The Little Rock Central High School integration crisis did not end in1957 when President Eisenhower sent a portion of the first Airborne Division to protect nine black students. The turmoil was entering its second year in 1958 when Arkansas governor Orval Faubus invoked a hastily passed state law to close the high schools rather than obey the federal court orders that would integrate them.
A group of respectable, middle-class white women, faced with the prospect of no schools as well as the further loss of their city’s good name, turned militant. Led by Adolphine Fletcher Teny, a prominent, “old family” civic leader in her seventies, the wome n quickly put together the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC), a highly effective organization that bombarded the city with ads, fliers, and statements challenging Faubus’s action. At peak membership, the WEC mustered two thousand
to their cause. Largely inexperienced in politics when they joined the WEC, these women became articulate, confident promoters of public schools and helped others to understand that those schools must be fully integrated.
Forty years later, Sara Murphy, a key member of the WEC, recounts the rarely told sto1y of these courageous women who formed a resistance movement. With passion and sensitivity, she reconstructs the challenges and triumphs of that battle, which issued from the mutual link Southern white women shared with disfranchised African Americans in their common goal for full citizenship.
A series of policy shifts over the past decade promises to change how Americans decide where to send their children to school. In theory, the boom in standardized test scores and charter schools will allow parents to evaluate their assigned neighborhood school, or move in search of a better option. But what kind of data do parents actually use while choosing schools? Are there differences among suburban and urban families? How do parents’ choices influence school and residential segregation in America? Choosing Homes, Choosing Schools presents a breakthrough analysis of the new era of school choice, and what it portends for American neighborhoods. The distinguished contributors to Choosing Homes, Choosing Schools investigate the complex relationship between education, neighborhood social networks, and larger patterns of inequality. Paul Jargowsky reviews recent trends in segregation by race and class. His analysis shows that segregation between blacks and whites has declined since 1970, but remains extremely high. Moreover, white families with children are less likely than childless whites to live in neighborhoods with more minority residents. In her chapter, Annette Lareau draws on interviews with parents in three suburban neighborhoods to analyze school-choice decisions. Surprisingly, she finds that middle- and upper-class parents do not rely on active research, such as school tours or test scores. Instead, most simply trust advice from friends and other people in their network. Their decision-making process was largely informal and passive. Eliot Weinginer complements this research when he draws from his data on urban parents. He finds that these families worry endlessly about the selection of a school, and that parents of all backgrounds actively consider alternatives, including charter schools. Middle- and upper-class parents relied more on federally mandated report cards, district websites, and online forums, while working-class parents use network contacts to gain information on school quality. Little previous research has explored what role school concerns play in the preferences of white and minority parents for particular neighborhoods. Featuring innovative work from more than a dozen scholars, Choosing Homes, Choosing Schools adroitly addresses this gap and provides a firmer understanding of how Americans choose where to live and send their children to school.
A compelling history of school desegregation and activism in San Francisco
The picture of school desegregation in the United States is often painted with broad strokes of generalization and insulated anecdotes. Its true history, however, is remarkably wide ranging. Class Action tells the story of San Francisco’s long struggle over school desegregation in the wake of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.
San Francisco’s story provides a critical chapter in the history of American school discrimination and the complicated racial politics that emerged. It was among the first large cities outside the South to face court-ordered desegregation following the Brown rulings, and it experienced the same demographic shifts that transformed other cities throughout the urban West. Rand Quinn argues that the district’s student assignment policies—including busing and other desegregative mechanisms—began as a remedy for state discrimination but transformed into a tool intended to create diversity. Drawing on extensive archival research—from court docket files to school district records—Quinn describes how this transformation was facilitated by the rise of school choice, persistent demand for neighborhood schools, evolving social and legal landscapes, and local community advocacy and activism.
Class Action is the first book to present a comprehensive political history of post-Brown school desegregation in San Francisco. Quinn illuminates the evolving relationship between jurisprudence and community-based activism and brings a deeper understanding to the multiracial politics of urban education reform. He responds to recent calls by scholars to address the connections between ideas and policy change and ultimately provides a fascinating look at race and educational opportunity, school choice, and neighborhood schools in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education.
