Living in the Struggle: Black Power, Gay Liberation, and Women’s Liberation Movements in Atlanta, 1964-1996
POPE-DISSERTATION-2018.pdf (2.164Mb)(embargoed until: 2023-11-01)
MetadataShow full item record
CitationPope, Andrew. 2018. Living in the Struggle: Black Power, Gay Liberation, and Women’s Liberation Movements in Atlanta, 1964-1996. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractLiving in the Struggle examines the activism of poor and working class people after the Civil Rights Act made Jim Crow illegal. My research indicates that a diverse set of activists collaborated to assert control over federal antipoverty programs. This collaboration led to thousands of residents forming coalitions across racial, gender, and sexual lines to continue what they called “the struggle”: a decades long effort to make Atlanta a more just place. The struggle did not accomplish all of its goals. Still, my work demonstrates that the three movements achieved incremental public policy improvements through disruptive tactics and demands for non-incremental changes. The movements also set up social service institutions to meet the needs of residents in neighborhoods neglected by the city. Throughout my dissertation, I argue activists in the Black Power movement drew on, and contributed to, the tactics and resources of the gay liberation and women’s liberation movements.
In contrast to historians who argue that there was no Black Power movement in the South, I contend that poor African Americans in Atlanta embraced Black Power tenets while working to realize the legal gains made during the civil rights movement. Unlike most histories of Black Power that rely on the study of young male activists to conclude that it was homophobic or misogynistic, my analysis of a wider range of activists indicates that it was a hopeful and inclusive ideology for the vast majority of its participants. By documenting how African Americans participated in the gay liberation and women’s liberation movements, I also refute the dominant interpretation that depicts the movements as primarily white. Instead, I show how working class black queer activists pioneered new social movement strategies that addressed intersecting oppressions under the aegis of single organizations. My project intervenes in American political history by demonstrating how these movements built lasting political networks, even at the height of the conservative backlash to the civil rights movement.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41121238
- FAS Theses and Dissertations