Covenant with Color Race and Social Power in Brooklyn 1636-1990

ISBN-10: 0231119070

ISBN-13: 9780231119078

Edition: 2000

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Spanning three centuries of Brooklyn history from the colonial period to the present, A Covenant with Color exposes the intricate relations of dominance and subordination that have long characterized the relative social positions of white and black Brooklynites. Craig Steven Wilder -- examining both quantitative and qualitative evidence and utilizing cutting-edge literature on race theory -- demonstrates how ideas of race were born, how they evolved, and how they were carried forth into contemporary society. In charting the social history of one of the nation's oldest urban locales, Wilder contends that power relations -- in all their complexity -- are the starting point for understanding Brooklyn's turbulent racial dynamics. He spells out the workings of power -- its manipulation of resources, whether in the form of unfree labor, privileges of citizenship, better jobs, housing, government aid, or access to skilled trades. Wilder deploys an extraordinary spectrum of evidence to illustrate the mechanics of power that have kept African American Brooklynites in subordinate positions: from letters and diaries to family papers of Kings County's slaveholders, from tax records to the public archives of the Home Owners Loan Corporation. Wilder illustrates his points through a variety of cases, including banking interests, the rise of Kings County's colonial elite, industrialization and slavery, race-based distribution of federal money in jobs, and mortgage loans during and after the Depression. He delves into the evolution of the Brooklyn ghetto, tracing how housing segregation corralled African Americans in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The book explores colonial enslavement, the rise of Jim Crow, labor discrimination and union exclusion, and educational inequality. Throughout, Wilder uses Brooklyn as a lens through which to view larger issues of race and power on a national level. One of the few recent attempts to provide a comprehensive history of race relations in an American city, A Covenant with Color is a major contribution to urban history and the history of race and class in America.
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Book details

List price: $32.00
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 1/26/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.990

Craig Steven Wilder is Associate Professor of History and Chair of African-American Studies at Williams College. He is the author of A Covenant with Color: Race and Social Power in Brooklyn.

Prologue: The Trial of Race
Race and Social Power: Slavery and the Evolution of an Idea, 1636-1827
Little Masters: Slavery and the Evolution of a City, 1636-1827
"Rugged Industries": The Commercial Revolution in Kings County, 1797-1876
Irish Over Black: The Advent of Bourgeois Democracy in Kings County, 1800-1865
Hope, Hate, and the Class Struggle: The End of Slavery's Dominion in the City of Churches, 1827-1865
The Legacy of Mastery: The Rise and Prestige of Jim Crow in Brooklyn, 1865-1930
Fruit of the Class Struggle: Labor Segmentation and Exclusion in Brooklyn, 1865-1950
The Covenant of Color: Race, Gender, and Defense Work in Brooklyn, 1930-1945
Vulnerable People, Undesirable Places: The New Deal and the Making of the Brooklyn Ghetto, 1920-1990
"A Society Such as Our Own": Education and Labor in the Brooklyn Ghetto, 1950-1990
Epilogue: A Fair Interpretation
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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