Unmaking the ghetto
Community development and persistent social inequality in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia
ByBrian Purnell
Pages 19

Race, class, and space have served as the most important indicators of social inequality in American ghettos. In order to develop a fuller understanding of how activists tried to unmake ghettos, historians must also add analyses of gender to this trinity. After a brief overview of the history that made American ghettos, this chapter presents case studies to show how three black activist communities worked in the mid-to-late 1960s to unmake ghettos. In each case, activists directly attacked the social relations of power race, space, and class that perpetuated economic and social inequality in their communities. The Brooklyn case study specifically shows the important work that black women did in unmaking the ghetto, and what was lost when men diminished their leadership roles. The Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (CBCC) had worked on issues related to overcrowding, health and wellness, and youth organizing for over ten years before it received substantial outside attention.