American Babylon by Robert O. Self
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American Babylon
By Robert O. Self

American Babylon

Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland

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Format: Paperback

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American Babylon by Robert O. Self

Book Awards

  • Winner of American Historical Association James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History 2005.
  • Winner of Ralph J Bunche Award 2004.

Book Description

As the birthplace of the Black Panthers and a nationwide tax revolt, California embodied a crucial motif of the postwar United States: the rise of suburbs and the decline of cities, a process in which black and white histories inextricably joined. American Babylon tells this story through Oakland and its nearby suburbs, tracing both the history of civil rights and black power politics as well as the history of suburbanization and home-owner politics. Robert Self shows that racial inequities in both New Deal and Great Society liberalism precipitated local struggles over land, jobs, taxes, and race within postwar metropolitan development. Black power and the tax revolt evolved together, in tension. American Babylon demonstrates that the history of civil rights and black liberation politics in California did not follow a southern model, but represented a long-term struggle for economic rights that began during the World War II years and continued through the rise of the Black Panthers in the late 1960s. This struggle yielded a wide-ranging and profound critique of postwar metropolitan development and its foundation of class and racial segregation. Self traces the roots of the 1978 tax revolt to the 1940s, when home owners, real estate brokers, and the federal government used racial segregation and industrial property taxes to forge a middle-class lifestyle centered on property ownership. Using the East Bay as a starting point, Robert Self gives us a richly detailed, engaging narrative that uniquely integrates the most important racial liberation struggles and class politics of postwar America.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691124865
ISBN-10: 0691124868
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Pages: 408
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 8-Aug-2005
Country of Publication: United States

Books By Author Robert O. Self

All in the Family by Robert O. Self All in the Family, Paperback (October 2013)

Argues that the separate threads of that realignment - from civil rights to women's rights, from the antiwar movement to Nixon's "silent majority," from the abortion wars to gay marriage, from the welfare state to neoliberal economic policies - all ran through the politicized American family.

» View all books by Robert O. Self

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Author Biography - Robert O. Self

Robert O. Self is Assistant Professor of History at Brown University.

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