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The Early Spoils of Integration

The Early Spoils of Integration

(p.199) Seven The Early Spoils of Integration
The Black Child-Savers
Geoff K. Ward
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the changing racial politics of juvenile justice in the postintegration period (1954–70) to assess whether the main agenda was realized. It compares and contrasts developments in the American South, where opposition to racial integration still raged, with the unique black urban metropolis of Harlem, where black child-saving attained its most robust expression, to gauge the variable impact of court-ordered integration. In the 1950s and 1960s, sporadic signs appeared of increasing liberal experimentation with racialized social control, especially where earlier progress in establishing equal protection and representation enabled the development of a more cooperative, multiracial parental state. This chapter also shows that, despite important signs of progress early in the civil rights era, integrated juvenile justice systems ultimately showed strain and buckled under the weight of somewhat unreasonable expectations that they would institutionalize racial justice.

Keywords:   racial politics, American South, black child-saving, American juvenile justice, American democracy, Jim Crow, black youth, black community

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