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Aristocrats of Color: The Black Elite, 1880–1920
by Willard B. Gatewood
University of Arkansas Press, 2000
Paper: 978-1-55728-593-5 | eISBN: 978-1-61075-025-7
Library of Congress Classification E185.86.G38 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.0496073

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ABOUT THIS BOOK

Every American city had a small, self-aware, and active black elite, who felt it was their duty to set the standard for the less fortunate members of their race and to lead their communities by example. Rank within this black upper class rested on such issues as the status of one’s forebears as either house servants or field hands, the darkness of one’s skin, and the level of one’s manners and education.


Professor Gatewood’s study examines this class of African Americans by looking at the genealogies and occupations of specific families and individuals throughout the United States and their roles in their various communities. The resulting narrative is a full and illuminating account of a most influential segment of the African-American population. It explores fully the distinctive background, prestige, attitudes, behavior, power, and culture of this class. The Black Community Studies series from the University of Arkansas Press, edited by Professor Gatewood, continues to examine many of the same themes first explored in this important study.


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