Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America

Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America

by Elliot Jaspin
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

“Leave now, or die!” Those words-or ones just as ominous-have echoed through the past hundred years of American history, heralding a very unnatural disaster-a wave of racial cleansing that wiped out or drove away black populations from counties across the nation. While we have long known about horrific episodes of lynching in the South, this story of

Overview

“Leave now, or die!” Those words-or ones just as ominous-have echoed through the past hundred years of American history, heralding a very unnatural disaster-a wave of racial cleansing that wiped out or drove away black populations from counties across the nation. While we have long known about horrific episodes of lynching in the South, this story of racial cleansing has remained almost entirely unknown. These expulsions, always swift and often violent, were extraordinarily widespread in the period between Reconstruction and the Depression era. In the heart of the Midwest and the Deep South, whites rose up in rage, fear, and resentment to lash out at local blacks. They burned and killed indiscriminately, sweeping entire counties clear of blacks to make them racially “pure.” Many of these counties remain virtually all-white to this day. In Buried in the Bitter Waters, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elliot Jaspin exposes a deeply shameful chapter in the nation’s history-and one that continues to shape the geography of race in America.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

The term cleansingused in relation to groups of people has come to convey an ugly reality Americans usually associate with distant places. Here, however, Pulitzer Prize-winning Cox Newspapers editor Jaspin dredges up the ugly reality of white Americans, from the late 1860s through the 1930s,"cleansing" their living and working spaces to make them white-only enclaves. Using census data, Jaspin reveals a whiting-out pattern in about one in 12 of the 3100 U.S. counties. Beyond statistics, he re-creates the stories of rural towns, villages, and whole counties emptying themselves of blacks. He shows vigilantes at work, but more than mobs made this unsavory history. In everyday community activities, whites worked to drive blacks out, and keep them out, of their American dream. Jaspin gives context to accounts of whites destroying single black communities, such as Alfred L. Brophy's excellent Reconstructing the Dreamland, about the 1921 Greenwood district of Tulsa, OK, or the various treatments of Rosewood, FL, in 1922. Critics will quibble about whites' motives, but Jaspin's facts are dauntingly indisputable. Essential for collections on modern America, local history, and U.S. race relations.
—Thomas J. Davis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786721979
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/06/2008
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Elliot Jaspin is a reporter for Cox Newspapers, where he specializes in computer-assisted reporting. He won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting in 1979, and in 1993 he was awarded the Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award by the National Press Foundation. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >