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Palgrave Macmillan

A Post-Racial Change is Gonna Come

Newark, Cory Booker, and the Transformation of Urban America

ISBN 9781137277718
Publication Date November 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

This work offers a political and historical analysis of Newark's modern politics since 1950, culminating with Mayor Cory Booker's rise to power and prominence both in the city and in American political consciousness. Newark's recent political history offers an interesting case study in mayoral elections, community development, and coalition building politics. While Newark is the quintessential post-industrial city, Booker has received critical attention for his post-racial politics since he frequently bypasses racial and traditional urban politics. At the same time, relations between the mayor, the municipal council, and Newark's diverse communities were often so fractious that sustainable coalition building proved to be an elusive goal to resolve longstanding crime, education, and other social problems. Based on original interviews with Cory Booker, city council members, and other prominent Newark politicians, A Post Racial Change is Gonna Come is a powerful history of how Newark became the focal point for transformative politics in urban America.

Jonathan Wharton is Assistant Professor of Political Science and History at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. Specializing in community development in addition to state and local politics, he has followed urban politics in northern New Jersey for more than a decade. As a former Newark resident and policy researcher, Wharton monitored the mayoral elections and city hall politics in Newark and nearby municipalities. He currently lives across Newark Bay in Jersey City where he is active with his neighborhood community board and county economic development committee.

1. Synthesizing Racial Politics, Coalition Politics and Urban America
2. Newark's Sordid Past and Early Community Development Politics
3. The 2002 and 2006 Mayoral Elections
4. The Mayors' Identity Politics and Their Political Shortcomings
5. Booker's Community Development Initiatives
6. The 2010 Election and Booker's Second Term Honeymoon
7. Newark, Booker and Post-Racial Reality


"Jonathan L. Wharton's A Post-Racial Change is Gonna Come is a fresh approach to understanding African American politics in the current political environment. It is an indispensable upgrade of the key research that gave students of US urban politics and African American politics a deeper understanding of the move from protest to electoral politics and political incorporation more than two decades ago. Wharton's work will inform students of post-Civil Rights era black and urban politics for at least another generation, regardless of Booker's subsequent fate in state and national politics.' - James Lance Taylor, Chair and Professor of Politics, University of San Francisco, USA, and author of Black Nationalism in the United States: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama (2011)
'This book is a wonderful contribution to the literature on African American Politics and the changing politics of race in urban America. By situating Cory Booker's multiracial coalition politics within a contemporary and historical framework, A Post Racial Change is Gonna Come deepens our awareness of the complexities of electoral politics on local, state, and national levels in the so-called post-racial era. Wharton's call for sustainable coalitions as a new way of organizing can produce more inclusive democracies in American cities.' –Ronald Williams II, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
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