Seligman's article asserts that Thomas J. Sugrue's Sweet Land of Liberty brings many strands together in a single narrative of the struggles of northern African Americans to combat discrimination in the twentieth century. By discovering the breadth of racial exclusion in the north and linking activists with diverse agendas and strategies, Sugrue does an important scholarly service. He particularly emphasizes the significance of actors—especially women—at the grassroots, who pushed the NAACP to pursue legal cases it might not have otherwise taken. Seligman's writes that the book, however, largely follows the traditional line of civil rights movement historiography in recognizing which areas were targets of urban activism: housing, education, and employment. If Sugrue had investigated the breadth of causes that African American community organizations were involved with, the book would have been much richer and much longer. Sweet Land of Liberty opens up the question of the relationship between the civil rights movement and the community organizing movement but does not close it.

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