Including the District of Columbia, the 51 entries in these two volumes cover the state-specific histories of all of the major minority and immigrant groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Native Americans. Every state has had a unique experience in attempting to build a community comprising multiple racial groups, and the chronologies, narratives, and biographies that compose the entries in this collection explore the consequences of racism from states' perspectives, revealing distinct new insights into their respective racial histories.
Why has a nation founded upon precepts of freedom and universal humanity continually produced, through its preoccupation with race, a divided and constrained populace? This question is the starting point for Scott Malcomson's riveting and deeply researched account, which amplifies history with memoir and reportage.
From the beginning, Malcomson shows, a nation obsessed with invention began to create a new idea of race, investing it with unprecedented moral and social meaning. A succession of visionaries and opportunists, self-promoters and would-be reformers carried on the process, helping to define "black," "white," and "Indian" in opposition to one another, and in service to the aspirations and anxieties of each era. But the people who had to live within those definitions found them constraining. They sought to escape the limits of race imposed by escaping from other races or by controlling, confining, eliminating, or absorbing them, in a sad, absurd parade of events. Such efforts have never truly succeeded, yet their legacy haunts us, as we unhappily re-enact the drama of separatism in our schools, workplaces, and communities. By not only recounting the shared American tragicomedy of race but helping us to own, even to embrace it, this important book offers us a way at last to move beyond it.
When America inaugurated its first African American president, in 2009, many wondered if the country had finally become a "post-racial" society. Was this the dawning of a new era, in which America, a nation nearly severed in half by slavery, and whose racial fault lines are arguably among its most enduring traits, would at last move beyond race with the election of Barack Hussein Obama?
In Ghosts of Jim Crow, F. Michael Higginbotham convincingly argues that America remains far away from that imagined utopia. Indeed, the shadows of Jim Crow era laws and attitudes continue to perpetuate insidious, systemic prejudice and racism in the 21st century. Higginbotham’s extensive research demonstrates how laws and actions have been used to maintain a racial paradigm of hierarchy and separation—both historically, in the era of lynch mobs and segregation, and today—legally, economically, educationally and socially.
Using history as a roadmap, Higginbotham arrives at a provocative solution for ridding the nation of Jim Crow’s ghost, suggesting that legal and political reform can successfully create a post-racial America, but only if it inspires whites and blacks to significantly alter behaviors and attitudes of race-based superiority and victimization. He argues that America will never achieve its full potential unless it truly enters a post-racial era, and believes that time is of the essence as competition increases globally.
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.
Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.