288 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 13 illus., 3 maps, 7 tables, notes, bibl., index
John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture
African American Migration in the Urban South, 1930-1970
Luther Adams demonstrates that in the wake of World War II, when roughly half the black population left the South seeking greater opportunity and freedom in the North and West, the same desire often anchored African Americans to the South. Way Up North in Louisville explores the forces that led blacks to move to urban centers in the South to make their homes. Adams defines "home" as a commitment to life in the South that fueled the emergence of a more cohesive sense of urban community and enabled southern blacks to maintain their ties to the South as a place of personal identity, family, and community. This commitment to the South energized the rise of a more militant movement for full citizenship rights and respect for the humanity of black people.
Way Up North in Louisville offers a powerful reinterpretation of the modern civil rights movement and of the transformations in black urban life within the interrelated contexts of migration, work, and urban renewal, which spurred the fight against residential segregation and economic inequality. While acknowledging the destructive downside of emerging postindustrialism for African Americans in the Jim Crow South, Adams concludes that persistent patterns of economic and racial inequality did not rob black people of their capacity to act in their own interests.
“A well-told story and a fine example of historiographic method. Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.”
"The book is a concise but solid contribution to the growing field of urban studies and scholarship on the black freedom struggle. The volume will appeal to readers interested in the complexity of black migration to the urban South and the effectiveness of the fight for racial equality in Kentucky."
--Journal of American History
“Adams has written an interesting and informative book. . . . Way Up North in Louisville is well written and well documented and offers a compelling account of African Americans in Louisville during an important period.”
--Journal of African American History
"Adams presents an exciting and fresh contribution to the scholarly understanding of the growth and transformation of Louisville from the 1930s to the 1970s. This book provides important insight into how the changing dynamic of black migration to and settlement in this border city influenced civil rights activism that reverberated beyond the region. Adams recovers, too, whites' activism that both enabled and hobbled blacks' efforts to end segregation."
--Kimberley L. Phillips, The College of William and Mary
"Adams makes a splendid contribution to the historical literature of the post-World War II years in African American and U.S. urban and social history. Grounded in careful research from a variety of primary and secondary sources, this book advances a compelling argument about the meaning of intraregional black population movement to one of the major urban centers of the Jim Crow South."
--Joe William Trotter Jr., Carnegie Mellon University
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