If There Is No Struggle There Is No Progress

Black Politics in Twentieth-Century Philadelphia

Edited by James Wolfinger, With a Foreword by Heather Ann Thompson
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1927-9
Publication: Jul 22

HC: $110.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1926-2
Publication: Jul 22

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1928-6
Publication: Jul 22

254 pages
6 x 9
1 tables, 20 figs.

Highlighting the creativity, tenacity, and discipline displayed by Black activists in Philadelphia


Philadelphia has long been a crucial site for the development of Black politics across the nation. If There Is No Struggle There Is No Progress provides an in-depth historical analysis—from the days of the Great Migration to the present—of the people and movements that made the city a center of political activism. The editor and contributors show how Black activists have long protested against police abuse, pushed for education reform, challenged job and housing discrimination, and put presidents in the White House.

If There Is No Struggle There Is No Protest emphasizes the strength of political strategies such as the “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” movement and the Double V campaign. It demonstrates how Black activism helped shift Philadelphia from the Republican machine to Democratic leaders in the 1950s and highlights the election of politicians like Robert N. C. Nix, Sr., the first African American representative from Philadelphia. In addition, it focuses on grassroots movements and the intersection of race, gender, class, and politics in the 1960s, and shows how African Americans from the 1970s to the present challenged Mayor Frank Rizzo and helped elect Mayors Wilson Goode, John Street, and Michael Nutter.

If There Is No Struggle There Is No Progress cogently makes the case that Black activism has long been a powerful force in Philadelphia politics.

Contributors: Stanley Keith Arnold, David A. Canton, Clem Harris, Timothy J. Lombardo, Stephen J. McGovern, Abigail Perkiss, Alyssa Ribeiro, Heather Ann Thompson, and the editor

About the Author(s)

James Wolfinger is the Dean of the College of Education and Professor of History and Education at Illinois State University. He is the author of Philadelphia Divided: Race and Politics in the City of Brotherly Love and Running the Rails: Capital and Labor in the Philadelphia Transit Industry.