The Kings of Mississippi: Race, Religious Education, and the Making of a Middle-Class Black Family in the Segregated South

The Kings of Mississippi: Race, Religious Education, and the Making of a Middle-Class Black Family in the Segregated South


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Kings of Mississippi examines how a twentieth-century black middle-class family navigated life in rural Mississippi. The book introduces seven generations of a farming family and provides an organic examination of how the family experienced life and economic challenges as one of few middle-class black families living and working alongside the many struggling black and white sharecroppers and farmers in Gallman, Mississippi. Family narratives and census data across time and a socio-ecological lens help assess how race, religion, education, and key employment options influenced economic and non-economic outcomes. Family voices explain how intangible beliefs fueled socioeconomic outcomes despite racial, gender, and economic stratification. The book also examines the effects of stratification changes across time, including: post-migration; inter- and intra-racial conflicts and compromises; and, strategic decisions and outcomes. The book provides an unexpected glimpse at how a family's ethos can foster upward mobility into the middle-class.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108439336
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/31/2019
Series: Cambridge Studies in Stratification Economics: Economics and
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Sandra L. Barnes is a Sociology Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University and the first female African American Assistant Vice Chancellor. She is the author of Empowering Black Youth of Promise (2016), Live Long and Prosper, and The Costs of Being Poor (2005).

Benita Blanford-Jones develops and leads several urban youth empowerment and educational mentoring programs. She also holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and a Master's degree in Human Services Administration from Indiana University Northwest.

Table of Contents

Introduction: a black family from Mississippi as a socio-ecological phenomenon; 1. 'My own land and a milk cow': race, space, class, and gender as embedded elements of a black southern terrain; 2. 'Bikes or lights': familial decisions in the context of inequality; 3. 'Getting to the school on time': formal education and beyond; 4. 'Jesus and the juke joint': blurred and bordered boundaries and boundary crossing; 5. 'Keeping God's favor': contemporary black families and systemic change; Conclusion: 'what would Big Mama do?' Activation and routinization of a black family's ethos.

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