Winner of the John Hope Franklin Prize
A Moyers & Company Best Book of the Year
“[A] brilliant work that tells us how directly the past has formed us.”
―Darryl Pinckney, New York Review of Books
Lynch mobs, chain gangs, and popular views of black southern criminals that defined the Jim Crow South are well known. We know less about the role of the urban North in shaping views of race and crime in American society.
Following the 1890 census, the first to measure the generation of African Americans born after slavery, crime statistics, new migration and immigration trends, and symbolic references to America as the promised land of opportunity were woven into a cautionary tale about the exceptional threat black people posed to modern urban America.