The Model City: Civil Rights, the Black Panther Party, and the Revolution of Urban Politics in Portland, Oregon
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In recent decades, scholars have praised Portland as a model for urban planning and citizen participation. This thesis complicates Portland's rose-colored image by situating it within recent histories on the long civil rights movement in the West, the Black Panther Party, and civil rights and metropolitan space. The history of Portland's Black Panthers represents an important moment for the black freedom struggle in Northeast Portland's Albina district and for the city's approach to urban planning. Excluded from politics, spatially confined, and subjected to destructive urban renewal projects by the 1960s, blacks in Albina experimented with innovative forms of political participation. These approaches ranged from moderate demands for neighborhood involvement with urban planners to radical, separatist opposition. Although the Panthers' vision of socioeconomic uplift and community control declined, a citywide revolution in politics co-opted their approach, responded to moderate voices, and dismantled much of the undemocratic planning structure in the 1970s.