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The Emerging Philadelphia African American Class Structure

Elijah Anderson
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 568, The Study of African American Problems: W. E. B. Du Bois's Agenda, Then and Now (Mar., 2000), pp. 54-77
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1049472
Page Count: 24
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The Emerging Philadelphia African American Class Structure
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Abstract

In The Philadelphia Negro, W. E. B. Du Bois presented a four-class typology of the black community. Today the situation has changed greatly. The enormous social changes of the twentieth century, culminating in the civil rights movement and followed by civil disorders occurring on a wide scale in urban America, resulted in attempts by the wider society to incorporate black Americans through federally mandated social programs such as affirmative action, fair housing legislation, set-asides, and major civil rights legislation. These initiatives helped to defuse much of the tension of the 1960s, but they also set the stage for much greater black participation in American society, leading to tremendous growth in the black middle class. At the same time, these measures of black incorporation, as realized over the past 30 years, have greatly changed the traditional castelike system of race relations. In conjunction with deindustrialization and the simultaneous growth of the global economy, these changes have contributed to a more complex class configuration among blacks.

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