From Sundown to Sunup: The Making of the Black Community

From Sundown to Sunup: The Making of the Black Community

From Sundown to Sunup: The Making of the Black Community

From Sundown to Sunup: The Making of the Black Community

Synopsis

"George Rawick's From Sundown to Sunup is by far the most successful recent book about slave culture.... As impressive as Rawick's analysis of slave life is his interpretation of American racism." Eric Foner, University Review

Excerpt

Black history in the United States must be viewed as an integral, if usually antagonistic, part of the history of the American people. Without understanding the historical development of black society, culture, and community, comprehension of the totality of America's development is impossible. Slavery was a fundamental part of the history of the whole American people, just as its aftermath continues to pose a fundamental question for our national life.

Most discussion of American development has ignored, sidestepped, or treated as a minor theme slavery and its aftermath. Emphasis has been placed, instead, upon geographic conditions, upon technological achievements and the organization of industry, upon ideological uniqueness, and upon governmental practice and constitutional theory. The history of American society has been subordinated to the history of the American state; the reality of the American people to ideologically determined abstractions. The history of the American people has been subordinated to the history of industrial technology, of capitalism, and of related values and institutional arrangements.

There has been as a consequence very little written social history of the American people, and what there has been has usually avoided discussion of either class conflict or the subordination of blacks to whites. Thus, for example, labor historians have usually focused upon the institutional development of trade unions, rather than upon the activities of working people. No one has written a "Making of the American Working Class," but there have been many serious . . .

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