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The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis
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More importantly, as the reviewer below notes, is that "community control" was seen as as the last-ditch solution to the persistent problems faced by African-Americans in the school system. They were (and are) getting third-rate educations. The argument was (and is): why? "Cultural" reasons? Racism? If the African-American community ran its own schools, the argument went, black children would learn better. For various reasons, many of them political, it didn't turn out that way. The most important result was to divide the city by race--especially the Jews from the blacks.
One of the key points made by this book is that the Ocean Hill-Brownsville strike had the effect of making New York Jews "white" in the sense that they joined with their Italian and Irish outer-borough neighbors against the blacks. This seismic shift has largely remained intact.
You can easily get by with reading only chapters 1-3, 5-6.
Read this book if you have an interest in New York City history, politics of the "white backlash", and/or the rise of conservatism in the 1970s.
However, Albert Shanker and the American Federation of Teachers used this as an excuse to strike the entire district. Their goal was to cripple NYC's attempt to give local communities some control over their schools. The strike was totally devoid of any progressive content that unionists and their supporters could be proud of. It was a racist strike, aimed at African-Americans in Oceanhill, Puerto Ricans in East Harlem, and a multicultured district on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Shanker, it might be remembered, was cited in Woody Allen's movie, "Sleeper." The hero awoke to a world that had, at one time, been laid waste by nuclear weapons. When asked how the war started he was told, "It all started when a man named Albert Shanker got The Bomb."
I was a student teacher in Oceanhill in 1969, the spring following the strike. I was also a member of the AFT for the five years I taught public school. This was a period just after the civil rights struggle had passed its peak. Community control was an effort to counteract the historical racial inequities that plague public school in this country.
Readers who want a feel for a successful desegregation fight should try Davidson Douglas, Reading, Writing and Race: The Desegregation of the Charlotte (NC) Schools. I taught kindergarten there for two years during the height of the bussing controversy. See also The Battle of Boston, by Jon Hillson.
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A good book that focuses on an important period in New York's history.Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer