MINORITIES IN AMERICAN HISTORY: From the Progressive Era to the Great Depression, 1900-1929 (Vol. IV) by William Loren Katz

MINORITIES IN AMERICAN HISTORY: From the Progressive Era to the Great Depression, 1900-1929 (Vol. IV)

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The basic outline of Katz' revisionist-oriented chronicle is familiar -- stretching in these latest two volumes from the quickly snuffed out promise of Reconstruction and the soon soured black-white alliance of early populism to American imperialism in Guam, Panama and the Philippines, the rising tide of anti-Catholicism and the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan in the era before the First World War. Even more compelling than the sustained argument is the sheer breadth of concern; both the main text and the many boxed one or two paragraph inserts are packed with more or less familiar incidents of discrimination -- drawn from a sharecropper's letter, Presidential statements, Henry Ford's anti-Semitic propaganda, Mexican newspapers reporting the state of Chicano affairs -- and concerning minority, groups of all sizes, Japanese, Czechs and even Sikhs as well as Irish, blacks and native Americans. The marshalled facts add up to an overwhelming record of racism and jingoism, but this is balanced where possible by more positive evidence -- of, for example, a sympathy strike in which newly arrived Jews supported Irish workers, of black-white cooperation, of courageous individuals of all nationalities and colors. In this context, the contributions of women are not neglected and portraits of the successful and notable include not just the usual business tycoons, inventors and black cowboys, but scholar Prof. Evangelinus Sophocles, botanist Gim Gong Lue, politico Peter Altgeld and crusading black journalists Ida Wells and John Edward Bruce. Beyond the cumulatively impressive indictment of bigotry, there's a recognition of the diversity which inspires hope -- a sweeping but intelligent and highly useful distillation.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1974
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Franklin Watts