The Long Crisis: New York City and the Path to Neoliberalism (Oxford University Press, 2021) traces how the turn to the market in the late twentieth century was shepherded by an unlikely force: local people struggling to preserve public services. The ascent of market-based policies, the book argues, was driven less by explicitly pro-market ideologies than by New Yorkers experimenting with novel ways to maintain a robust civic life in the face of the city’s budget woes.
I am currently working on my second book, “Smash the Klan”: Fighting the White Power Movement in the Late Twentieth Century, which examines the activist network that took root in cities such as Atlanta, Durham, and Louisville to combat the national resurgence of white supremacist organizing in the late 1970s and 1980s. This multiracial coalition – comprised largely of black freedom struggle veterans alongside young activists – formed groups like the National Anti-Klan Network in 1979 (which became the Center for Democratic Renewal in 1986). I trace how this movement used a litany of tactics – protests, lawsuits, and media campaigns – to curtail the growth of white power organizations and to bring attention to the subtler forms of white supremacy that pervaded American society.
“Smash the Klan” has been generously supported by a North Caroliniana Society Archie K. Davis Fellowship, a Smith College Madeleine L’Engle Travel Research Fellowship, a Duke University Mary Lily Research Travel, an Emory University Rose Library Short-term Fellowship, and a PSC-CUNY Research Award.
"Adopt a Building" flier, circa mid-1970s
Benjamin Holtzman Ben Holtzman History Brown