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Beyond the Book

304 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones, 3 maps, notes, bibl., index

Gender and American Culture

ISBN  978-1-4696-1988-0
Published: April 2015

Mobilizing New York

AIDS, Antipoverty, and Feminist Activism

By Tamar W. Carroll

Examining three interconnected case studies, Tamar Carroll powerfully demonstrates the ability of grassroots community activism to bridge racial and cultural differences and effect social change. Drawing on a rich array of oral histories, archival records, newspapers, films, and photographs from post–World War II New York City, Carroll shows how poor people transformed the antipoverty organization Mobilization for Youth and shaped the subsequent War on Poverty. Highlighting the little-known National Congress of Neighborhood Women, she reveals the significant participation of working-class white ethnic women and women of color in New York City's feminist activism. Finally, Carroll traces the partnership between the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and Women's Health Action Mobilization (WHAM!), showing how gay men and feminists collaborated to create a supportive community for those affected by the AIDS epidemic, to improve health care, and to oppose homophobia and misogyny during the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s. Carroll contends that social policies that encourage the political mobilization of marginalized groups and foster coalitions across identity differences are the most effective means of solving social problems and realizing democracy.

About the Author

Tamar W. Carroll is assistant professor of history at Rochester Institute of Technology.


“A remarkable book...Uses rich, new materials to weave several historiographies together into a compelling analysis of mobilization for social and political equality in New York City”

“[A] dazzling rarity of a book. . . . A textured, satisfying account of social movement organizing.”
--Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000

“Analytically sophisticated, historically informed, and original. . . . An amazing study of the historical linkages among grassroots movements and community activists.”
--Journal of American History

"A testament to the power of people's voices and the importance of acknowledging the whole, intersectional aspect of their identities to build communities and create change."
--Oral History Review

"Carroll has captured the New York I grew up in, evoking the creativity and emotional power of social activism in the 1960s and of people unified across lines of class, race, and gender, struggling to keep hold of the working-class soul of the city."
--Annelise Orleck, author of Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900–1965

"Much of the evidence in this book flies in the face of stereotypes about the second-wave feminist movement and frames its history in new ways. This is a very valuable study."
--Sara Evans, University of Minnesota

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