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White Ethnic New YorkJews, Catholics, and the Shaping of Postwar Politics$
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Joshua M. Zeitz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830956

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807872802_zeitz

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(p.141) 6 Race
White Ethnic New York

Joshua M. Zeitz

University of North Carolina Press

In November 1966, New York City voters approved a referendum that defeated the Civilian Complaint Review Board, created by Mayor John Lindsay to hear official charges of police misconduct. Three years before, President John F. Kennedy began receiving reports from Democratic Party operatives that his proposed civil rights initiative was generating a certain “backlash” in northern cities. Also in 1966, incumbent California Governor Edmund “Pat” Brown lost in the election to Ronald Reagan, whose campaign appealed to voters' racial fears. This chapter examines race relations in New York City in the late 1950s and 1960s in the context of the civil rights movement. It looks at the prevalence of racism in the city as reflected by housing discrimination and school desegregation, as well as the tendency of both Jews and Catholics to view African Americans with a strong measure of cultural disdain and fear. It also considers the skepticism of Jews and Catholics towards integration and their contrasting approaches to city politics.

Keywords:   racism, race relations, New York City, civil rights movement, housing discrimination, school desegregation, Jews, Catholics, African Americans, politics

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