Robert Wagner, Milton Galamison, and the Challenge to New York City Liberalism

  • Clarence Taylor


During the mayoralty of one of New York City’s most liberal mayors, Robert F. Wagner (1954–66) the city faced a great deal of racial turmoil. Despite its reputation as a bastion of liberalism and the mayor’s efforts at making New York a place where harmonious race relations existed, Wagner found himself under siege by numerous racial protests. In 1963 a coalition of civil rights groups, including the Brooklyn chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Urban League of Greater New York initiated a sit-in at Mayor Wagner’s office demanding a halt to all construction sponsored by the city until all discriminatory hiring practices were “eliminated.” Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) also began demonstrating at construction sites throughout the city demanding that the state and city governments and the Building and Construction Trade Council hire African Americans. In July of 1963, CORE teamed up with a group of Brooklyn ministers and led a huge protest at the construction site of the Downstate Medical Center where over 700 people were arrested becoming, “jailbirds for freedom” in an attempt to force the state to hire blacks and Puerto Ricans construction workers.1


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    Clarence Taylor, The Black Churches of Brooklyn (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994) 142–63.Google Scholar
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    Clarence Taylor, Knocking at Our Own Door: Milton A. Galamison and the Struggle to Integrate New York City Schools (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2001) xxviii–xxix.Google Scholar
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    Joshua Freeman, Working Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II (New York: The New Press, 2000) 99.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Gayle T. Tate and Lewis A. Randolph 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clarence Taylor

There are no affiliations available

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