In April 1992, the world witnessed a renewal in South Central Los Angeles of the urban violence that had exploded there over a quarter of a century earlier. As in 1965, the spark that ignited the firestorm was Black rage over police brutality. But in both eras the tinder was prepared by decades of social neglect and political disenfranchisement that have left the predominantly non-white urban poor trapped and virtually without hope.
Race, Politics, and Economic Development strips away the veneer of mass-media images to examine the underlying causes of Black urban poverty and to recommend means to escape the seemingly endless cycle of retributive violence that it spawns. The book brings together Black activists and scholars, including two former mayors of American cities, to analyse the theoretical and practical problems currently facing the Black community in the United States. The essays collected here are dominated by three key themes: that political influence, power, and wealth are major factors in determining social welfare policies directed at Blacks, the poor and the working class; that both liberal and conservative policies over the last fifty years are no longer effective in alleviating a growing human service crisis among Blacks; and that the political mobilization of impoverished sectors in the Black community is absolutely critical in resolving the problem of poverty in urban America.
Drawing on new work in the social sciences, political theory, and economics, and also on the contributors' activist experiences, these essays represent a pathbreaking new agenda for the participation of grassroots Black leaders in developing and implementing urban policy.
Contributors: Jeremiah Cotton, Julianne Malveaux, Mack H. Jones, Charles P. Henry, Walter Stafford, William Fletcher Jr., Eugene Newport, Sheila Ards, Jacqueline Pope. Keith Jennings, Lloyd Hogan, Richard Hatcher