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Beyond IntegrationThe Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida, 1960-1980$
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J. Michael Butler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627472

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627472.001.0001

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Legacy of a Struggle

Legacy of a Struggle

(p.244) Chapter Ten Legacy of a Struggle
Beyond Integration

J. Michael Butler

University of North Carolina Press

In 1984, Pensacola and Escambia County implemented new election procedures for public office. Existing demographic data, however, indicates that political alterations did little to change the social and economic disparities between American Americans and whites in Northwest Florida during the 1980s and 1990s. The area continued to endure repeated incidents of police brutality against black citizens, and debates regarding the public display of Confederate symbols in public places often resurfaced. Yet attempts to organize in either traditional or new ways provided little relief for Panhandle residents. The failed campaigns of the 1970s, therefore, created a deep mistrust of traditional institutions such as the political process and formal civil rights organizations among African Americans, and did little to alter the economic and educational inequities that plague Escambia County race relations into the twenty-first century. African American powerlessness to alter racial status quo, influence the local power structure to acknowledge the validity of black concerns, or initiate meaningful reform in those areas remain the most enduring legacy of the area freedom struggle.

Keywords:   Police brutality, Confederate symbols, Escambia County race relations, Economic and educational inequities, African American powerlessness

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