The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White

( 6 )

Overview

"The Invisible Line" shines light on one of the most important, but too often hidden, aspects of American history and culture. Sharfstein's narrative of three families negotiating America's punishing racial terrain is a must read for all who are interested in the construction of race in the United States."
—Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello

In America, race is a riddle. The stories we tell about our past have calcified into the ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (56) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $2.07   
  • Used (44) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 2
Showing 1 – 10 of 12 (2 pages)
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$2.39
Seller since 2011

Feedback rating:

(756)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Hardcover New 1594202826 SERVING OUR CUSTOMERS WITH BEST PRICES. FROM A COMPANY YOU TRUST, HUGE SELECTION. RELIABLE CUSTOMER SERVICE! ! HASSLE FREE RETURN POLICY, SATISFACTION ... GURANTEED**** Read more Show Less

Ships from: Philadelphia, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.10
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(91)

Condition: New
2011 Hardcover New Ships Fast! Satisfaction Guaranteed!

Ships from: Skokie, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.39
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(941)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202826 Friendly Return Policy. A+++ Customer Service!

Ships from: Philadelphia, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.39
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(284)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202826 XCITING PRICES JUST FOR YOU. Ships within 24 hours. Best customer service. 100% money back return policy.

Ships from: Bensalem, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.39
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(706)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202826! ! ! ! BEST PRICES WITH A SERVICE YOU CAN RELY! ! !

Ships from: Philadelphia, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.39
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(429)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202826! ! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! ! ENJOY OUR BEST PRICES! ! ! Ships Fast. All standard orders delivered within 5 to 12 business days.

Ships from: Southampton, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.07
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(2407)

Condition: New
2011-02-17 Hardcover First Edition New 1594202826 Ships Within 24 Hours. Tracking Number available for all USA orders. Excellent Customer Service. Upto 15 Days 100% Money Back ... Gurantee. Try Our Fast! ! ! ! Shipping With Tracking Number. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Bensalem, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$7.19
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(6)

Condition: New
New York, NY 2011 Hard cover First Published 2011 by Penguin Press/First Print Run New in very good dust jacket. Very Good Condition with No rips, tears, creases or markings. DJ ... shows small wear on edges. First edition. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 396 p. Contains: Illustrations, black & white. Audience: General/trade. Comes in New Brodart Cover. Tracking. M5-10714 Read more Show Less

Ships from: Friendswood, TX

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.98
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(281)

Condition: New
1594202826 New item in stock, may show minimal wear from storage. No remainder mark. I ship daily and provide tracking! 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Ships from: FORT MYERS, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.98
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(3)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202826 New item in stock, may show minimal wear from storage. No remainder mark. I ship daily and provide tracking! 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Ships from: LEHIGH ACRES, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 2
Showing 1 – 10 of 12 (2 pages)
Close
Sort by
The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

"The Invisible Line" shines light on one of the most important, but too often hidden, aspects of American history and culture. Sharfstein's narrative of three families negotiating America's punishing racial terrain is a must read for all who are interested in the construction of race in the United States."
—Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello

In America, race is a riddle. The stories we tell about our past have calcified into the fiction that we are neatly divided into black or white. It is only with the widespread availability of DNA testing and the boom in genealogical research that the frequency with which individuals and entire families crossed the color line has become clear.

In this sweeping history, Daniel J. Sharfstein unravels the stories of three families who represent the complexity of race in America and force us to rethink our basic assumptions about who we are. The Gibsons were wealthy landowners in the South Carolina backcountry who became white in the 1760s, ascending to the heights of the Southern elite and ultimately to the U.S. Senate. The Spencers were hardscrabble farmers in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, joining an isolated Appalachian community in the 1840s and for the better part of a century hovering on the line between white and black. The Walls were fixtures of the rising black middle class in post-Civil War Washington, D.C., only to give up everything they had fought for to become white at the dawn of the twentieth century. Together, their interwoven and intersecting stories uncover a forgotten America in which the rules of race were something to be believed but not necessarily obeyed.

