This composition reader, roughly organized chronologically, offers contributions on a myriad of racial and cultural struggles in past and present America. Its combination of primary, secondary, and literary sources encourages readers to think critically about the issues which have shaped the world around them, which take root in the early history of the United States, and which continue to be important in society today. The book also offers a glimpse into the power of language—written and spoken—in shaping ideas, attitudes, and politics when conflicts arise.
A wide range of readings (by both well- and lesser-known authors), traces the evolution of conflicts in American history from the 17th century on, and compares and contrasts issues involving race, class, and gender over those centuries. An engaging variety of topics includes transcripts from the Salem witch trials, speeches and writings by a number of native Americans, journals from women who dressed as men in the Civil War so they could fight, and presidential speeches dating back to the 18th century.
For anyone who wants to listen to the historical voices that have come together to make America the complex and multicultural place that it is today.