CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE AMERICAN NEGRO: A Documentary History by Albert P. & Robert L. Zangrando -- Eds. Blaustein

CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE AMERICAN NEGRO: A Documentary History

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Sturdy documentary evidence of the deep-rooted schism in American racial views, from the record of the first slave cargo in 1619 to the Summary of the recent Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. Blaustein, a professor of law at Rutgers (and co-author of Segregation and the Law) and Zangrando, assistant executive secretary of the American Historical Association and a specialist in civil rights, provide a balanced collection of legal briefs, court decisions, laws, Presidential statements, editorials, and public addresses, arranged chronologically. The editors have resisted the recent tendency to overcorrect history, and among these documents are strong anti-slavery statements (and legal provisions) as well as equally impassioned ""positive defenses"" of the peculiar institution. But the history of black citizenship -- from servant, to slave, to second-class status -- is marked by frequent backlashes and backward movements, including the Southern Black Codes that cancelled many of the freedoms won in the Civil War and the Supreme Court decisions of 1883 that amounted to ""virtual nullification"" of Reconstruction era legislation. Included here also are Nat Turner's ""Confession,"" the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, and documents on voting, education, the armed forces, and housing. Unlike Leon Friedman's The Civil Rights Reader (p. 586, 1967), this collection spans three hundred years. As it stresses basic documents -- the book is another good introduction to civil rights history and a useful permanent reference.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1968
Publisher: Washington Square Press