The politics of race and public space: Desegregation, privatization, and the tax revolt in Atlanta

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Abstract

Focusing on the city of Atlanta in the late 1950s and early 1960s, this article examines the ways in which the desegregation of public spaces, such as golf courses, buses, and parks, helped crystallize two central elements of suburban conservatism - privatization and the "tax revolt." As such spaces desegregated, white Atlantans fled from them and created private alternatives instead. As they did, they also fought to take their finances with them, staging an early, though often overlooked, tax revolt, rebelling against the use of their taxes to support municipal spaces and services they no longer used. As this article demonstrates, white flight as was not merely a physical retreat of whites from the city to the suburbs. Their withdrawal first unfolded in a less literal sense, as they withdrew their support - political, social, and financial - from a city and a society that they believed had already abandoned them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-633
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Urban History
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

Keywords

  • Backlash
  • Desegregation
  • Race
  • Tax
  • White flight

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