The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

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9780312313265: The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

From Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans fought the status quo, acquiring education and land, and building businesses, churches and communities, despite laws designed to segregate, terrorize, and disenfranchise them. White supremacy prevailed, but did not destroy, the spirit of the black community.

Richard Wormser has been working on this important documentary for seven years. Worse Than Slavery will incorporate historical commentary and oral history along with more than 100 images, bringing the brutality and courage of the African American struggle for equality to life. Beginning with the period from 1865 to 1896, the book covers the end of the Civil War and Reconstruction, periods that held so much promise for black men and women. What followed was the dramatic rise of a successful black middle class and the determination of white supremacists to destroy this fledgling black political power. The years between World Wars I and II (1951 to1954) produced a period of black activism that ultimately resulted in the Brown vs. Board of Education decision which desegregated public schools.

The book not only tells the stories of leaders like W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, but also portrays ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things, bearing witness to the determination and strength of their forebears.

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About the Author:

Richard Wormser is an award-winning writer and photographer. He has written, produced, and directed over one hundred programs for television, educational institutions, and government. His programs have received over twenty-five awards. He is the originator, series coproducer, and writer/director of the four-part PBS television series The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. He has also written twenty books of young adult nonfiction, and has taught film and video production courses at the University of Bridgeport and Global Village in New York. He lives in New York City.

Review:

"Richard Wormser's The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow is a vivid, probing chronicle of what W.E.B. Du Bois called the problem of the twentieth century—the dialectic of race and rights in America's once color-coded democracy."—David Levering Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the two-volume W E. B. Du Bois biography

"A powerful and dramatic documentary of black life under Jim Crow, capturing the horrors, brutality and power of that system in graphic detail while maintaining a central focus on how African Americans endured, resisted and challenged the systems."—Dr. Patrick Sullivan, Harvard University

"The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow shows for the first time a part of our history without which America cannot be understood. An excellent job."—Dr. Glenda Gilmore, Yale University

"In light of recent Congressional turmoil, this measured, and sometimes chilling, guide to the PBS series of the same name could not be more timely. Wormser, a television producer and writer, provides an illuminating, succinct history of racial discrimination in the U.S., especially in the South. The book begins in 1865 at the end of the Civil War and concludes in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education and the integration of public schools. To emphasize the tremendous obstacles African-Americans had to face in the U.S.—lynchings, substandard schools, chain gangs, low or no pay—Wormser uses personal narratives of slaves and free men as well as the work of iconic African-American figures, such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells and Thurgood Marshall. Likewise, the positions of middle-class and well-known white segregationists—Strom Thurmond, the KKK, Andrew Johnson—are also documented. Wormser concludes that, 'though Jim Crow is no longer codified in the laws, and the racial climate has decidedly improved, white supremacy is still a vital part of the American psyche.' A stark account of race politics in America, this book provides an indispensable backdrop for understanding the present political scene."—Publishers Weekly

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Richard Wormser
Published by St. Martin's Griffin (2004)
ISBN 10: 0312313268 ISBN 13: 9780312313265
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