Praised as viscerally powerful” (Publishers Weekly), this remarkable work of oral history captures the searing experience of the Jim Crow years enriched by memories of individual, family, and community triumphs and tragedies. In vivid, compelling accounts, men and women from all walks of life tell how their day-to-day lives were subjected to profound and unrelenting racial oppression. At the same time, Remembering Jim Crow is a testament to how black Southerners fought back against the system raising children, building churches and schools, running businesses, and struggling for respect in a society that denied them the most basic rights. The result is a powerful story of individual and community survival and an important part of the American past that is crucial for us to remember.
Based on interviews collected by the Behind the Veil Project at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, this landmark in African American oral history is now available in an affordable paperback edition and, for the first time, as an e-book with audio of the interviewees—in their own voices.
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William Chafe is a professor of history at Duke University and author of eight books, including Civilities and Civil Rights. Raymond Gavins is professor of history at Duke University, and author of The Perils and Prospects of Southern Black Leadership. Robert Korstad is assistant professor of public policy studies and history at Duke University and author of Democracy Denied. All three editors are project directors of Behind the Veil, a program of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, one of the country's leading oral history archives. American RadioWorks (ARW) is the documentary project of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and National Public Radio (NPR) News. Based at MPR in St. Paul, Minnesota, and with staff journalists also in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., ARW creates documentaries, series projects, and investigative reports for the public radio system and the Internet. ARW won the 2001 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Gold Baton Award for The Promise of Justice.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.
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