Impact of Military Desegregation on Segregation Patterns in American Cities

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Investigates the significance of military institutions and their impact on metropolitan level racial and ethnic segregation. By examining the level of segregation, racial composition, and neighborhood characteristics, in neighborhoods considered to be highly impacted by a military institution, the objectives are (1) to demonstrate an institutional effect on segregation at the metropolitan-level; and (2) to assess the social and geographic impact of military institutions in locations where they are dominant. To achieve these objectives, U.S. census data, institutional policy, and community housing market analyses are examined to illustrate the impact of military and institutional policies on metropolitan level segregation and other socioeconomic characteristics.


“Dr Smith discusses a specific problem in urban sociology: the segregation of American neighborhoods according to race and ethnicity. She reviews the theories that have been proposed to explain segregation, each with its own advantages and problems. She shows that cities with a high military presence are unique because they tend to have lower levels of segregation, positing that the desegregation of the military by Harry Truman in 1948 had perhaps set the stage for lower segregation . . . The ramifications are profound: by finding that the military has impacted segregation primarily in cities where the military presence has grown since the desegregation of the military, the question for urban sociology becomes, ‘could other institutions in our past, such as textile mills and automotive plants, have had an influence in segregating other cities?” – Dr. Alexander R. Thomas, Chair – Sociology Department, S.U.N.Y. College at Oneonta

Table of Contents

List of Tables
List of Figures
Foreword by Alexander R. Thomas
1 Truman’s Historic Order
2 The Military
3 Segregation and the City
4 Studying Military Segregation
5 Colorado Springs, Colorado
6 The North and the South
7 Military Metropolitan Areas
8 Discussion and Conclusion

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