David Goldberg

Publication Date



{Excerpt} As the contributors to this book show, confrontations with the building trades unions became a critical axis for the rise of Black Power and community control politics, and provide a means for us to rethink the history of Black Power through the fusion by the movement of community control and labor organizing. By tracing the evolution of these activists' organizing methods and analysis, we show that African American grassroots struggles to desegregate the construction industry provided a major, and in some cities the, means through which Black Power movements became ascendant in African American urban politics. Only through close attention to local politics are these profound cultural and political shifts visible. Because of their decentralized quality, the movements for community control of the construction industry varied by city, based on the idiosyncratic nature of the specific African American communities and political networks from which they emerged. These differences were accentuated by weak federal enforcement of affirmative action plans, which relied on a strategy of localism that placed the origin, evolution, and fate of construction industry affirmative action plans primarily in the hands of local actors and courts .


The abstract, table of contents, and first twenty-five pages are published with permission from the Cornell University Press. For ordering information, please visit the Cornell University Press