Race: The History of an Idea in America

Race: The History of an Idea in America

Race: The History of an Idea in America

Race: The History of an Idea in America

Excerpt

My effort has been to understand and explore how ideas of race have affected currents of thought in America. I have been more interested in what people thought about race than in what they did about it. On the other hand, since ideas of race have nearly always gone hand in hand with definite programs of action, I have also attempted to describe what was happening in race relations at the time the theorists were propagating their doctrines. This book is, then, both a history of race theory and a history of bigotry.

Like many other students, I am deeply indebted to Henry Nash Smith, who first led me to a serious interest in the history of ideas. In particular, it was he who suggested to me the subject of race as a rewarding area of study.

I am also indebted to J. W. W. Daniel of Macon, Georgia -- a man now nearing ninety -- who helped me to see in some perspective the tragic background of the history of race relations in the South. Other men who have influenced my thinking have been Mulford Q. Sibley, Edgar T. Thompson, Willis B. Glover, Carl Bennett, William J. Hinson, and James F. Govan. It should be stated, however, that no one of these men has read more than a small portion of this book in manuscript, and that any errors in it are wholly mine.

A grant given me by the American Council of Learned Societies while I was a graduate student in American Studies at the University of Minnesota enabled me to devote a year wholly to this study, and subsequently I have received grants from the . . .

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