Description

Environmental Justice in Postwar America

A Documentary Reader

Edited by Christopher W. Wells
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter

  • Published: July 2018
  • Subject Listing: History / Environmental History; Environmental Studies; African American Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 328 pp., 33 bandw illus., 1 map, 2 tables, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Classics
  • Contents

In the decades after World War II, the American economy entered a period of prolonged growth that created unprecedented affluence-but these developments came at the cost of a host of new environmental problems. Unsurprisingly, a disproportionate number of them, such as pollution-emitting factories, waste-handling facilities, and big infrastructure projects, ended up in communities dominated by people of color. Constrained by long-standing practices of segregation that limited their housing and employment options, people of color bore an unequal share of postwar America's environmental burdens.

This reader collects a wide range of primary source documents on the rise and evolution of the environmental justice movement. The documents show how environmentalists in the 1970s recognized the unequal environmental burdens that people of color and low-income Americans had to bear, yet failed to take meaningful action to resolve them. Instead, activism by the affected communities themselves spurred the environmental justice movement of the 1980s and early 1990s. By the turn of the twenty-first century, environmental justice had become increasingly mainstream, and issues like climate justice, food justice, and green-collar jobs had taken their places alongside the protection of wilderness as "environmental" issues.

Environmental Justice in Postwar America is a powerful tool for introducing students to the US environmental justice movement and the sometimes tense relationship between environmentalism and social justice.

For more information, visit the editor's website: http://cwwells.net/PostwarEJ
Christopher W. Wells is professor of environmental history at Macalester College. He is the author of Car Country: An Environmental History.

"Environmental activists may regard Environmental Justice in Postwar America as absolutely essential to their work."
-Ellen Griffith Spears, author of Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town

"Readers interested in race and ethnic studies, as well as in social justice and urban studies will be drawn to Environmental Justice in Postwar America."
-Kathryn Morse, author of The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush

"This book is a landmark achievement in the field of environmental justice research and the most important historical treatment of the topic I have seen in years."
-David Naguib Pellow, author of What Is Critical Environmental Justice?

"Environmental Justice in Postwar America offers an entirely new take on environmental racism and the environmental justice movement. This book will be an especially useful tool in undergraduate classrooms."
-Laura Pulido, professor of ethnic studies and geography, University of Oregon

Contents
Foreword: The Age of Environmental Inequality / Paul S. Sutter
Acknowledgments
Introduction

PART 1 THE NATURE OF SEGREGATION
"WHERE WE LIVE"
Russell Lee, Shack of Negro Family Farmers Living near Jarreau, Louisiana, 1938
John Vachon, Backed Up Sewer in Negro Slum District, Norfolk, Virginia, 1941
Carl Mydans, Kitchen of Negro Dwelling in Slum Area near House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 1935
Dorothea Lange, Migratory Mexican Field Worker's Home on the Edge of a Frozen Pea Field, Imperial Valley, California, 1937
Home Owners Loan Corporation, Los Angeles Data Sheet D52, 1939
John Vachon, Negro Children Standing in Front of Half Mile Concrete Wall, Detroit, Michigan, 1941
Examples of Racially Restrictive Real Estate Covenants
Arthur S. Siegel, Detroit, Michigan. Riot at the Sojourner Truth Homes, a New U.S. Federal Housing Project, Caused by White Neighbors' Attempt to Prevent Negro Tenants from Moving In, 1942
Craig Thompson, "Growing Pains of a Brand-New City," 1954
Norris Vitchek, "Confessions of a Block-Buster," 1962
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., 1963
Fair Housing Protest, Seattle, Washington, 1964
Fair Housing Act of 1968
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, "Understanding Fair Housing," 1973

"WHERE WE WORK"
Ruby T. Lomax, [Cotton Picking Scenes on Roger Williams Plantation in the Delta, New Drew, Mississippi], 1940
John Vachon, Steel Mill Workers, Bethlehem Company, Sparrows Point, Maryland, 1940
Help Wanted White Only
Lloyd H. Bailer, "The Negro Automobile Worker," 1943
Navajo Miners Work at the Kerr-McGee Uranium Mine at Cove, Ariz., 1953
Mildred Pitts Walter, "Biographical Sketch," September 28, 2017
Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII: Equal Employment Opportunity
Lyndon B. Johnson, Commencement Address at Howard University: "To Fulfill These Rights," 1965"
Exhibit 1 in City of Memphis vs. Martin Luther King, Jr.," 1968

