the Struggle for Racial Equality in the West, 1900-1954
When it came to racial equality in the early twentieth century, Albert S. Broussard argues, the liberal, progressive image of San Francisco was largely a facade. In this book, he challenges the rhetoric of progress and opportunity with evidence of the reality of inequality and shows how black San Franciscans struggled for equality in the same manner as their counterparts in the Midwest and East. Understanding the texture of the racial caste system in the city prior to 1954, he contends, is critical to understanding why blacks made so little progress in employment, housing, and politics despite the absence of segregation laws. Reconstructing the plight of San Francisco's black citizens, Broussard reveals a population that, despite its small size before 1940, did not accept second-class citizenship passively yet remained nonviolent into the 1960s. He also shows how World War II and the defense industry brought thousands of southern black migrants to the bay area. Ultimately, he demonstrates, these newcomers and native black residents formed coalitions with white liberals to attack racial inequality more vigorously and successfully than at any previous time in San Francisco's history.
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