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A classic analysis of the Black middle class studies its origin and development, accentuating its behavior, attitudes, and values during the 1940s and 1950s.

When it was first published in 1957, E. Franklin Frazier’s Black Bourgeoisie was simultaneously reviled and revered—revered for its skillful dissection of one of America’s most complex communities, reviled for daring to cast a critical eye on a section of black society that had achieved the trappings of the white, bourgeois ideal.

The author traces the evolution of this enigmatic class from the segregated South to the post-war boom in the integrated North, showing how, along the road to what seemed like prosperity and progress, middle-class blacks actually lost their roots to the traditional black world while never achieving acknowledgment from the white sector. The result, concluded Frazier, is an anomalous bourgeois class with no identity, built on self-sustaining myths of black business and society, silently undermined by a collective, debilitating inferiority complex.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684832418
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 02/28/1997
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 415,392
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

E. Franklin Frazier, who died in May 1962, was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Sociology at Howard University. Black Bourgeoisie earned him the coveted MacIver Award from the American Sociological Association. He was also President of the American Sociological Association and of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Race Relations.

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Black Bourgeoisie 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿When the opportunity has been presented the black bourgeoisie has exploited the Negro masses as ruthlessly as have whites. As the intellectual leaders in the Negro community they have never dared think beyond a narrow opportunistic philosophy that provided a rationalization for their own advantages. Although the black bourgeoisie exercise considerable influence on the values of Negroes they do not occupy a dignified position in the Negro community.¿ Clearly a controversial study by a Howard University sociologist regarding an elite group within the then African American community and their emergence as an phenomenon. The study taking place from the mid 1800`s to the 1950`s shows how this community was developed after their conquering and subsequent enslavement. The elite started out as mostly the offspring of the masters, moved on to be educated in substandard schools, then onto businesses that didn¿t amount to much and into political areas wear they commanded no power. In other words the whole community was emasculated and their deeds were not respected by whites nor by the blacks for whom they did not want to associate. As a consequence according to the author, ¿the very existence of a separate Negro community with its own institutions within the heart of the American society is indicative of its quasi-pathological character¿ as it `struggles to gain acceptance by whites¿. The author makes points that are dead on, and apply to the various characters that we associated with today. Unfortunately today many of this select group have morphed into varying degrees of mental illness from (ward, tiger, orenthal, clarence) to the average affirmative action professional, with little changes in the behavior of the petit bourgeoisie¿.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totally disagree with arrested development review, the book does not exploit the Black masses is shows how the middle class has turned it nose up at the poor (black and white) but not to the degree white America has turned it nose up to blacks of any stature. The president is disrespected by the media; racism is evident in all facets of life and it proves more and more the label Africa American is a misnomer. When Lincoln freed the slaves, blacks were given liberty but not equality. When we have equality, then we can be Americans. Until then, we are just blacks trying to survive in this wilderness call North America. Sorry for the rant, but back to the book. The book shows how the middle class has forgotten where they came from. How poor their parents were at one time. Yes, it great blacks are making strides in many professional fields but are not giving back anything to the community. They are not opening businesses in the black community or volunteering, mentoring young blacks and that’s the point Mr. Frazier was trying to make.