Developments in Racial and Ethnic Politics
Twenty-five years ago, the focus of minority politics in America was almost exclusively on black-white relations. The central goal of the civil rights movement then was to end discrimination against African-Americans using a strategy that combined symbolic protest with litigation and political mobilization. Responding to the ferment of liberal activism and working with the bountiful resources of an expanding economy, Congress passed landmark legislation that aspired to eliminate inner-city poverty, ban institutional discrimination, and offer novel educational and commercial opportunities to African-Americans. African-Americans formed coalitions with liberal whites to elect black candidates to local, state, and national offices in areas where blacks had long been denied representation (Browning, Marshall, and Tabb, 1986; Sonenshein, 1990). On America’s college campuses, the civil rights ferment led to the creation of new black politics courses that introduced a generation of students to the thinking of African-American writers such as Eldridge Cleaver and Malcom X, and to the history and culture of the African-American community.
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