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African Americans have heavily contributed to and shaped the unique and vibrant Rutherford County in middle Tennessee. Located 30 miles southeast of Nashville, Rutherford County is at the state's geographical center. This area is home to the Stones River National Battlefield, a national park that was the site of a major Civil War battle--the Battle of Stones River. Tourists come from all over the world to experience this rich cultural and historic venue that once served, although briefly, as the capital of Tennessee. African American men and women have lived, worked, and toiled here for generations.
Henrico County, chartered in 1634, is one of the oldest counties in the state. Communities in Henrico created by African Americans are among the oldest continuing communities in America, as all of these communities were settled by 1863. The beauty of the settlements lay in the tenacity, determination, and resolve of pioneers who emerged from enslavement to create their own ideas of freedom. Rights to home and property ownership, businesses, churches, agencies, and schools defined the very essence of community. Despite efforts to halt their progress, African Americans independently sustained these communities. In Images of America: African Americans of Henrico County, nine communities are highlighted to demonstrate the indefatigable and indomitable spirit that continues to exist in these sacred places.
Based on the 1,800 largest school districts in the United States over a decade, The Politics of African-American Education documents the status of African-American education and the major role that partisanship plays. The book brings together the most comprehensive database on minority education to date that centers around three arguments. First, partisanship permeates African-American education; it affects who is elected to the school board, the racial composition of school administrators and teachers, and the access of African-American students to quality education. Second, African-American representation matters. The effectiveness of African-American representation, however, is enhanced in Democratic districts while representation in Republican districts has little influence. Third, political structures matter, but they are not determinative. Two different structures - election rules and the independent school district - create the rules of the game in US education politics and policy but do not limit others from using those rules to change the outcome.
Living in a segregated society, white Americans learn about African Americans not through personal relationships but through the images the media show them. The Black Image in the White Mind offers the most comprehensive look at the intricate racial patterns in the mass media and how they shape the ambivalent attitudes of Whites toward Blacks. Using the media, and especially television, as barometers of race relations, Robert Entman and Andrew Rojecki explore but then go beyond the treatment of African Americans on network and local news to incisively uncover the messages sent about race by the entertainment industry-from prime-time dramas and sitcoms to commercials and Hollywood movies. While the authors find very little in the media that intentionally promotes racism, they find even less that advances racial harmony. They reveal instead a subtle pattern of images that, while making room for Blacks, implies a racial hierarchy with Whites on top and promotes a sense of difference and conflict. Commercials, for example, feature plenty of Black characters. But unlike Whites, they rarely speak to or touch one another. In prime time, the few Blacks who escape sitcom buffoonery rarely enjoy informal, friendly contact with White colleagues—perhaps reinforcing social distance in real life. Entman and Rojecki interweave such astute observations with candid interviews of White Americans that make clear how these images of racial difference insinuate themselves into Whites' thinking. Despite its disturbing readings of television and film, the book's cogent analyses and proposed policy guidelines offer hope that America's powerful mediated racial separation can be successfully bridged. "Entman and Rojecki look at how television news focuses on black poverty and crime out of proportion to the material reality of black lives, how black 'experts' are only interviewed for 'black-themed' issues and how 'black politics' are distorted in the news, and conclude that, while there are more images of African-Americans on television now than there were years ago, these images often don't reflect a commitment to 'racial comity' or community-building between the races. Thoroughly researched and convincingly argued."—Publishers Weekly "Drawing on their own research and that of a wide array of other scholars, Entman and Rojecki present a great deal of provocative data showing a general tendency to devalue blacks or force them into stock categories."—Ben Yagoda, New Leader Winner of the Frank Luther Mott Award for best book in Mass Communication and the Robert E. Lane Award for best book in political psychology.
From one of our most distinguished historians, a new examination of the vitally important years of Emancipation and Reconstruction during and immediately following the Civil War–a necessary reconsideration that emphasizes the era’s political and cultural meaning for today’s America. In Forever Free, Eric Foner overturns numerous assumptions growing out of the traditional understanding of the period, which is based almost exclusively on white sources and shaped by (often unconscious) racism. He presents the period as a time of determination, especially on the part of recently emancipated black Americans, to put into effect the principles of equal rights and citizenship for all. Drawing on a wide range of long-neglected documents, he places a new emphasis on the centrality of the black experience to an understanding of the era. We see African Americans as active agents in overthrowing slavery, in helping win the Civil War, and–even more actively–in shaping Reconstruction and creating a legacy long obscured and misunderstood. Foner makes clear how, by war’s end, freed slaves in the South built on networks of church and family in order to exercise their right of suffrage as well as gain access to education, land, and employment. He shows us that the birth of the Ku Klux Klan and renewed acts of racial violence were retaliation for the progress made by blacks soon after the war. He refutes lingering misconceptions about Reconstruction, including the attribution of its ills to corrupt African American politicians and “carpetbaggers,” and connects it to the movements for civil rights and racial justice. Joshua Brown’s illustrated commentary on the era’s graphic art and photographs complements the narrative. He offers a unique portrait of how Americans envisioned their world and time. Forever Free is an essential contribution to our understanding of the events that fundamentally reshaped American life after the Civil War–a persuasive reading of history that transforms our sense of the era from a time of failure and despair to a threshold of hope and achievement.
Nearly a century after the American Revolution, the waters of the Ohio River provided a real and complex barrier for the United States to navigate. While this waterway was a symbol of freedom and equality for thousands of enslaved black Americans who had escaped from the horrible institution of enslavement, the Ohio River was also used to transport thousands of slaves down the river to the Deep South. Due to Cincinnati’s location on the banks of the river, the city’s economy was tied to the slave society in the South. However, a special cadre of individuals became very active in the quest for freedom undertaken by African American fugitives on their journeys to the North. Thanks to spearheading by this group of Cincinnatian trailblazers, the “Queen City” became a primary destination on the Underground Railroad, the first multiethnic, multiracial, multiclass human-rights movement in the history of the United States.
Since its founding, Nashville has been a center of black urban culture in the Upper South. Blacks--slave and free--made up 20 percent of Fort Nashborough's settlers in 1779. From these early years through the Civil War, a growing black community in Nashville, led by a small group of black elites, quietly built the foundations of a future society, developing schools, churches, and businesses. The Civil War brought new freedoms and challenges as the black population of Nashville increased and as black elites found themselves able--even obliged--to act more openly. To establish a more stable and prosperous African-American community, the elites found that they had to work within a system bound to the interests of whites. But the aims of this elite did not always coincide with those of the black community at large. By 1930, younger blacks, in particular, were moving towards protest and confrontation. As democratization and higher education spread, the lines distinguishing Nashville's black elite became blurred. Bobby L. Lovett presents a complex analysis of black experience in Nashville during the years between 1780 and 1930, exploring the impact of civil rights, education, politics, religion, business, and neighborhood development on a particular African-American community. This study of black Nashville examines lives lived within a web of shifting alliances and interests--the choices made, the difficulties overcome. Fifteen years in the making, illustrated with maps and photographs, this work is the first detailed study of any of Tennessee's major urban black communities. Lovett here collects, organizes, and interprets a large, rich body of data, making this material newly accessible to all interested in the black urban experience.

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