Cover image for All eyes are upon us : race and politics from Boston to Brooklyn
Title:
All eyes are upon us : race and politics from Boston to Brooklyn
Author:
Sokol, Jason.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2014]
Physical Description:
xxvi, 385 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Summary:
"The Northeastern United States--home to abolitionism and a refuge for blacks fleeing the Jim Crow South--has had a long and celebrated history of racial equality and political liberalism. After World War II, the region appeared poised to continue this legacy, electing black politicians and rallying behind black athletes and cultural leaders. However, as historian Jason Sokol reveals in All Eyes Are Upon Us, these achievements obscured the harsh reality of a region riven by segregation and deep-seated racism. White fans from across Brooklyn--Irish, Jewish, and Italian--came out to support Jackie Robinson when he broke baseball's color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947, even as the city's blacks were shunted into segregated neighborhoods. The African-American politician Ed Brooke won a senate seat in Massachusetts in 1966, when the state was 97% white, yet his political career was undone by the resistance to busing in Boston. Across the Northeast over the last half-century, blacks have encountered housing and employment discrimination as well as racial violence. But the gap between the northern ideal and the region's segregated reality left small but meaningful room for racial progress. Forced to reckon with the disparity between their racial practices and their racial preaching, blacks and whites forged interracial coalitions and demanded that the region live up to its promise of equal opportunity. A revelatory account of the tumultuous modern history of race and politics in the Northeast, All Eyes Are Upon Us presents the Northeast as a microcosm of America as a whole: outwardly democratic, inwardly conflicted, but always striving to live up to its highest ideals"--

"From the 19th century, when northern cities were home to strong abolitionist communities and served as a counterpoint to the slaveholding South, through the first half of the 20th century, when the North became a destination for African Americans fleeing Jim Crow, the Northeastern United States has had a long history of acceptance and liberalism. But as historian Jason Sokol reveals in All Eyes Are Upon Us, northern states like Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut were also strongholds of segregation and deep-seated racism. In All Eyes Are Upon Us, historian Jason Sokol shows how Northerners--black and white alike--have struggled to realize the North's progressive past and potential since the 1940s, efforts that, he insists, have slowly but surely succeeded. As Sokol argues, the region's halting attempts to reconcile its progressive image with its legacy of racism can be viewed as a microcosm of America's struggles with race as a whole: outwardly democratic, inwardly imbalanced, but always challenging itself to live up to its idealized role as a model of racial equality. Indeed, Sokol posits that it was the Northeast's fierce pride in its reputation of progressiveness that ultimately rescued the region from its own prejudices and propelled it along an unlikely path to equality. An invaluable examination of the history of race and politics in the Northeast, All Eyes Are Upon Us offers a provocative account of the region's troubled roots in segregation and its promising future in politicians from Deval Patrick to Barack Obama"--
Language:
English
Contents:
Introduction: The Northern Mystique -- Part I: North of Jim Crow -- 1. And to Think That It Happened in Springfield : Pioneering Pluralism, Practicing Segregation (1939-1945) -- 2. Something in the Air : Jackie Robinson's Brooklyn (1947-1957) -- 3. "If We Were Segregationists" : The Struggle to Integrate Northeastern Schools (1957-1965) -- Part II: Forerunners -- 4. The Color-Blind Commonwealth? : The Election of Edward Brooke (1966) -- 5. Shirley Chisholm's Place : Winning New York's 12th Congressional District (1968) -- Part III: Mirrors -- 6. "The North is Guilty" : Abraham Ribicoff's Crusade (1970) -- 7. "This Bedeviling Busing Business" : The Long 1970s, the Trials of Edward Brooke, and the Fall of the North (1968-1979) -- Part IV: The Death and Life of the North -- 8. A Tale of Two Hartfords : Politics and Poverty in a Land of Plenty (1980-1987) -- 9. The Ghost of Willie Turks : Racial Violence and Black Politics in New York City (1982-1993) -- 10. The North Rises Again : Deval Patrick, Barack Obama, and the 21st Century (2006-2012).
ISBN:
9780465022267
Format :
Book

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Central Library E185.9 .S65 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Audubon Library E185.9 .S65 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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East Delavan Branch Library E185.9 .S65 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Kenmore Library E185.9 .S65 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Frank E. Merriweather Library E185.9 .S65 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

The Northeastern United States--home to abolitionism and a refuge for blacks fleeing the Jim Crow South--has had a long and celebrated history of racial equality and political liberalism. After World War II, the region appeared poised to continue this legacy, electing black politicians and rallying behind black athletes and cultural leaders. However, as historian Jason Sokol reveals in All Eyes Are Upon Us , these achievements obscured the harsh reality of a region riven by segregation and deep-seated racism.

White fans from across Brooklyn--Irish, Jewish, and Italian--came out to support Jackie Robinson when he broke baseball's color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947, even as the city's blacks were shunted into segregated neighborhoods. The African-American politician Ed Brooke won a senate seat in Massachusetts in 1966, when the state was 97% white, yet his political career was undone by the resistance to busing in Boston. Across the Northeast over the last half-century, blacks have encountered housing and employment discrimination as well as racial violence. But the gap between the northern ideal and the region's segregated reality left small but meaningful room for racial progress. Forced to reckon with the disparity between their racial practices and their racial preaching, blacks and whites forged interracial coalitions and demanded that the region live up to its promise of equal opportunity.

A revelatory account of the tumultuous modern history of race and politics in the Northeast, All Eyes Are Upon Us presents the Northeast as a microcosm of America as a whole: outwardly democratic, inwardly conflicted, but always striving to live up to its highest ideals.


Author Notes

Jason Sokol is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire and the author of There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights . Sokol lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts.


Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

The American Northeast, popularly a bastion of abolitionism and a haven for black Americans fleeing the Jim Crow South, was and is the home of deep-seated racism and has a long history of segregation. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

In popular memory, New York City and the New England region represent centers of liberal racial thought in the postwar US. However, Sokol's well-written and substantive narrative recounts the blistering racial prejudice that lingered there, despite a reputation to the contrary. The author deftly illustrates the deep-seated conflict between progressive and reactionary elements over segregation that played out in that region's political arena. Sokol (Univ. of New Hampshire) does a wonderful job of helping readers appreciate these dynamics through a series of biographical sketches. Among regional and national figures are Edward Brooke, Shirley Chisholm, and Abraham Ribicoff, who all serve as focal points in the bitter struggle to desegregate the Northeast. Sokol provides some of the participants' previously unavailable recollections, based on interviews conducted for this history. Ultimately, the book provides a much-needed reminder of the difficult battles discrimination's enemies faced, even in the heart of what was supposed to be an already color-blind society. Summing Up: Recommended. General, public, and undergraduate collections. --Jeff Kleiman, University of Wisconsin Colleges


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