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Harambee City : The Congress of Racial Equality in Cleveland and the Rise of Black Power Populism
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In Harambee City, Nishani Frazier explores black power’s rise within the Congress of Racial Equality and Cleveland’s essential role in this transition.
From CORE’s beginnings, the civil rights group was more fluid in its philosophies than might be assumed, with challenges to the concept of interracial nonviolent brotherhood coming from both inside and outside of the organization. These challenges were particularly pronounced in Cleveland, Ohio. From the 1940s through the 1960s, the Cleveland chapter epitomized CORE ambiguities with a tendency toward black organizational control, self-help, and self-defense, all of which eventually became foundations for black power.
Some of the Cleveland CORE members rose to positions within CORE’s national office, where they pushed for an open embrace of black power and grew their political and economic power. The Cleveland faction also brought with them a unique notion of black community uplift that moved CORE toward community development, a shift to economic populism that greatly shaped CORE’s black power period.
Harambee City corrects elements of national CORE’s early history, asserts the significant contributions of Cleveland CORE leaders, and focuses attention on the economic strategies of the movement. Readers will gain a new understanding about black power within CORE and gain insight into how CORE became one of the most dynamic civil rights organizations in the black power era.