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Race in the American South

From Slavery to Civil Rights

David Brown, Clive Webb

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The issue of race has indelibly shaped the history of the United States. Nowhere has the drama of race relations been more powerfully staged than in the American South. This book charts the turbulent course of southern race relations from the colonial origins of the plantation system to the maturation of slavery in the nineteenth century, through the rise of a new racial order during the Civil War and Reconstruction, to the civil rights revolution of the twentieth century.

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1. Red, White and Black? Native Americans, Europeans and Africans Meet in the Chesapeake
2. Systematising Slavery: The Making of the Plantation System in the Eighteenth Century
3. Slavery, Race and the American Revolution
4. A White Man's Republic in the Antebellum South
5. The Paradoxical Institution: Antebellum Slavery
6. A Fragile Freedom: The Civil War and the Collapse of Slavery
7. 'The White Supreme': Race Relations in the Jim Crow South
8. A World of Their Own: Black Culture and Resistance
9. The Challenge of Reform: The South in the Era of the World Wars
10. Moderates and Militants: The Struggle for the White South
11. We Shall Overcome: The Civil Rights Movement
Conclusion: The Enduring Legacy of Race

About the Author

David Brown is a Lecturer in the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures at the University of Manchester and author of Southern Outcast: Hinton Rowan Helper and The Impending Crisis of the South (2006).

Clive Webb is a Reader in North American History at the University of Sussex.


A comprehensive account of the way that race has shaped the history of the United States.
- Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World
A first-rate work by two British specialists in American studies… Race in the American South can be highly recommended as a well-written, accurate and concise review of a tragic American history.
- Tom Pettigrew, University of California, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
A stunning achievement. Clive Webb and David Brown have written easily the best overview that we have of race in the American South from the origins of slavery to the present day. Their book is informed by all the latest scholarship and characterized by consistently authoritative conclusions. Indispensable for any course on southern history.
- Tony Badger, Paul Mellon Professor of American History, University of Cambridge
Race in the American South takes us on a sweeping synthetic analysis of an issue central to an understanding of American history. Little that is relevant seems to have escaped the attention of the authors.
- Richard J. M. Blackett, Andrew Jackson Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
Clive Webb and David Brown have written an admirably extensive and useful survey of the racial experience of the American South since colonial times. Judicious, up-to-date, and alert to the wider context, it will win many friends for its welcome synthesis of a daunting historiography
- Richard Carwardine, Rhodes Professor of American History, Oxford University
David Brown and Clive Webb have accomplished the nearly impossible by writing a well researched and highly readable synthesis of the broad history of race in the American South. Anyone who wants to understand the links as well as the discontinuities of race in the region should begin by reading this book and consulting the superb bibliographical essay of sources the authors have assembled.
- Dan T. Carter, University of South Carolina
In this splendid synthesis of southern history using race as the orgnaizing principle, David Brown and Clive Webb argue that race has been determinative in southern history, even as it interacted with class, gender, ethnicity and religion. Combining five maps, a chronology and a bibliographical essay, this highly accessible book is a fine overview of the literature and will prove useful in courses on race relations, African Americans and the South.
- Anthony S. Parent Jr, Wake Forest Uniervsity, Journal of Southern History
Anyone who has used a textbook designed for an undergraduate survey course in history knows that broad chronological syntheses often tend towards generalizations and certitude. Remarkably, this is not the case here. Instead Brown and Webb illuminate various historical debates, largely leaving it up to their readers to evaluate the merits of various arguments… deserves a place of prominence on the bookshelf of any serious student of the American South.
- Jennifer Jensen Wallach, Georgia College & State University , Journal of Social History

"From the outset, this remarkable assessment of race in the Southern states exhibits scholastic finesse as well as extensive historical and critical research."

"an incredibly informative, if not essential overview for students of American history, or indeed anyone who wishes to better grasp the complex development of race and racism in America."

- G.B Murgatroyd, Lancaster University, American Studies Today, Issue 19