022

Books About Segregation

American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass

Douglas Massey

This book is both powerful and disturbing. It clearly links the long-term poverty of black people in the United States to the unprecedented level of deliberate segregation they face in American cities. American Apartheid shows how whites made the black ghetto in the first half of the 20th century to keep growing numbers of black people from getting together in cities. It goes on to show that, even though the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was passed, segregation is still being kept alive today by a complex set of individual actions, institutional practices, and government policies. In some cities, the level of black segregation is so high and happens in so many places at the same time that it’s called “hypersegregation.” Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton show that when there is a downturn in the economy, the systematic segregation of African Americans leads to the creation of underclass communities. The concentration of poverty and the deterioration of social and economic conditions in black communities are much worse when there is a lot of segregation in the United States. Residents of the ghetto have to deal with more and more harsh conditions in a climate of racial isolation. As a result, they change their mindsets, behaviors, and practices to make their neighborhoods even more isolated and less likely to succeed in mainstream American society. People who say that race isn’t important anymore in the United States should read this book.

Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas

Jennifer Jensen Wallach

Arsnick The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came to Arkansas in October 1962, at the request of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations, which was the state affiliate of the Southern Regional Council. The SNCC was there to help fight against racism. Bill Hansen, a young white Ohioan who was already a veteran of the civil rights movement, went to Little Rock in the early sixties to help start student sit-ins that wanted to desegregate schools. SNCC efforts started with him. Most of Little Rock’s public and private facilities were desegregated by 1963, thanks in part to SNCC’s bold moves. In the years that followed, many more SNCC volunteers came to the state to set up projects in the Arkansas Delta to help people fight racial discrimination. In just five years, the SNCC’s Arkansas Project had a big impact on the state. This branch of the national organization hasn’t even been mentioned in the history of the civil rights movement. This collection is a good thing because it brings together articles about SNCC’s work in Arkansas for the first time, gives powerful firsthand accounts, and collects important historical documents from SNCC’s work in Arkansas.

Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City

Peter Shirlow and Brendan Murtagh

As a general rule, most people think that Belfast is coming out of its darkest times and into an era of tolerance and change. This book disagrees with this idea. The authors point out how international peace agreements, like the Belfast Agreement, are slowly lost as ethnically-divided people fight over resources.

The book paints a vivid picture of the human drama and violence of the conflict in Belfast through the eyes of people. The authors say that controlling where people live is still the most important weapon in the politicization of communities and the spread of political violence. Segregation is a place where sectarianism can grow and learn. People who study geography, planning, politics, sociology, and peace studies will find this book useful. It looks at the effects of these social divisions and draws on a wide range of literature from around the world.

Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Edited by Virginia Tilley

Beyond Occupation looks at three contentious terms that regularly arise in contemporary arguments about Israel’s practices towards Palestinians in the occupied territories – occupation, colonialism and apartheid – and considers whether their meanings in international law truly apply to Israel’s policies. This analysis is timely and urgent – colonialism and apartheid are serious breaches of human rights law and apartheid is a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The contributors present conclusive evidence that Israel’s administration of the Palestinian territories is consistent with colonialism and apartheid, as these regimes are defined in human rights law. Their analysis further shows that these practices are deliberate Israeli state policies, imposed on the Palestinian civilian population under military occupation.

These findings raise serious implications for the legality and legitimacy of Israel’s continuing occupation of the Palestinian territories and the responsibility of the entire international community to challenge practices considered contrary to fundamental values of the international legal order.

Black Revolutionary: William Patterson and the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle

Gerald Horne

Black Revolutionary William Patterson and the Globalization of the African American Freedom Struggle

The lawyer William L. Patterson, a well-known African American Communist, helped lay the groundwork for the defeat of Jim Crow through his work with the Scottsboro campaign in the 1930s. Historian Gerald Horne shows in this important biography how Patterson helped African Americans become more equal by getting international support for the movement. His early education in the Soviet Union, his involvement in the Scottsboro trials and other high-profile civil rights cases of the 1930s to 1950s, his 1951 “We Charge Genocide” petition to the United Nations, and his later work in prisons and as a member of the Black Panther Party are all mentioned by Horne in his book.

This is how Horne tries to figure out why civil rights leaders sometimes disavowed African American leftists in exchange for concessions from the US government. Patterson is a good example of this kind of thing. He also looks into the complicated relationship between the Communist Party and the African American community, as well as how the FBI’s infiltrate of the Communist Party affected the relationship between the two groups. Horne looked at government and FBI documents, newspapers, periodicals, archival and manuscript collections, and Patterson’s own personal papers to show how well he took the fight for freedom around the world.

The Borderlands of Race: Mexican Segregation in a South Texas Town

By Jennifer R. Nájera

Some parts of public life were segregated by race for most of the twentieth century, but the structures of Mexican segregation were not as rigid as those in the Jim Crow South. Some Mexican Americans were able to get into the Anglo power structure because of factors like having a better socioeconomic status, having lighter skin, and being able to speak English. However, this partial assimilation made it more difficult for the rest of the Mexican American community to fully desegregate. Even though federal and state laws officially ended the practice, the community continued to experience informal segregation even after these laws were passed.

In this historical ethnography, Jennifer R. Nájera paints a complicated picture of Mexican segregation in a South Texas town in the first half of the 20th century. She uses oral histories and local archives to show how Mexican-born people were treated when they lived in the United States. Nájera tells the stories of Mexican-born people and shows how their ambiguous racial status allowed some of them to be exceptions to the rule that Anglo people were the most powerful. She shows that while it might seem that the color line was more open than it was, the selective and limited integration of Mexicans into Anglo society made it seem like the community had been integrated and no more changes were needed. Nájera also talks about how everyday people’s actions ended up changing racial/racist ideas and making space for Mexicans in places that had been dominated by Anglos.

Challenging U.S. Apartheid: Atlanta and Black Struggles for Human Rights, 1960–1977

Winston A. Grady-Willis

Innovative and detailed, “Challenging U.S. Apartheid” is a history of African-Americans in Atlanta who tried to improve their lives, equality, and opportunities from the early 1960s until Maynard Jackson’s first term as mayor came to an end in 1977. Winston A. Grady-Willis tells a story that goes from the student nonviolent direct action movement and the first experiments in urban field organizing to the reemergence of Black women-centered activism. Grady-Willis says that the work of African Americans in Atlanta was important to the development of Black freedom movements in the late twentieth century.

Grady-Willis talks about Black activism in terms of human rights, not civil rights. As he shows, civil rights were just one part of a bigger fight for self-determination, a fight to dismantle a system of inequality that he calls “apartheid structures.” In this book, he draws on archival research and interviews with activists from the 1960s and 1970s to show a wide range of activities, organizations, and achievements. These include the neighborhood-based efforts of Atlanta’s Black working poor, clandestine groups like the African American women’s group Sojourner South, and the creation of independent Black intellectual institutions like the Institute of the Black World. Grady-book Willis’s about the politics of the Black freedom movement in Atlanta shows that there are many different ideologies, gender and class tensions, and disagreements about different policies, strategies, and tactics. Challenging U.S. Apartheid also shows the work of grassroots activists, who are on the same level as well-known people. Women who played important roles in the fight for civil rights in Atlanta are at the very front of this history.

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