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I Believe in the City: The Black Freedom Struggle and the 1968 Civil Disturbances in Washington, D.C. Open Access

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This dissertation examines the causes of the 1968 civil disturbances in Washington, D.C., how the disturbances have been understood and interpreted, and the legacy of the events. Answers to these questions posed in historical accounts of D.C. in April 1968, I conclude, are insufficient or inadequate. While one cannot whitewash the damage done to Washington nor deny the reality of the high crime rates in the late 1960s, there is more to the story of the civil disturbances than burned-out buildings and white backlash. It is just as important to illuminate the activism that preceded the upheaval and the subsequent efforts to rebuild D.C. This dissertation adds important nuance to historical understanding of what sparks urban uprisings, why people choose to participate, and the ways these incidents are politicized.

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