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While the South has traditionally been identified as the base of the most virulent racism, Sokol shows that the North was equally guilty of oppressive practices. While New England and the rest of the North certainly had progressive leanings on many fronts, particularly in bringing elected minority officials into the limelight, it lagged behind in addressing segregation in schools and housing. Massachusetts was one of the bellwether states that could be hailed for its enlightened attitudes in some respects (election of minority officials and penetration of the white power structure in other positions) while it was beset with bitter struggles in dealing with segregation in schools. Springfield was a hotbed of legal quarrels over defining school district lines, and Boston reeled from the ferocious and often violent response to forced busing. New York City was also a center of turbulence. Regarded as the Liberal capital of America, like Massachusetts it reflected both the best and worst of the sentiments and behaviors on the racial spectrum. And again, it would elect minority candidates locally and nationally but was constantly embroiled in violent eruptions, mostly related to incidents of police brutality. It also required some delicate balancing acts, particularly for black politicians who didnt want race as a central issue but couldnt neglect the significant numbers of minority voters. Shirley Chisolm in Brooklyn was one such candidate who had to navigate the treacherous waters of a multi-ethnic and multi-racial electorate. In essence, as Sokol ably shows, the South in the 50s-70s may have clung to preserving the last vestiges of de jure segregation, the North certainly was a bastion of de facto segregation. Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff would create a furor when he denounced the North for its attitudes and practices and the battle over race would intensify in the media and halls of Congress. The only lapse in an otherwise outstanding narrative occurred when dealing with the Shirley Chisolm campaign in Brooklyn. I thought that part could have been condensed some as it really got into the minutiae of local political alliances and voting districts. Quite alien material unless one came from that location. The coverage of Jackie Robinson was outstanding as it showed how he may have been ultimately accepted on the playing field but whites didnt want him and his family as neighbors. The Ed Brooke success in Massachusetts was also a compelling story. Brooke was the first African-American elected to the Senate and from 1966-78 would be the only one elected to multiple terms. As a side quirk, Brooke was a moderate Republican in a heavily Democratic state, enhancing his achievement. Anyone seeking to get a better handle on race relations in the past, and how we have evolved to our modern political and racially charged climate will certainly appreciate this work as it deals with both the big picture and the nuances of how the North has struggled to come to terms with its contradictions on race.



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