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The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women's Struggles Against Urban Inequality (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities) Paperback – December 8, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0195306514 ISBN-10: 0195306511

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Product Details

  • Series: Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195306511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195306514
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.7 x 5.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...takes an important look at how the trajectory of public housing in this country was experienced, embraced, contested, and resisted by those who lived in the developments Williams [reminds] us that while public housing may have failed, that does not always mean that those who lived there failed."--American Historical Review

"This is an important book that should be read by policy makers, activists, and scholars alike. The story of public housing is one that needs to be remembered." --Political Science Quarterly

" intimate account of the leadership of black women in public-housing policy.... Her creative use of oral history and straightforward writing style enhance her central thesis.... Williams's description and analysis of black women and public-housing policy add a new dimension to the growing body of scholarship on this topic, and she should be applauded for her efforts."--Journal of Southern History

"Williams has exquisitely and mercifully corrected the deeply etched image of public housing as an utter failure. Her carefully researched, well-written and critically balanced study of public housing forces housers, historians, political scientists, and sociologists alike to reconsider the pall of negativism that at least since 1957 has beclouded all conversation about public housing and about the enduring need for government support for decent, low-income housing."--The Journal of American History

"Well-researched, well-written.... Highly recommended."--Choice

"Her carefully researched volume chronicles the personal lives and political activism of the low-income women who voiced their claims for 'rights, respect, and representation' in public housing and beyond. Using personal histories culled from more than 50 interviews, Williams vividly demonstrates these women's setbacks and triumphs.... this is a valuable look at social welfare policy."--Publishers Weekly

"Baltimore native Williams demonstrates how poor black women mobilized to address the evolving crisis in Baltimore's public housing. In the 1930s and 1940s, Baltimore's segregated public housing served mostly whites, but both black and white residents felt grateful for the new apartments. Before long, local corruption and obdurate racism along with income caps and white mobility left public housing only to the black poor. City officials ignored deteriorating buildings and rising crime rates, while urban renewal further displaced and isolated poor black families. The Civil Rights Movement, the War on Poverty, and the welfare rights movement found a ready constituency in the projects, and black women became "part of the vanguard of community activists"--Cynthia Harrison, George Washington University, Library Journal

About the Author

Rhonda Y. Williams is Associate Professor of Women's Studies and History at Case Western Reserve University.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Emmaus J. on January 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In this landmark case study, historian Rhonda Y. Williams redefines postwar urban history by placing black women's struggles at the center of an engaging and richly detailed narrative. Specifically, Williams focuses on the housing activism of poor black women in Baltimore to craft a story that expands the contours of the black freedom movement. By detailing the activism of low income women around everyday issues of "housing, food, clothing, and daily life in community spaces"--what the author describes as "activism at the point of consumption--The Politics of Public Housing unveils a hidden history of political struggle. Ultimately, this book chronicles the lives and heroic activism of tenants, community organizers, and single mothers who demanded dignity instead of demonization and held onto their self-respect in the face of horrible living conditions, insensitive bureacrats, and stigmas against pubic housing residents that relegated them to the political margins. Rhonda Y. Williams has successfully rescued these women's stories from history's dustbin and in the process produced a groundbreaking work of history. Readers interested in African-American, women's, urban, and working class history will enjoy this book.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dev on December 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I has to read this book for my Integrative Studies class at Michigan State. I was enlightened on the subject of urban housing and the women who lived and worked in them. Toward the middle end, the book got very repetitive and it dragged along. This was ok. The Author could have done a better job.
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