Uproar at Dancing Rabbit Creek: Battling Over Race, Class, and the Environment

Colin Crawford, Author
Colin Crawford, Author Addison Wesley Publishing Company $24 (410p) ISBN 978-0-201-62723-7
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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This worthy but labored book details an environmental controversy in a poor, parochial and predominantly black county in east-central Mississippi. Not only were three companies vying to build a large hazardous-waste dump and incinerator there, but the opposition was not the local black community--which might have charged ""environmental racism""--but privileged whites. New York lawyer Crawford, who was not a party to the controversy, conscientiously interviewed principals to produce this detailed, fair-minded account. He concentrates on two figures: local black power broker Ike Brown, a slippery but engaging character who got the local NAACP chapter to support one hazardous-waste project as a local economic boost in the absence of other jobs; and environmentalist Martha Blackwell, from a respected white family. The author details the subtlety of political organizing in benighted Noxubee County: while most political decisions were made in segregated white venues, a hazardous-waste company took the revolutionary step of holding meetings in black juke joints and churches. While the chance of a facility being built now is small, Noxubee whites now acknowledge that they must consider black interests and aspirations. The author also observes that we must rethink the process of licensing and regulating such toxic industries. (Aug.)
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