Cover image for To stand and fight : the struggle for civil rights in postwar New York City
To stand and fight : the struggle for civil rights in postwar New York City
Biondi, Martha.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
360 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F128.9.N4 B56 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The story of the civil rights movement in the USA typically begins with the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 and culminates with the 1965 voting rights struggle in Selma. But, as Martha Biondi shows, a grass-roots struggle for racial equality in the urban North began a full ten years before the rise of the movement in the South. This story is an essential first chapter, not only to the southern movement that followed, but also to the riots that erupted in northern and western cities just as the civil rights movement was achieving major victories.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Immediately after WW II, African Americans--many of them boot-worn soldiers returning from the war against fascism--began a struggle to obtain their civil rights. Historians have thoroughly documented the experiences of those African Americans who lived in the South and worked to repeal Jim Crow laws. However, in this work, Biondi (African American studies, Northwestern Univ.) explores what she calls "the struggle for Negro rights" in New York City, an exploration resulting in a stark reminder of the daily challenges facing blacks who lived in northern cities. The author cites many troubling examples of police brutality and racial discrimination in employment, education, and housing to demonstrate how the struggle for equality changed New York City and linked to and influenced the urban black radicalism of the 1950s and 1960s. With its detailed discussions of the American Labor Party, the Communist Party, Black Nationalism, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, Roy Wilkins, and, especially, Paul Robeson, this work should be required reading for all historians interested in the post-WW II experience of African Americans in the urban North. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels/collections. T. D. Beal SUNY College at Oneonta

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Rise of the Struggle for Negro Rights
1 Jobs for All
2 Black Mobilization and Civil Rights Politics
3 Lynching, Northern style
4 Desegregating the metropolis
5 Dead Letter Legislation
6 An Unnatural Division of People
7 Anticommunism and Civil Rights
8 The Paradoxical Effects of the Cold War
9 Racial Violence in the Free World
10 Lift Every Voice and Vote
11 Resisting Resegregation
12 To Stand and Fight Epilogue: Another Kind of America