This collection of original essays and commentary considers not merely how history has shaped the continuing struggle for racial equality, but also how backlash and resistance to racial reforms continue to dictate the state of race in America. Informed by a broad historical perspective, this book focuses primarily on the promise of Reconstruction and the long demise of that promise. It traces the history of struggles for racial justice from the post US Civil War Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights decades of the 1950s and 1960s to the present day.
The book uses psychological, historical and political perspectives to put today’s struggles for justice in historical perspective, considering intersecting dynamics of race and class in inequality and the different ways that people understand history. Ultimately, the authors question Martin Luther King, Jr.’s contention that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice, challenging portrayals of race relations and the realization of civil rights laws as a triumph narrative.
Scholars in history, political science and psychology, as well as graduate students in these fields, can use the issues explored in this book as a foundation for their own work on race, justice and American history.