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Black America in the Shadow of the Sixties: Notes on the Civil Rights Movement, Neoliberalism, and Politics
by Clarence Lang
University of Michigan Press, 2015
Paper: 978-0-472-05266-0 | eISBN: 978-0-472-12110-6 | Cloth: 978-0-472-07266-8
Library of Congress Classification E185.615.L26 2015
Dewey Decimal Classification 323.11960730904


The 1960s, including the black social movements of the period, are an obstacle to understanding the current conditions of African Americans, argues Clarence Lang. While Americans celebrate the current anniversaries of various black freedom milestones and the election of the first black president, the effects of neoliberalism since the 1970s have been particularly devastating to African Americans. Neoliberalism, which rejects social welfare protections in favor of individual liberty, unfettered markets, and a laissez-faire national state, has produced an environment in which people of color struggle with unstable employment, declining family income, rising household debt, increased class stratification, and heightened racial terrorism and imprisonment. The book argues that a reassessment of the Sixties and its legacies is necessary to make better sense of black community, leadership, politics, and the prospects for social change today. Combining interdisciplinary scholarship, political reportage, and personal reflection, this work sheds powerful light on the forces underlying the stark social and economic circumstances facing African Americans today, as well as the need for cautious optimism alongside sober analysis.

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