Rituals of Blood: Consequences of Slavery in Two American Centuries

By Orlando Patterson | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

AS WE APPROACH THE END of the twentieth century, the time is ripe to examine just how far we have come since the historical sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois made his famous prediction that this would be the century of the color line. By now, it is stating the obvious to say that Du Bois's prophecy was correct. This has been a century torn by the often murderous imposition of ethnic, including so-called racial, boundaries, and by the struggles to overturn them.

There have already been many such assessments, and there are undoubtedly more to come. In The Ordeal of Integration: Progress and Resentment in America's "Racial" Crisis, the first volume of this trilogy, I assayed our recent progress on the journey toward social justice, paying special attention to changes in ethnic and racialist attitudes and to the socioeconomic condition of Afro-Americans. My bottom line assessment was that, overall, remarkable progress had been made in both areas, especially over the past half century, but that major problems still remained and new ones shadowed the horizon. It is these persisting problems, and the paradoxical ways in which ethnic changes take place and are differen

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