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The Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee Paperback – October 30, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (October 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674057295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674057296
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #676,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Think you know the full story of the civil rights era? Patrick Jones's masterful study of the movement in Milwaukee will make you think again. Meticulously researched and elegantly written, The Selma of the North provides a devastating rebuttal of many of the conventional narratives of the civil rights movement. Here a vibrant nonviolent movement in the de-industrializing Midwest grows into a Black Power movement led by urban youth and a white Catholic priest who use confrontational direct action to lay bare the fissures of racial inequality in the 'liberal' North. (Jeanne Theoharis, Brooklyn College)

A well-researched, well-written, and important history. Based on a rich array of sources, this book enhances our understanding of civil rights activism in the postwar urban North and establishes a useful foundation for the comparison of similar developments elsewhere in the country. (Joe William Trotter, Jr., Carnegie Mellon University)

This book fills a serious gap in the literature of the civil rights revolution, joining studies on other cities in laying the groundwork on race and civil rights in the postwar urban North. Jones tells a good story, capturing events that might otherwise be lost to history. (Arnold R. Hirsch, University of New Orleans)

The Selma of the North is an insightful and invigorating addition to the growing literature on black freedom struggles outside of the South. Jones's important and informative account writes Milwaukee back into the narrative of the civil rights-Black Power era and in the process expands our understanding of postwar America. (Peniel E. Joseph, Brandeis University)

The Selma of the North is a riveting new story of the civil rights movement in America, a tale on par with Selma, Birmingham, and Montgomery in its power and importance. Jones's magisterial research and magnetic prose illuminate the untold story of the battle for the urban north in the 1960s, a battle that shows how race has always been the Achilles heel of white progressives. This story transcends easy dichotomies of black and white, North and South, radical and reformist. How did a group called 'the Commandos' define nonviolence? How did a white Catholic priest become a 'Black Power' leader? If this is not a saga for the age of Obama, I don't know what is. (Timothy B. Tyson, author of Blood Done Sign My Name)

A well-researched and fascinating narrative...Jones has produced an outstanding study of the civil rights movement in Milwaukee which should prove a model for investigations of other Northern cities. (Ron Briley History News Network 2009-04-19)

Anyone living in Milwaukee in the '60s and old enough to be aware will recall a time of sharp tension. A riot erupted in the inner city during the summer of 1967, a year of unrest around the nation, and a white Roman Catholic priest organized black youth to march against the segregation that confined African Americans to Milwaukee's poorest, most run-down quarter. Whites responded with violence. And the police were not amused by challenges to the status quo. The story is recounted with lucid scholarship in The Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee. (David Luhrssen Express Milwaukee 2009-05-12)

Selma of the North is a solid entry into the expanding bookshelf on civil rights activism in the North, offering what Jones rightly calls "another tile to the mosaic" of studies about the struggle for racial justice in the twentieth century. (Amanda I. Seligman H-Net 2009-04-01)

About the Author

Patrick D. Jones is Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies, University of Nebraska.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christopher B. Murray on October 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For too long, Civil Rights scholarship was confined to examining the better known events in the south. In recent years we've begun to see a new generation of writers look at the equally important, if not more complicated, topic of activism in the north. Whereas the southern arena tended to be dominated by the struggle for political rights and access to accomodations, the movement up north--where political rights were not so much in question--focused on the more intractable issues of housing, education, and economic freedom. Patrick Jones has provided an essential study of this second wave of Civil Rights advocacy. Moreso, he illuminated an aspect of this struggle far too often overlooked--the role of religion, specifically the part played by Catholic priests, other religious, and lay people.

His work focuses on the bitter conflict over open housing in Milwaukee. With a focus on Fr. James Groppi, Jones illustrates how the streams of Vatican II Catholicism, the Civil Rights movement, and the precarious position of urban white ethnics collided. As also happened in Chicago, Cleveland, and other industrial cities of the north, black migration to the cities in large numbers in the post war years forced these areas to confront race as they never had before. As Jones shows, the result was not always laudable.

Having spent a great deal of time in Milwaukee, I can attest to how well Jones describes the city and its history. His description and integration of Vatican II Catholicism is also spot on. This is a thoroughly researched study, bolstered by interviews with many of the still living participants.

Any honest look at cities like Milwaukee will suggest that much of what was being contested during the 1960s has yet to be adequately addressed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Leahy on January 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Patrick D. Jones offers a new look at Fr. James E. Groppi, the most successful and controversial civil rights activist. Groppi fascinates scholars, since he was a white Catholic priest who led a black power movement in Milwaukee. Jones shows that Groppi and his co-militants saw black power as an attitude, not a color. It is precisely this fact that allowed Groppi and his supporters have success in changing opinion in Milwaukee. While their militant rhetoric and garb upset conservative Milwaukee, it also allowed them to build bridges with white liberals.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Milwaukee Julie on October 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am white; I moved to Milwaukee 30+years ago and have always wondered why we are one of the most segregated cities in the world. Now I know! This is not written like a novel; it is a history of a very important economic an cultural issue for Milwaukee and the north in general.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Schwarzmann on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a thorough look into the civil rights movement in one of the U.S.'s most segregated cities, Milwaukee, which is often overlooked during the most dynamic periods of social interaction and change in U.S. history.

Dr. Patrick Jones writes a detailed yet equally exciting piece on these troubled and trying times.
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