The name of the era, "Jim Crow," was somehow derived from an old minstrel song, but there was nothing frivolous about the laws and traditions used to keep blacks from participating in society in the post-Reconstruction South. Leon Litwack, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a noted authority on black history, has written a searing account of the age of Jim Crow in Trouble In Mind
. The book is arranged in thematic chapters that show how blacks were restricted at every turn. Blacks were kept in perpetual debt, denied proper schooling, and were subjected to daily assaults on their dignity. Most disturbing was the institution of lynchings, the thousands of hangings and burnings that terrorized blacks in the South. Litwack documents how lynchings were carefully planned and attracted large crowds who viewed them as cathartic entertainment. Trouble In Mind
deals with a long and sad chapter in American History, but Professor Litwack has written a laudable book which deserves to be read. Trouble In Mind
is considered a sequel to Litwack's Been In the Storm So Long
, a critically acclaimed account of Reconstruction which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History.
From Library Journal
The 1970s witnessed an explosion of extraordinary historical scholarship on black slavery, culture, and the complex relationship between races in U.S. history. Among the best of the great books published was Berkeley professor Litwack's Been in the Storm So Long (Random, 1979), which examined the development of black society and culture roughly from the Civil War to the end of the 19th century. The new volume begins a century ago as race relations deteriorated toward strict segregation and a brutality that rivaled slavery. As in his earlier book, Litwack is strongest describing how the black community built and preserved its integrity while under constant assault from hostile whites. This long-awaited sequel shows that the author is a master of making the most of sources that only a generation ago were considered too meager to merit serious historical examination. A useful discography follows the thorough bibliography of primary and secondary sources. Highly recommended for most public and academic audiences.?Charles K. Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
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