"WHERE WE PLAY"
Victor H. Green, ed., Introduction, The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1950
Lewis Mountain Entrance Sign, Shenandoah National Park
Colored Only Sign
Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City v. Dawson, 1955
Civil Rights Demonstration at Fort Lauderdale's Segregated Public Beach, 1961
Jackson NAACP Branches to City and State Officials, May 12, 1963

PART 2 A MORE INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENTALISM? FROM EARTH DAY TO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
A NEW CIVIL RIGHTS CRITIQUE
Indians of All Tribes, "The Alcatraz Proclamation," 1969
Timothy Benally, "'So a Lot of the Navajo Ladies Became Widows'"
El Malcriado, "Growers Spurn Negotiations on Poisons," 1969
Wilbur L. Thomas Jr., "Black Survival in Our Polluted Cities," 1970

RACE, ENVIRONMENTALISM, AND ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE
Edmund S. Muskie, Speech at the Philadelphia Earth Week Rally, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, April 22, 1970
EPA Task Force on the Environmental Problems of the Inner City, Our Urban Environment and Our Most Endangered People, 1971
John H. White, Chicago Ghetto on the South Side, 1974
Don Coombs, "The [Sierra] Club Looks at Itself," 1972

TOXICS, WARREN COUNTY, AND THE DOCUMENTATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL DISPARITIES
Penelope Ploughman, Protest Signs in Front Yard Love Canal 99th Street Home, 1978
Protest Sign: Danger, Dioxin Kills, 1980
Robert T. Stafford, "Why Superfund Was Needed," 1981
Jenny Labalme, Anti-PCB Protests in Warren County, North Carolina, 1982
"A Warren County PCB Protest Song," 1982
General Accounting Office, "Siting of Hazardous Waste Landfills and Their Correlation with Racial and Economic Status of Surrounding Communities," 1983
Cerrell Associates, Political Difficulties Facing Waste-to-Energy Conversion Plant Siting, 1984
United Church of Christ, "Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States," 1987
United Church of Christ, "Fifty Metropolitan Areas with Greatest Number of Blacks Living in Communities with Uncontrolled Waste Sites," 1987
Marianne Lavelle and Marcia Coyle, "Unequal Protection," 1992

BUILDING THE MOVEMENT
Sam Kittner, The Great Louisiana Toxics March, 1988
Peggy Shepard and Chuck Sutton Protest New York City's North River Sewage Treatment Plant, 1988
SouthWest Organizing Project, "Letter to Big Ten Environmental Groups," March 16, 1990
Mark Gutierrez, From One Earth Day to the Next, 1990
Indigenous Environmental Network, "Unifying Principles," 1991
First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit Press Conference, October 24, 1991
Dana Alston, "Moving beyond the Barriers," 1991
"The Principles of Environmental Justice," 1991
William K. Reilly, "Environmental Equity," 1992
Melissa Healy, "Administration Joins Fight for 'Environmental Justice' Pollution," 1993
William J. Clinton, Executive Order 12898, February 16, 1994
Dorceta E. Taylor, "Women of Color, Environmental Justice, and Ecofeminism," 1997
Luz Claudio, "Standing on Principle"
"Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing," 1996
Public Citizen, "NAFTA's Broken Promises," 1997

PART 3 THE ENVIRONMENT AND JUSTICE IN THE SUSTAINABILITY ERA
INSTITUTIONAL LEGACIES
Richard Moore, "Government by the People"
Christine Todd Whitman, "Memorandum," August 9, 2001
Second People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, "Principles of Working Together," 2002
Robert D. Bullard et al., "Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty," 2007
Marty Durlin, "The Shot Heard Round the West," 2010
Environmental Protection Agency, "Plan EJ 2014," 2011
Kristen Lombardi, Talia Buford, and Ronnie Greene, "Environmental Justice, Denied," 2015

CONTINUING EJ ACTIVISM
Tracy Perkins, Buttonwillow Park, CA, January 30, 2009
Tracy Perkins, Wasco, CA, January 30, 2009
Online Meme on #NoDAPL
Amy Goodman, "Unlicensed #DAPL Guards Attacked Water Protectors with Dogs and Pepper Spray," 2016
Brian Bienkowski, "2017 and Beyond: Justice Jumping Genres," Environmental Health News

FROM ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE TO JUSTICE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
"Bali Principles of Climate Justice," August 29, 2002
Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, "Rising Sea Levels," 2016
Brentin Mock, "For African Americans, Park Access Is about More Than Just Proximity," 2016
Norma Smith Olson, "Food Justice," 2013
Van Jones, "Power Shift Keynote," 2009
World Rainforest Movement, "'For a Change of Paradigm': Interview with Tom Goldtooth from the Indigenous Environmental Network," 2016

Index
Reviews