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Short Synopsis
Chronicling the emergence of deeply embedded notions of black people as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants, this fascinating book reveals the influence such ideas have had on urban development and social policies.

Full Synopsis
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 society. Excessive arrest rates and overrepresentation in northern prisons were seen by many whites—liberals and conservatives, northerners and southerners—as indisputable proof of blacks' inferiority. In the heyday of "separate but equal," what else but pathology could explain black failure in the "land of opportunity?"

The idea of black criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America, as were African Americans' own ideas about race and crime. Chronicling the emergence of deeply embedded notions of black people as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants, this fascinating book reveals the influence such ideas have had on urban development and social policies.

"This important book is a vital contribution to our understanding of the role of racism in American society." ---Aldon D. Morris, author of The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement

"A brilliant, critically important study." ---David R. Roediger, author of How Race Survived U.S. History

"This rich and absorbing history forcefully reveals how putatively objective social knowledge created tight links between color and criminality." ---Ira Katznelson, author of When Affirmative Action Was White

"In my opinion, this is the most significant work in the study of race and American society to have appeared in the past decade." ---Glenn C. Loury, author of The Anatomy of Racial Inequality

The Condemnation of Blackness

Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America

Author Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Narrated by Mirron Willis

Publication date Aug 1, 2017

Running time 13 hrs

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