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The last generation of Americans with a living memory of Jim Crow will soon disappear. They leave behind a collective memory of segregation shaped increasingly by its horrors and heroic defeat but not a nuanced understanding of everyday life in Jim Crow America. In The South, Adolph L. Reed Jr. — New Orleanian, political scientist, and according to Cornel West, “the greatest democratic theorist of his generation” — takes up the urgent task of recounting the granular realities of life in the last decades of the Jim Crow South.
Reed illuminates the multifaceted structures of the segregationist order. Through his personal history and political acumen, we see America’s apartheid system from the ground up, not just its legal framework or systems of power, but the way these systems structured the day-to-day interactions, lives, and ambitions of ordinary working people.
The South unravels the personal and political dimensions of the Jim Crow order, revealing the sources and objectives of this unstable regime, its contradictions and precarity, and the social order that would replace it.
The South is more than a memoir or a history. Filled with analysis and fascinating firsthand accounts of the operation of the system that codified and enshrined racial inequality, this book is required reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of America's second peculiar institution the future created in its wake.
With a foreword from Barbara Fields, co-author of the acclaimed Racecraft.