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African American Communities

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African American Communities offers a rich panorama of the civil rights movement through the lens of a handful of Black communities—Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, and the North Carolina public educational system. The focus is relentlessly local, as there are frequent references to Black people organizing at the street and block level to improve their lives and overcome the harsh discipline of discrimination and second-class citizenship. The micro-level examination of communities is buttressed by an extremely broad array of primary materials and documents including letters and correspondence, pamphlets, association records, newspaper and periodical clippings, judicial records, oral histories, visual materials, and ephemera. The contents of the database make it abundantly clear that although advances in overcoming racial barriers were exceptionally dilatory, African American citizens at the community level were highly diligent and resilient in forging a distinctive culture founded on self-determination.

Publication date: April 1, 2021

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