From Publishers Weekly
"Old people knew things that we'll probably never know," confides one interview subject in this viscerally powerful book and compact disc compilation of firsthand accounts of the Jim Crow era. Drawing on the 1,200 interviews with African-Americans that make up the Duke University collection called Behind the Veil: Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South, this sequel to the book-and-audio compilation Remembering Slavery offers testimonies by people from 25 communities in 10 states, representing diverse economic, social and cultural lifestyles urban and rural, industrial and agricultural, Piedmont and Delta. Readers and listeners will confront "the dailiness of the terror blacks experienced at the hands of capricious whites" and of "the capacity of the black community to come to each other's aid and invent means of sustaining the collective will to survive." The editors provide lucid historical context for recollections of family, work, school and church. "[S]tories of rapes and beatings, of houses burned to the ground and land stolen, of harrowing escapes in the middle of the night" appear alongside accounts of "the extraordinary and multiple ways in which resistance to Jim Crow occurred and was nourished." Some of the stories are so extreme as to seem absurd white singers mistakenly sent to a black club conceal themselves under pancake makeup; a county's average expenditure for white students is $40.68 per student, and for black students, $5.95. This moving, deeply instructive book reveals how "African Americans developed their own life, hidden and estranged from the lives of white people." Two one-hour compact discs, 50 b&w photos. Appendixes not seen by PW. (Nov.)Forecast: The award-winning Remembering Slavery attracted countless readers and listeners, partly because public radio stations broadcast the tapes. Expect a similar reception for this volume.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
This sequel to Remembering Slavery (LJ 9/1/98) is another effort to recover the history of black life in the American South, with interviews this time focusing on the era of segregation. It is a rare opportunity to read and hear the voices of black Southerners who experienced one of the most hideous periods in America's history, "a time of severe legal, economic, political, and social oppression, all reinforced by the pervasive threat of extralegal violence, especially lynching." Based on about 1200 interviews and in-depth research in 25 communities and ten different states undertaken by the Behind the Veil project at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies, this remarkable book-and-CD set offers intimate views into the thoughts, activities, and anxieties of black Americans and at the same time strengthens our understanding of the Jim Crow era. Included are two one-hour CDs of the radio documentary produced by American Radio Works, a transcript of the audio program, 50 rare segregation-era photographs, biographical information, and suggestions for further reading. This superb primary source will appeal to public and academic libraries. Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Lib., Long Beach
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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