Coming May 4th: From one of our top historians, a groundbreaking story of policing and “riots” that shatters our understanding of the post–civil rights era.
As the “War on Crime” targeted American cities from the late 1960s onward, Black residents threw punches and Molotov cocktails at police officers, plundered local businesses, and vandalized exploitative institutions. Drawing on new sources, Elizabeth Hinton reveals that these so-called riots were not explosions of criminality, but collective acts of rebellion against police brutality and racism.
A leading scholar of policing, Hinton documents the most important lesson from these flash points―that police violence precipitates community violence―and shows how it continues to escape policy makers, who respond by further criminalizing entire groups instead of addressing underlying socioeconomic causes. Ultimately, Hinton argues that we cannot understand the civil rights moment without coming to terms with the astonishing violence, and hugely expanded policing regime, that followed it. Taking us from Watts in 1965 to the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Hinton’s highly anticipated "America on Fire" offers an unprecedented framework for understanding our current crisis.