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Backlash: Race Riots in the Jim Crow ERA

Backlash: Race Riots in the Jim Crow ERA

by Calvin Craig Miller

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—From Boston to Pasadena, CA; Richmond, VA to Denver; and from the mid-'60s into the late '90s, court-ordered busing was carried out with varying degrees of success, and often in the midst of community protest. Aretha notes that segregated schools still exist in many areas today. Magnet and charter schools are mentioned briefly as another means of achieving desegregation. Of the many photographs, researchers may be most interested in those that depict marches for and against busing programs and police officers on duty at public schools. Esty introduces Homer Plessy, who boarded a New Orleans train in 1892 with the intent of challenging the Separate Car Act that allowed segregation in transportation. As a light-skinned black who could "pass," he was deliberately chosen by a citizens' committee. The result was the 1896 decision that upheld the Act, and the beginning of the "separate but equal" laws that became known as Jim Crow. The author writes in detail about the committee's efforts to fight laws supporting segregation within the context of Reconstruction. The concluding chapter takes readers to the 1954 Brown decision and the end of legalized segregation. Libraries in need of a replacement title on this well-covered subject should consider this title. The only downside to Miller's highly detailed history of race riots is its lack of analysis. Each chapter covers a large-scale riot in places as diverse as Tulsa, Detroit, and Atlanta, but the narrative is primarily concerned with who-what-when-where, and not as much with why, other than the brief history of racially motivated violence in the first chapter. The unfortunate effect of this is that the horrific outbreaks of violence in cities across the nation tend to blur together. The conclusion (three paragraphs) seems too brief for this very worthwhile subject. Despite this flaw, Backlash will spark discussions in civics classes, and would be a good addition to other titles about the Jim Crow era and race relations. Photographs are primarily of major figures and city scenes, but several images of soldiers, Klansmen, and rioters effectively capture the mood of the times. Three worthwhile titles for reports and general interest.—Rebecca Donnelly, Rio Rancho Public Library, NM

Product Details

Morgan Reynolds, Incorporated
Publication date:
Morgan Reynolds Civil Rights Movement Series
Product dimensions:
6.57(w) x 9.15(h) x 0.49(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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