Race and History: Selected Essays 1938-1988

John Hope Franklin, Author Louisiana State University Press $29.95 (450p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1547-3
Readers will find these 27 essays eloquent, barbed, timely and outspoken. Franklin's assessment of a widening socioeconomic chasm between blacks and whites, his sweeping surveys of racism from the American Revolution to the Civil War and beyond, are hard-hitting. One piece links blacks' civil rights struggles to the campaigns of Amerindians, Puerto Ricans and Mexican-Americans for full equality. In another, Franklin faults D. W. Griffith's 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation , arguing that its distorted portrayal of Reconstruction made it a midwife in the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. There are sharp profiles of James Ayers, white Civil War recruiter of black soldiers, and of Mississippi freedman John Lynch, who became a Republican Congressman and paymaster of the U.S. Army. A Duke University professor, Franklin insists that historians can play an active role in shaping public policy. He writes movingly of his first encounter with racism at age 16 and its searing effects. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-8071-1764-4
Ebook - 457 pages - 978-0-585-32682-5
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