Race, Environmental Justice, and Interest Group Mobilizations: Hazardous Waste and the Case of Sumter County, Alabama.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Western Journal of Black Studies

Publication Date


Date Added



This study examines the impact the dynamics of environmental group movements, race, and interest group mobilization. A case study approach is used to study the challenges that exist in balancing environmental concerns with civil right concerns in African American communities. This study looks at the establishment of a hazardous facility in the town of Emelle, Sumter county, Alabama; the grassroots coalitions that bloomed in response to the facility; the dynamics of race and alliances that ensued with the establishment of environmental interest groups; and the impact of the differences in agenda setting between an all-White environmental group and the Black civil rights leaders in Sumter county. It is interesting to observe the development of grassroots coalitions in Emelle; the strategies used by these small groups in confronting an industrial giant; and the clash that emerged between the goals of environmental coalitions and goals of civil rights or social equity in Sumter County. It is proposed that positive community-wide mobilization can be initiated by avoiding a narrow focus on environmental justice and linking environmental justice to the broader political, social, and economic issues of the community.


Climate, Environmental Justice


Political Science