1st Edition

How Blacks Built America Labor, Culture, Freedom, and Democracy

By Joe R. Feagin Copyright 2016
    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

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    How Blacks Built America examines the many positive and dramatic contributions made by African Americans to this country over its long history. Almost all public and scholarly discussion of African Americans accenting their distinctive societal position, especially discussion outside black communities, has emphasized either stereotypically negative features or the negative socioeconomic conditions that they have long faced because of systemic racism. In contrast, Feagin reveals that African Americans have long been an extraordinarily important asset for this country. Without their essential contributions, indeed, there probably would not have been a United States. This is an ideal addition to courses race and ethnicity courses.

    1. White Racism, Black Resistance: Seeking Freedom, Justice, and Democracy 2. Black Labor: Building the Economy 3. Black Genius Shaping U.S. Culture 4. Black Counter-Framing: Real Freedom, Justice, and Democracy (1600s-1910s) 5. Black Action: Accelerating Freedom, Justice, and Democracy (1700s-1800s) 6. Black Counter-Framing and Liberatory Action (1900s-1970s) 7. Contemporary Global Impacts: Freedom, Justice, and Democracy


    Joe R. Feagin is Ella C. McFadden Professor in sociology at Texas A&M University. Feagin has done research on racism and sexism issues for decades. He has written 67 scholarly books and more than 200 scholarly articles in his research areas, and one of his books (Ghetto Revolts) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His numerous Routledge books include Systemic Racism: A Theory of Oppression (2006), Two Faced Racism: Whites in the Backstage and Frontstage (2007), White Party, White Government: Race, Class, and U.S. Politics (2012), The White Racial Frame (Second edition, 2013), and Racist America (Third Edition, 2014).

    Feagin is the 2012 recipient of the Soka Gakkai International-USA Social Justice Award, the 2013 American Association for Affirmative Action’s Arthur Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2013 American Sociological Association’s W. E. B. Du Bois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award. He was the 1999–2000 president of the American Sociological Association.


    With this pathbreaking book Professor Feagin inverts the standard Black History Month narrative.  It's not just that African Americans have made valuable contributions to American culture and history.  His point is that fundamental aspects of American life simply wouldn't exist were it not for African Americans.  This is an exciting reconceptualization of the place of African Americans in American life.

    -Kirk Johnson, Sociology, University of Mississippi

    Joe Feagin, the nation’s leading civil rights scholar, places African Americans at the heart of America’s greatness. Fair, judicious, and exhaustively researched, this book analyzes the many contributions African Americans have made to our country since its inception. Feagin answers those who would have us believe that blacks are a "problem people," a national liability.  Through the force of his inimitable scholarship, Feagin documents and discusses the exceptional assets African Americans have delivered to our country—in economics, law, science, culture, and spirituality—and to the global community as well. The great lesson of this book is that the black ethos is an emphatic representation of the American spirit, an ongoing demonstration of the hope and expectation that the poor and downtrodden can stand up against the system and succeed.

    -Roy L. Brooks, University of San Diego School of Law

    In this very insightful and powerfully written book, Joe Feagin provides a necessary historical and political corrective. A tour-de-force through US history and its relationship to race and racism, Feagin thoroughly illustrates the positive and consequential contributions of Black Americans from art to entertainment to politics and social science. How Blacks Built America is an engaging and must-read text.

    -Marcus Anthony Hunter, Sociology, UCLA, and author of Black Citymakers: How The Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America

    Part history lesson, part sociology of race, and all searing, unflinching analysis. Feagin documents the substantial contributions blacks have made to many segments of US society. This book should put to rest the stereotypes and misconceptions of blacks as lazy, peripheral, ‘takers’ and give students a new way to think about the American economy, culture, and political system. 

    -Adia Harvey Wingfield, Sociology, Georgia State University