Dark Journey: Black Mississippians in the Age of Jim Crow

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ISBN-13: 978-0252061561
ISBN-10: 025206156X
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Dark Journey: Black Mississippians in the Age of Jim Crow + The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

McMillen's sequel of sorts to Vernon Lane Wharton's classic The Negro in Mississippi , 1865-1890 (1947; Greenwood, 1984. reprint) describes the origins, development, and enforcement of the color-caste system in perhaps the most race-haunted state--Mississippi--where nearly one in ten black Americans lived in 1890. He lays bare the raw and ugly lynchings and the coarse legal inequities that formed the sinews of white supremacy between 1890 and 1940. He seeks also to show blacks' view of Jim Crow and to describe it in their words. He is best at capturing the structure of race relations and at presaging the milieu of civil rights change. His state study complements Herbert Shapiro's White Violence and Black Response: From Reconstruction to Montgomery (LJ 2/1/88). For Afro-American, local, Southern, and race relations collections.
- Thomas J. Davis, African American Studies, SUNY at Buffalo
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Remarkable for its relentless truth-telling, and the depth and thoroughness of its investigation, for the freshness of its sources, and for the shock power of its findings." -- C. Vann Woodward, New York Review of Books
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (September 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 025206156X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252061561
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #893,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Historian on March 24, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Neil McMillen gives us a look at the real effects of Jim Crow in Dark Journey, the story of white supremacy in Mississippi in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. McMillen explores this society of racial apartheid from the vantage point of the oppressor and the oppressed, for as he states in his preface, "until historians adequately explored the exterior forces that operated on the black community there could be no truly adequate histories of the interior life of the people within that community." He includes many descriptions of Mississippi during this "race-haunted" time from blacks themselves, which adds significantly to the texture of McMillen's "bottom up" depiction of how truly repressive the white regime was. What quickly emerges from this straightforward study is a society dominated without question by whites, one in which whites sought to re-establish race relations as they existed prior to the Civil War. They largely succeeded.
What strikes the reader forcefully from the beginning of McMillen's book is how insidiously prevalent the system known as Jim Crow was in Mississippi, and how it affected every aspect of black life. Jim Crow did not mean that blacks were simply in effect denied the right to vote and had limited economic opportunities, though to be sure both of these hurdles existed. White supremacy, as McMillen deftly points out, meant far more than denied voting rights and low-rung jobs. It meant (either de facto or de jury) poor or no high schools, lynchings, outrageous jury verdicts and trials, harassment for succeeding in traditionally white professions, no libraries, etc. The sheer scope and overriding predominance of white supremacy in Mississippi is shocking, especially since whites really did not seek to hide it from prying Northerners.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Dr. McMillen provides a rare insight into the world of Black Missippians during the 1920s, '30s & 40's. His writing style is a lovely complement to his ingenious insights. He is truly one of our greatest scholars & non-fiction writers. This book is a must-read for anyone even mildy interested in African-American or general Southern history. Black or White this book will help you understand this period in our history. I can't wait for his sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Virginia A. Paxton on September 19, 2013
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I have just begun to read The Dark Journey and its a very good read so far. It looks like it took a long time for Blacks to be treated as human beings in a White world. I am glad I didn't live in that time of turmoil that the author McMillen describes so vividly.
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This is my first review, and I felt compelled to write because this book has finally given me many of the answers I have been seeking. I am new to the US (from Canada), and I could not understand why there is still such a segregation economically, and even culturally between African Americans and the rest of the US. As an Economist, I appreciated the facts and statistics.
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