Nelson, H. Viscount
Dr. H. Viscount Nelson is Professor in the Afro-American Studies Department and also is Director of Student Activities at UCLA. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to numerous articles, his publications include America: Changing Times: A Brief History (John Wiley & Sons, 1980), and The Rise and Fall of Modern Black Leadership: Chronicle of a Twentieth-Century Tragedy (University Press of America, 2003).2006 0-7734-5754-2
This book analyzes the role black leaders in Philadelphia played in addressing problems caused by the Great Depression. The historical significance of Philadelphia as a refuge from slavery, the unique relationship between blacks and whites, and the creativity and penchant for leadership displayed by Philadelphians, made the “Quaker City” an excellent backdrop for study. Since colonial times, black Philadelphians established the standards and norms of leadership emulated by African Americans of prominence. While Philadelphia serves as the primary locale of the study, the roles played by African American leaders residing in cities throughout the United States also received attention. Chapters on the economic crisis as it related to housing, politics, education, the local NAACP, and black institutional life offer insight in to the problems and problem-solving expertise of sable spokespersons in Philadelphia. Class versus racial issues provided an ancillary theme of the book. Black leaders had to decide whether the dedication toward racial amelioration exceeded concerns harbored by the black bourgeoisie. Indeed, the motives of contemporary black spokespersons may be gleaned from the actions and decisions made by Philadelphia’s black leadership during the depression era. This work should appeal to high school and college students and anyone interested in history, sociology, and psychology.