The Economic Civil Rights Movement: African Americans and the Struggle for Economic Power, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Economic Civil Rights Movement

African Americans and the Struggle for Economic Power, 1st Edition

Edited by Michael Ezra


214 pages

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Economic inequalities have been perhaps the most enduring problem facing African Americans since the civil rights movement, despite the attention they have received from activists. Although the civil rights movement dealt successfully with injustices like disenfranchisement and segregated public accommodations, economic disparities between blacks and whites remain sharp, and the wealth gap between the two groups has widened in the twenty-first century.

The Economic Civil Rights Movement is a collection of thirteen original essays that analyze the significance of economic power to the black freedom struggle by exploring how African Americans fought for increased economic autonomy in an attempt to improve the quality of their lives. It covers a wide range of campaigns ranging from the World War II era through the civil rights and black power movements and beyond. The unfinished business of the civil rights movement primarily is economic. This book turns backward toward history to examine the ways African Americans have engaged this continuing challenge.


"These 13 essays, ably edited by Michael Ezra (Sonoma State Univ.), seek to highlight the economic dimensions and concerns of "the long civil rights movement"…[a] very nice collection of essays…Highly recommended." - R. M. Hyser, Choice

“…there is much insightful analysis throughout the book to warrant engaged reading…many of the essays in this collection…explore neglected or understudied topics…”-Francis Shor, Wayne State University, USA

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Economic Dimensions of the Black Freedom Struggle Michael Ezra Part I: African American Campaigns for Economic Power Before the Civil Rights Movement, 1925-1954 1. A. Philip Randolph, Early Pioneer: The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, National Negro Congress, and the March on Washington Movement Rhonda Jones 2. Mary McLeod Bethune, the National Council of Negro Women, and the Prewar Push for Equal Opportunity in Defense Projects gloria-yvonne 3. The Brooklyn Urban League and Equal Employment Opportunity in New York’s War Industries Carla J. DuBose 4. Early Economic Civil Rights in Washington, DC: The New Negro Alliance, Howard University, and the Interracial Workshop Derek Charles Catsam 5. The Moral Economy of Postwar Radical Interracial Summer Camping Orion A. Teal 6. The NAACP Boycott of the Amos ‘n’ Andy Show Justin T. Lorts Part II: African American Campaigns for Economic Power During the Civil Rights Era and Beyond 7. Economic Civil Rights Activism in Pensacola, Florida J. Michael Butler 8. Muhammad Ali’s Main Bout: African American Economic Power and the World Heavyweight Title Michael Ezra 9. Operation Breadbasket in Chicago: Between Civil Rights and Black Capitalism Enrico Beltramini 10. Progress Plaza: Leon Sullivan, Zion Investment Associates, and Black Power in a Philadelphia Shopping Center Stephanie Dyer 11. Black Power on the Factory Floor Kieran W. Taylor 12. Acquiring "A Piece of the Action": The Rise and Fall of the Black Capitalism Movement Ibram H. Rogers 13. Soul City, North Carolina and the Business of Black Power Christopher B. Strain

About the Editor

Michael Ezra is Associate Professor in the American Multicultural Studies Department at Sonoma State University, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in African American History

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
HISTORY / Social History