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Department Stores and the Black Freedom MovementWorkers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s$
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Traci Parker

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469648675

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648675.001.0001

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Worker-Consumer Alliances and the Modern Black Middle Class, 1951–1970

Worker-Consumer Alliances and the Modern Black Middle Class, 1951–1970

Chapter:
(p.148) 5 Worker-Consumer Alliances and the Modern Black Middle Class, 1951–1970
Source:
Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement
Author(s):

Traci Parker

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469648675.003.0006

The movement in southern cities is the subject of chapter 5. It explores black worker-consumer alliances (built on “linked fate”) in sit-in demonstrations and their utility in helping black southerners claim middle-class citizenship during the civil rights movement. From Washington, D.C., to Charlotte to Nashville, African Americans organized widely publicized sit-ins and picket lines to force the desegregation of public accommodations and democratization of the transitional nature of customer-business interactions. But African Americans had other goals. What began as protests aimed at restructuring the physical space of the public sphere and procuring the right to experience the indulgences of customer service often grew into organized endeavors to dismantle the formidable barriers to black economic emancipation. These endeavors maintained a broad understanding of the black community’s shared interests and involved challenging segregation and discrimination in the marketplace on behalf of black customers and workers.

Keywords:   Sit-in movement, Hecht’s department, Coordinating Committee for the Enforcement of D.C. Anti-Discrimination Laws (CCEAD), Washington, D.C, Charlotte, Worker-consumer alliances, Linked fate, W.T. Grant, Selective patronage movement

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