From Publishers Weekly
Jaspin's harrowing and exhaustively researched history of racial cleansing in the United States is painfully eye-opening, and Leslie's voice—filled with horror and sorrow—takes the pain to another level. One's eyes cannot lightly skip over the cringe-inducing passage that explains the physics of whipping, or the scene of the burning and disembowelment of a pregnant woman, or white leaders' hate-filled speeches. In a low tone radiating rage and disbelief at the senseless violence and hardcore racism, Leslie relates Jaspin's accounts of a dozen instances of blacks being driven out of their homes by whites in a steady, commanding pace. The stories are disparate in locale and time—the cleansings happened in both North and South after the Civil War through the '20s—but they flow together thanks to their grim shared topic, Jaspin's eloquent prose and Leslie's almost cinematic delivery. Jaspin pursued this topic for 10 years. Listeners will be glad that he persevered to produce this important book: his passion and conviction are richly evident and inspiring throughout thanks to Leslie's first-rate narration.
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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jaspin draws on a decade of research of the horrific practices of small towns across America that resulted in the expulsion of black residents, the equivalent of racial cleansing. Drawing on archives and census data, Jaspin documents demographic changes from Reconstruction forward that show severe drops in black populations and the creation of towns that have remained all white. The most famous case of racial cleansing, Rosewood, Florida, in 1923, was no anomaly, as Jaspin notes 260 such towns. In fact, such expulsions were so common that newspaper accounts recorded them. Shame, an eagerness to forget, and reluctance to deal with reparations and compensation have allowed the expulsions to lapse into the past. Expulsions ranged from those centered on violence--lynchings and race riots--to threats and ultimatums that did not result in actual violence. Jaspin focuses on 12 of the worst cases, mapping out the counties, recounting the historical context, and interviewing those who remember. A chilling portrait of a shameful part of American history that has reshaped its racial geography. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved