Black Spokane

Black Spokane

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In 1981, decades before mainstream America elected Barack Obama, James Chase became the first African American mayor of Spokane, Washington, with the overwhelming support of a majority-white electorate. Chasea€™s win failed to capture the attention of historiansa€”as had the century-long evolution of the black community in Spokane. In Black Spokane: The Civil Rights Struggle in the Inland Northwest, Dwayne A. Mack corrects this oversighta€”and recovers a crucial chapter in the history of race relations and civil rights in America. As early as the 1880s, Spokane was a destination for black settlers escaping the racial oppression in the Southa€”settlers who over the following decades built an infrastructure of churches, businesses, and social organizations to serve the black community. Drawing on oral histories, interviews, newspapers, and a rich array of other primary sources, Mack sets the stage for the years following World War II in the Inland Northwest, when an influx of black veterans would bring about a new era of racial issues. His book traces the earliest challenges faced by the NAACP and a small but sympathetic white population as Spokane became a significant part of the national civil rights struggle. International superstars such as Louis a€œSatchmoa€ Armstrong and Hazel Scott figure in this story, along with charismatic local preachers, entrepreneurs, and lawyers who stepped forward as civic leaders. These individualsa€™ contributions, and the black communitya€™s encounters with racism, offer a view of the complexity of race relations in a city and a region not recognized historically as centers of racial strife. But in matters of racea€”from the first migration of black settlers to Spokane, through the politics of the Cold War and the civil rights movement, to the successes of the 1970s and a€™80sa€”Mack shows that Spokane has a story to tell, one that this book at long last incorporates into the larger history of twentieth-century America.employment.23 In Spokane, for instance, some blacks owned and operated an auto collision repair shop, a laundry, a construction company, a hotel, and some restaurants, taverns, and apartment buildings to serve the needs of the blackanbsp;...

Title:Black Spokane
Author:Dwayne A. Mack
Publisher:University of Oklahoma Press - 2014-08-20


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