Heath W. Carter
Heath W. Carter teaches history at Valparaiso University in Indiana and is author of Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago.
In the last six weeks police officers have killed at least five unarmed African American men: Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, and Michael Brown. This does not include Kajieme Powell, who was carrying a steak knife when two officers gunned him down just a few miles away from the site of Brown’s death. As much as some commentators might want to dismiss the protests as the cynical work of “screamers” and “race hustlers,” there is no doubt that the unrest sprung in large part from a righteous indignation at this nation’s long and persistent record of state violence against black men.
Don’t be fooled by the news out of Detroit: cities are cool again. One of the big takeaways from the 2010 census was that, after a century-long love affair with suburban subdivisions, affluent Americans are jumping back on the (worldwide) urbanizing bandwagon. For a new generation of hipsters, yuppies and retirees, city living is not only aesthetically and culturally preferable. It is an essential piece of a progressive lifestyle. This sensibility springs from a degree of historical consciousness.
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