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.
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
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