Whose City?: Histories of Urban Governance and Democratic Participation in the U.S. After 1968
The urban uprisings and acute political conflicts experienced by the United States of 1968 emerged from a period of grassroots anger, protest and political mobilization by metropolitan residents, especially people of color. Yet the gravity of the crises – and the condemnation heaped on public officials during and after these violent episodes – provided an opening for black, brown, and white activists to press more aggressively for alternative ways to govern cities and administer public and private services in urban areas. In the years immediately following 1968, metropolitan residents engaged in intensive debates about who should wield power in urban areas and which constituencies should be the focus of urban policymaking.
This panel will consider the results of these mobilizations. Did U.S. urban spaces become more or less democratic after 1968? After these conflicts, did elected officials and policymakers trust residents to participate in shaping the future of their cities? Conversely, did residents trust elected officials to shape the future of the cities?
Kit Smemo, Visiting Fellow, Center for Work, Labor, and Democracy, University of California-Santa Barbara
Richard Anderson, Ph.D. Candidate, History, Princeton University
Michael Glass, Ph.D. Candidate, History, Princeton University
Co-sponsored with the Humanities Council as part of the 1968/2018: Cities on the Edge series.
Image: "Poor Peoples" March on Washington, north Philadelphia, May 14, 1968, Rusty Kennedy, ASP