Defining their identities first as people of color and later as whites, these families provide a lens for understanding how people thought about and experienced race and how these ideas and experiences evolved-how the very meaning of black and white changed-over time. Cutting through centuries of myth, amnesia, and poisonous racial politics, The Invisible Line will change the way we talk about race, racism, and civil rights.

Winner of the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The story of the wealthy Gibsons of Colonial South Carolina, the farming Spencers of 19th-century Kentucky, and the middle-class Walls of post-Civil War Washington, DC, and each family's shifting self-identity from black to white.
Library Journal
Sharfstein (law, Vanderbilt Univ.) presents the saga of three families from the American South who demonstrated, in their quest for acceptance and success, the mutability of the social construct of race. The Gibsons, originally landowners from South Carolina, attained recognition as whites in the 1760s; the Spencers, Kentucky subsistence farmers, alternated between the designations of white and black; and the Walls, part of the challenged black middle class in Washington, DC, chose to pass the early 20th century as largely anonymous whites. Using archival and published records, the author details the experiences and social climates of family members. Readers realize how presumably millions of people may have similarly crossed the often permeable color line, fostering a complex, dynamic social migration that sometimes accompanied geographic movement. Sharfstein asserts that race in America involves stories of accommodation and assimilation by those of African descent, similar to European immigrants. VERDICT This annotated book, enhanced by its almost lyrical prose, explores questions of elective identity, usually based on wealth, behavior, and reputation, rather than color, as well as the often tumultuous events that led to historical and personal compromises. American social history scholars, genealogists, and general readers who wish to learn through vivid case studies will be interested. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/10.]—Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress
Raymond Arsenault
In an illuminating and aptly titled book, The Invisible Line, Daniel J. Sharfstein demonstrates that African-Americans of mixed ancestry have been crossing the boundaries of color and racial identity since the early colonial era…Sharfstein documents this persistent racial fluidity by painstakingly reconstructing the history of three families. In a dizzying array of alternating chapters, he presents the personal and racial stories of the Gibsons, the Spencers and the Walls. The result is an astonishingly detailed rendering of the variety and complexity of racial experience in an evolving national culture moving from slavery to segregation to civil rights.
—The New York Times
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594202827
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/17/2011
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel J. Sharfstein is an associate professor of law at Vanderbilt University. Sharfstein graduated from Yale Law School and from Harvard College, summa cum laude in history and literature and Afro-American Studies. He has been awarded fellowships in legal history from Harvard, New York University, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Sharfstein has written for the Yale Law Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, and The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Family Trees xii

Introduction: The House Behind the Cedars 1

1 Gibson: Mars Bluff, South Carolina, 1768 13

2 Wall: Rockingham, North Carolina, 1838 27

3 Spencer: Clay County, Kentucky, 1848 39

4 Gibson: New Haven, Connecticut, 1850-55 53

5 Spencer: Jordan Gap, Johnson County, Kentucky, 1855 73

6 Wall: Oberlin, Ohio, September 1858 85

7 Civil War: Wall, Gibson, and Spencer, 1859-63 103

8 Civil War: Wall and Gibson, 1863-66 119

9 Gibson: Mississippi, New Orleans, and New York, 1866-68 135

10 Wall: Washington, D.C., June 14, 1871 151

11 Spencer: Jordan Gap, Johnson County, Kentucky, 1870s 169

12 Gibson: Washington, D.C, 1878 181

13 Wall: Washington, D.C., January 21, 1880 197

14 Gibson: Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1888-92 215

15 Wall: Washington, D.C., 1890-91 229

16 SPencer: Jordan Gap, Johnson County, Kentucky, ca. 1900 241

17 Wall: Washington, D.C., 1909 253

18 Spencer: Home Creek, Buchanan County, Virginia, 1912 273

19 Gibson: Paris and Chicago, 1931-33 293

20 Wall: Freeport, Long Island, 1946 307

Epilogue 321

Acknowledgments 331

Notes 337

Index 385

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)