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Black Trials: Citizenship from the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste by [Weiner, Mark S.]
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Black Trials: Citizenship from the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 448 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This book is the best of its kind—a serious, deeply felt reflection on the weight of history on contemporary affairs. Weiner, a historian/attorney at Rutgers School of Law, examines how court proceedings involving black people—and whites trying to assist them—have served as windows onto race relations and the power of whites over blacks in the U.S. from its earliest days. Using specific cases (such as those of the Amistad, the Scottsboro Boys, Black Panther Huey Newton and Mumia Abu-Jamal), he charts changes in Americans' civic inclusiveness—i.e., "what it means to be an American," and whether it includes blacks—and the long struggle for civic inclusiveness in the U.S., a struggle not yet over. The law, in Weiner's view, affects, as much as it reflects, the larger culture; while the law adjusts the rules that govern individuals' behavior, it's also a litmus test of the power of jurisprudence to improve the lot of the least powerful. His worries about the ability of a liberal definition of civic participation to sustain itself without an anchor in religious faith are worth considering. Weiner's history reveals, as he acknowledges, decent progress in American race and ethnic relations over the decades. But, as he also recognizes, there's always more to be done.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Weiner examines questions of race and citizenship within the context of the U.S. legal system as demonstrated in famous legal cases (Brown v. Board of Education, Dred Scott, plessy v. ferguson) and lesser-known legal struggles (the case against Joseph Hanno, charged with murdering his wife and bringing the pox to Boston). Weiner also provides historical perspective, from the early fears of slave revolt, including the Great Negro Plot in 1741 in New York to John Brown's revolt in 1859, to more contemporary racially charged legal issues, including the 1931 trial of the Scottsboro boys and the 1991 Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas confirmation testimony. But Weiner is at his best when focusing on the more obscure cases, using biographical research to flesh out detail not usually granted to black historical figures. Weiner's underlying subject is the evolution of civil rights integrated with our founding principles and our nation's attempts to reconcile the differences between ideals and historical reality. This historical and social critique should enjoy broad appeal from historical scholars to general reader. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1436 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Publication Date: December 18, 2007
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000XUADL8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,176,902 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What a fascinating book which at its heart attempts to answer the question "what does it mean to belong?" Not only is that a question of actual acceptance by one group, but one of perceived acceptance by another. The book is extremely well structured. The author, in examining, what it means, specifically, to be American, takes us seemlessly through the history of the Afro-American in the US through poignant discriptives of key black trials. Each story is told with meticulous, at times excruciating, detail down to the color of Indian cloth for which young African boys were traded. Every sight, smell, and stutter of speech noted to present the reader with an immaculate image of the moment.

I am sure that Prof. Weiner's conclusion that the Afro-American now "belongs" (i.e. is not an outcaste in American society) is debatable by both liberals and conservatives, but the history and the final arguments are well stated and worth the time to read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Highly readable and engaging, Mark S. Weiner's book explores how the rights of blacks in America were developed in pivotal courtroom trials. A principle theory of the book is that blacks, who were brought to this country with almost no rights, relied on court cases in pivotal trials to shape and eventually expand those rights. Not only is this plausible, but it is hard to top this perspective with any other narrative explaining black Americans' position in society, both in the past and present. I was riveted, being taken from the pre-colonial era right to Clarence Thomas' Congressional Hearing. I also learned about long periods of American history that feel abandoned because of their lack of a grand event, like a war. For example, Mark Weiner details the actions and subsequent trials of KKK and KKK-like oppression in the Reconstruction Era south, which I knew next to nothing about, nor knew where to find out about them. This book should serve as a launchpad for other legal or historical scholars in its accessibility, thoroughness, and thought. Highly recommended to American citizens and citizens of the world curious about America.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought I was purchasing a new book. Book was previously owned by a New York library.
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