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"Meticulously researched and engagingly written, Newark tells an important story. Portraying a city that functions as an archetype for Black Power in urban politics, Mumford writes with great sympathy for an earlier liberal integrationist tradition, periodizing and explaining its rise and fall carefully, eloquently, and persuasively."
-David Roediger, author of Working Toward Whiteness
Newark's volatile past is infamous. The city has become synonymous with the Black Power movement and urban crisis. Its history reveals a vibrant and contentious political culture punctuated by traditional civic pride and an understudied tradition of protest in the black community. Newark charts this important city's place in the nation, from its founding in 1666 by a dissident Puritan as a refuge from intolerance, through the days of Jim Crow and World War II civil rights activism, to the height of postwar integration and the election of its first black mayor.
In this broad and balanced history of Newark, Kevin Mumford applies the concept of the public sphere to the problem of race relations, demonstrating how political ideas and print culture were instrumental in shaping African American consciousness. He draws on both public and personal archives, interpreting official documents-such as newspapers, commission testimony, and government records-alongside interviews, political flyers, meeting minutes, and rare photos.
From the migration out of the south to the rise of public housing and ethnic conflict, Newark explains the impact of African Americans on the reconstruction of American cities in the twentieth century.