Northwestern Events Calendar


From Movement to Order: Black Power Cities and Urban Political Development

When: Friday, April 7, 2023
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM CT

Where: Scott Hall, Room 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student

Contact: Ariel Sowers   (847) 491-7454

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Please join the Comparative Historical Social Sciences and the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Workshop as they host Dr. Kimberley Johnson, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and Affiliate Faculty Member of the Wagner School of New York University.

The book explores the different conditions under which Black Power Urbanism emerged and developed by tracing its path across four different Black metropolitan spaces. In California, it focuses on the mid-sized city of Oakland and suburban East Palo Alto; and in New Jersey, the city of Newark and East Orange, its suburban neighbor. Using these four cities as case study sites, I trace the factors that shaped the Black Power Urbanism’s growth, its fragility, and its demise (in the case of Oakland and East Palo Alto), as well as its durability and evolution (in the case of Newark and East Orange). The case study approach used here shows neither protest or urban insurgency models, or a traditional “Black Mayors” electoral-based analytical approach, are sufficient to explain shaping each city’s developmental path. Only a focus on what people imagined and tried to put into place, both within and outside of the sphere of “government,” and across the varied nodes and path of 20th century American state, can explain how Black Power Urbanism was initially taken up in these cities, and the subsequently divergent paths that ensued. 

Dr. Kimberley Johnson is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and Affiliate Faculty Member of the Wagner School of New York University. Johnson’s research focuses on American and urban political development, urban and local politics, and race and ethnic politics. Johnson is the author of two books, Reforming Jim Crow (2010) and Governing the American State (2007) and numerous articles on American political development and its intersection with racial and ethnic politics. Current research projects focus on African American urban and suburban politics.  Johnson is completing a book manuscript, tentatively titled, Dark Concrete, exploring the development of black power urbanism in Newark and East Orange, New Jersey and Oakland and East Palo Alto, California.

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