Black Citymakers: How the Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America

ISBN : 9780190249670

Marcus Anthony Hunter
306 Pages
162 x 237 mm
Pub date
May 2015
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W.E.B. DuBois immortalized Philadelphia's Black Seventh Ward neighborhood, one of America's oldest urban black communities, in his 1899 sociological study The Philadelphia Negro. In the century after DuBois's study, however, the district has been transformed into a largely white upper middle class neighborhood. Black Citymakers revisits the Black Seventh Ward, documenting a century of banking and tenement collapses, housing activism, black-led anti-urban renewal mobilization, and post-Civil Rights political change from the perspective of the Black Seventh Warders. Drawing on historical, political, and sociological research, Marcus Hunter argues that black Philadelphians were by no means mere casualties of the large scale social and political changes that altered urban dynamics across the nation after World War II. Instead, Hunter shows that black Americans framed their own understandings of urban social change, forging dynamic inter- and intra-racial alliances that allowed them to shape their own migration from the old Black Seventh Ward to emergent black urban enclaves throughout Philadelphia. These Philadelphians were not victims forced from their homes - they were citymakers and agents of urban change. Black Citymakers explores a century of socioeconomic, cultural, and political history in the Black Seventh Ward, creating a new understanding of the political agency of black residents, leaders and activists in twentieth century urban change.


List of Tables and Figures
1. If These Row Homes Could Talk: W.E.B. DuBois, the Philadelphia Negro, and Political Agency
2. A Tale of Two Banks: Economic Collapse and Neighborhood Change
3. The Night the Roof Caved In: Tragedy in the Black Seventh Ward and the Rise of Racialized Public Housing
4. Philadelphia's Mason-Dixon Line: Urban Renewal and the Crosstown Expressway Battle
5. Philadelphia's Black Belt: Post-Civil Rights Philadelphia, Black Politics, and Urban Change
6. Flash (Mobs) Forward: Black Citymakers and Urban Change
Methodological Appendix

About the author: 

Marcus Anthony Hunter is Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles.

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