Chicago and the Science of Race Relations

in Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226684482
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226684505 | DOI:
Chicago and the Science of Race Relations

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The trials of the war years, the constant pressure of being caught between intransigent bosses and, in Weaver's view, unrealistic activists, took their toll prompting his resignation from the War Manpower Commission. His departure marked a major turning point in Weaver's career, beginning a decade in which he moved almost constantly from job to job in search of a place where he could best use his talents. Weaver's first foray into his new world came in Chicago, a city that was physically and metaphorically at the center of the new regime of American race relations. From World War I through the end of World War II, the city saw its black population skyrocket, as hundreds of thousands of southern blacks boarded trains for what they called the “Promised Land.” Weaver's years in Chicago marked the emergence of a new “science” of race relations: the development and implementation of theories positing that racial antagonism was primarily the result of ignorance. Though the theories took years to fully develop and were attacked as soon as they were formulated, their foundational principle was that, with careful direction from professionally trained experts, racial groups could learn to live in harmony.

Keywords: Robert C. Weaver; African Americans; race relations; racial liberalism; ignorance

Chapter.  8135 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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