This book tells the story of Ivory Perry, a black worker and community activist who, for more than thirty years, has distributed the leaflets, carried the picket signs, and planned and participated in the confrontations that were essential to the success of protest movements. Using oral histories and extensive archival research, George Lipsitz examines the culture of opposition through the events of Perry’s life of commitment and illumines the social and political changes and conflicts that have convulsed the United States during the past fifty years.
Introduction: Peace in the Struggle
1. Pine Bluff: The Moral Resources of a Southern Black Community
2. Korea: The Lessons of War
3. St. Louis: Civil Rights and the Industrial City
4. Bogalusa: Civil Rights in a Southern City
5. The War on Poverty: The Emergence of an Organic Intellectual
6. The Rent Strike: Housing Issues and Social Protest
7. Lead Poisoning: Peace and Pain in the Struggle
8. Politics in the Postindustrial City
9. Collective Memory and Social Learning: Deep Like the Rivers
Interviews and Archives
"This powerful book tells of Ivory Perry’s choice of a life of protest not in splendid isolation, but in intimate conversation with our world Perry knows and can tell us what it is to be poor and black in America. His story assigns our task."
—William S. McFeely, University of Georgia
"Those who would understand the changed realities of racial politics in St. Louis and ponder what might lie ahead should not ignore this thoroughly researched, well-written, persuasive book."
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A very rich history of a rank and file leader of the black movement.... Hopefully it will be a prototype for books that emphasize the fact that social movements put up their own leaders whose qualities of leadership are precisely the same as the values and aspirations of the members of the movement."
—George Rawick, University of Missouri at St. Louis