"The stain of Jim Crow runs deep in 20th-century America. . . . Its effects remain the nation's most pressing business. Trouble in Mind is an absolutely essential account of its dreadful history and calamitous legacy." The Washington Post
"The most complete and moving account we have had of what the victims of the Jim Crow South suffered and somehow endured."
C. Vann Woodward
In April 1899, black laborer Sam Hose killed his white boss in self-defense. Wrongly accused of raping the man's wife, Hose was mutilated, stabbed, and burned alive in front of 2,000 cheering whites. His body was sold piecemeal to souvenir seekers; an Atlanta grocery displayed his knuckles in its front window for a week.
With the same narrative skill he brought to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Been in the Storm So Long, Leon Litwack constructs a searing history of life under Jim Crow. Drawing on new documentation and first-person accounts by blacks and whites, he describes the injusticesboth institutional and personalinflicted against a people. Here, too, are the black men and women whose activism, literature, and music preserved the genius of their human spirit. Painstakingly researched, important, and timely, Trouble in Mind recalls the bloodiest and most repressive period in the history of race relations in the United Statesand the painful record of discrimination that haunts us to this day.
"Moving, elegant, earthy and pointed. . . . It forces us to reckon with the tragic legacies of freedom as well as of slavery. And it reminds us of the resilience and creativity of the human spirit."
Steven Hahn, The San Diego Union-Tribune
"A chilling reminder of how simple it has been for Americans to delude themselves about the power of race." The Raleigh News & Observer
The 1970s witnessed an explosion of extraordinary historical scholarship on black slavery, culture, and the complex relationship between races in U.S. history. Among the best of the great books published was Berkeley professor Litwack's Been in the Storm So Long (Random, 1979), which examined the development of black society and culture roughly from the Civil War to the end of the 19th century. The new volume begins a century ago as race relations deteriorated toward strict segregation and a brutality that rivaled slavery. As in his earlier book, Litwack is strongest describing how the black community built and preserved its integrity while under constant assault from hostile whites. This long-awaited sequel shows that the author is a master of making the most of sources that only a generation ago were considered too meager to merit serious historical examination. A useful discography follows the thorough bibliography of primary and secondary sources. Highly recommended for most public and academic audiences.
--Charles K. Piehl, Mankato State University, Minn.