A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 30, 2011
Hollow Prize

The concept of minority mayors winning a “hollow prize” comes from the study, Black Control of Central Cities: The Hollow Prize (1969), by H. Paul Friesema. When a minority finally rises to become mayor, that city is highly probable to be in decline—and legislatures (mostly white) are unlikely to help out.

The “hollow prize” term was used when Dave Bing was elected mayor of Detroit and also when Barack Obama was elected president of the United States,

OCLC WorldCat record
Black Control of Central Cities: The Hollow Prize
Author: H Paul Friesema
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Journal of the American Planning Association, v35 n2 (19690301): 75-79
Database: CrossRef

4 April 1970, Christian Science Monitor, “Leaders ponder course of American blacks” by James B. Alexander, pg. 8:
Dr. Grunier, on the other hand, sees black control over major urban centers as a hollow prize.

Google Books
Black Representatives and Urban Policy
By Albert K. Karnig and Susan Welch
Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
Pg. 112:
And when they do capture control, as Friesma (1969) suggested, it may be a “ hollow prize.” According to this logic, black majority cities tend to be so depleted of resources that injections of federal and state funds are required. Yet, once a city is under black control, federal and state legislatures—composed of white—may fail to provide adequate monetary transfers.

Google News Archive
5 February 1982, Cavalier Daily (University of Virginia, Charlottesville), “Black History Month challenges assumptions” by William M. Harris, pg. 2, col. 4:
Black mayors in large cities have inherited the “hollow prize” of decay and white backlash.

OCLC WorldCat record
Minority Mayors and the Hollow-Prize Problem
Author: Neil Kraus; Todd Swanstrom
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Political Science & Politics, v34 n01 (20010316)
Database: CrossRef
Other Databases: ECO; WorldCat

OCLC WorldCat record
The hollow prize of East St. Louis : how institutional function and institutional culture limited a city’s future
Author: Debra H Moore; Andrew J Theising
Publisher: [Springfield, Ill. : Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2008]
Edition/Format:  Book : English

Poor Baby: Obama Inherited ‘Hollow Prize’ Of United States
By Mark Finkelstein | February 02, 2010 | 08:51
Poor Barack Obama.  In becoming president he inherited the “hollow prize” of the United States of America.  That was the astounding theory suggested this morning by Melissa Harris-Lacewell.

The Princeton professor of politics and African-American studies bemoaned the president’s predicament on Morning Joe today.  Apparently this “hollow prize” theory is in vogue in certain circles, used to decry the plight of African-Americans who only rise to powerful political positions in “hollow prize” places like Detroit.

Business Insider
Melissa Harris-Perry Compares America To Detroit, Calls It Obama’s “Hollow Prize”
Steven Loeb | Jul. 27, 2011, 10:22 PM
“When we talk about the hollow prize, we’re often referring to African-American mayors, the ones who finally come into power when a city has tipped into semi-permanent decline.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • (0) Comments • Saturday, July 30, 2011 • Permalink