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A Nation of NeighborhoodsImagining Cities, Communities, and Democracy in Postwar America$
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Benjamin Looker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226073989

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226290454.001.0001

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Brilliant Corners

Brilliant Corners

Representing the Inner City, from Outside and from Within

(p.165) Six Brilliant Corners
A Nation of Neighborhoods

Benjamin Looker

University of Chicago Press

While social scientists and policy experts wrestled over the relationship between the “ghetto” and the “neighborhood,” a new cadre of cultural workers used representational formats to urge a reassessment of the place-based loyalties of the inner cities. A question that consumed various 1960s cultural workers was how to represent areas of physical devastation and economic deprivation without dehumanizing their inhabitants or erasing their histories. Chapter 6 surveys three distinct answers, as established in the output of the photographer Bruce Davidson, the social psychiatrist Robert Coles, and the museum director John Kinard. By documenting neighborhood relationships in low-income city cores, each sought to displace liberal hand-wringing and conservative condemnation with more affirming portrayals of everyday local life. But while Davidson and Coles were outsiders looking in, seeking to discover evidence of neighborhoods and neighborliness, Kinard and his colleagues at Washington, D.C.'s Anacostia Neighborhood Museum instead framed African-American neighborhood histories as potent tools in contemporary civil-rights struggles.

Keywords:   inner-city, neighborhood, photographer, psychiatrist, museum, representation, Bruce Davidson, Robert Coles, John Kinard, Anacostia

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