Black Atlantic Politics

Dilemmas of Political Empowerment in Boston and Liverpool

By William E. Nelson Jr.

Subjects: African American Studies
Series: SUNY series in African American Studies
Paperback : 9780791446720, 364 pages, August 2000
Hardcover : 9780791446713, 364 pages, August 2000

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Foreword by James Jennings



Part One: Black Atlantic Politics

Chapter 1. The Black Atlantic: Race and Local Politics

Chapter 2. Boston and Liverpool: A Tale of Two Cities

Part Two: Black Politics in Boston

Chapter 3. Boston: City Governance and Black Political Empowerment

Chapter 4. Black Political Linkage: The Search for Alternative Sources of Power

Chapter 5. Boston: Strategic Dimensions of Black Politics

Chapter 6. Resource Mobilization and Black Political Linkage

Part Three: Black Politics in Liverpool

Chapter 7. Liverpool: Local Governance and Black Political Empowerment

Chapter 8. The Toxteth Riots and the Race Policy Agenda

Chapter 9. Liverpool: Political Strategies and Political Empowerment

Chapter 10. Linkage Politics and Political Resources

Part Four: Comparative Racial Politics

Chapter 11. Boston and Liverpool: The Comparative Context of Black Politics



Groundbreaking research on Black political participation and urban race relations on both sides of the Atlantic.


Winner of the 2000 Best Book on Comparative Racial and Ethnic Politics Presented by the American Political Science Association, Section of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

This first comprehensive comparative study of Black politics focuses on American and British settings—Boston and Liverpool. The author argues that Black communities on both sides of the Atlantic face a host of social, economic, and political constraints produced by hierarchical racial systems that promote White dominance and Black subordination.

Built on a strong historical foundation and on interviews with over 150 political activists, academicians, politicians, and public administrators, this study examines some of the most important issues in the field of urban politics: the mobilization of bias in the political system, race and class constraints on the exercise of political influence, the impact of racial and political ideologies on the external policy environment, dilemmas associated with the mobilization of minority leadership, Black electoral strategies and political participation, the social consequences of urban regeneration, urban riots, school desegregation, the development of effective Black political resources, and conflict and cooperation in the internal politics of the Black community.

William E. Nelson Jr. is Research Professor of African American and African Studies and Professor of Political Science at The Ohio State University. He is coauthor (with Philip Meranto) of Electing Black Mayors: Political Action in the Black Community.


"This is a pioneering book. It offers an innovative conceptualization using new and different data and a longitudinal perspective. It thinks about racial politics in a bold and different way. A landmark study. " — Hanes Walton Jr. , author of Invisible Politics: Black Political Behavior

"An intellectual triumph! The author offers a very refreshing approach to Black politics. The interviews on both sides of the Atlantic are outstanding. I know Boston best and Nelson's understanding of city politics is remarkable. I learned much from reading this book. " — Wilbur C. Rich, coeditor of Governing Middle-Sized Cities: Studies in Mayoral Leadership