Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Schmidt Reviews Litwack's How Free Is Free

Christopher W. Schmidt, Chicago-Kent College of Law and American Bar Foundation, has reviewed Leon F. Litwack, How Free is Free: The Long Death of Jim Crow (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009) for H-Law. His review commences:
In How Free Is Free? The Long Death of Jim Crow, Leon F. Litwack brings to print the Nathan I. Huggins lectures he delivered at Harvard in 2004. The book consists of three chapters, each centered on the black experience during a different period of American history. The first chapter begins with Reconstruction and moves through the early twentieth century, focusing on how black men and women understood and resisted racism’s depraved depths during the high water years of Jim Crow. The second chapter turns to World War II, a period marked by a combustible collision of African American optimism and the continued reality of life in segregated America. The most tightly focused of the three chapters, it offers a preview of Litwack’s work-in-progress, Pearl Harbor Blues: The Black South and Race Relations in World War II. The final chapter picks up with the late 1960s, when many black activists expressed a growing disillusionment with the mainstream civil rights movement, and then moves on to more recent issues and events, including rap music, the 9/11 attacks, and Hurricane Katrina.
More here.