A Class of Their Own
Adam Fairclough Harvard University Press, 2007 Library of Congress LC2802.S9F35 2007 | Dewey Decimal 371.1008996073
In this major undertaking, civil rights historian Adam Fairclough chronicles the odyssey of black teachers in the South from emancipation in 1865 to integration one hundred years later. A Class of Their Own is indispensable for understanding how blacks and whites interacted after the abolition of slavery, and how black communities coped with the challenges of freedom and oppression.
When Huston Diehl began teaching a fourth-grade class in a "Negro" elementary school in rural Louisa County, Virginia, the school’s white superintendent assured her that he didn't expect her to teach "those children" anything. She soon discovered how these low expectations, widely shared by the white community, impeded her students' ability to learn. With its overcrowded classrooms, poorly trained teachers, empty bookshelves, and meager supplies, her segregated school was vastly inferior to the county's white elementary schools, and the message it sent her students was clear: "dream not of other worlds."
In her often lyrical memoir, Diehl reveals how, in the intimacy of the classroom, her students reached out to her, a young white northerner, and shared their fears, anxieties, and personal beliefs. Repeatedly surprised and challenged by her students, Diehl questions her long-standing middle-class assumptions and confronts her own prejudices. In doing so, she eloquently reflects on what the students taught her about the hurt of bigotry and the humiliation of poverty as well as dignity, courage, and resiliency.
Set in the waning days of the Jim Crow South, Dream Not of Other Worlds chronicles an important moment in American history. Diehl examines the history of black education in the South and narrates the dramatic struggle to integrate Virginia's public schools. Meeting with some of her former students and colleagues and visiting the school where she once taught, she considers what has--and has not--changed after more than thirty years of integrated schooling. This provocative book raises many issues that are of urgent concern today: the continuing social consequences of segregated schools, the role of public education in American society, and the challenges of educating minority and poor children.
"Milwaukee's story is unique in that its struggle for integration and quality education has been so closely tied to [school] choice." --from the Introduction
"Educating Milwaukee: How One City's History of Segregation and Struggle Shaped Its Schools" traces the origins of the modern school choice movement, which is growing in strength throughout the United States. Author James K. Nelsen follows Milwaukee's tumultuous education history through three eras--"no choice," "forced choice," and "school choice." Nelsen details the whole story of Milwaukee's choice movement through to modern times when Milwaukee families have more schooling options than ever--charter schools, open enrollment, state-funded vouchers, neighborhood schools--and yet Milwaukee's impoverished African American students still struggle to succeed and stay in school. "Educating Milwaukee" chronicles how competing visions of equity and excellence have played out in one city's schools in the modern era, offering both a cautionary tale and a "choice" example.
Enduring Legacy describes a multifaceted paradox—a constant struggle between those who espouse a message of hope and inclusion and others who systematically plan for exclusion. Structured inequality in the nation’s schools is deeply connected to social stratification within American society. This paradox began in the eighteenth century and has proved an enduring legacy. Mark Ryan provides historical, political, and pedagogical contexts for teacher candidates—not only to comprehend the nature of racial segregation but, as future educators, to understand their own professional responsibilities, both in the community and in the school, to strive for an integrated classroom where all children have a chance to succeed. The goal of providing every child a world-class education is an ethical imperative, an inherent necessity for a functioning pluralistic democracy. The challenge is both great and growing, for teachers today will face an evermore segregated American classroom.
In this close, personal history, the result of eight years of intensive research, Reed finds Faubus to be an opaque man, “an insoluable mixture of cynicism and compassion, guile and grace, wickedness and goodness,” and, ultimately, “one of the last Americans to perceive politics as a grand game.”
New York Times Book Review Notable Book for 1997
1998 Certificate of Commendation, American Association for State and Local History
Originally published in 1961, this
still timely book illustrates the role of the judiciary in the solution of a
social and political problem. It is unequaled in its description of the plight
of federal judges who are charged with carrying out the decisions of the Supreme
Court against segregation but who are under constant pressure--social,
political, and personal -- to speak for the white South. Some have been
ostracized by their communities as traitors; others have joined their state
legislatures and local school boards in developing elaborate delay strategy
to circumvent the Supreme Court's decisions.
In his introduction to the first
edition former Senator Paul H. Douglas wrote: ". . . a clear and comprehensive
account of the legal struggles in the federal courts over segregation and desegregation
in the public schools of the nation. It gets behind the newspaper headlines
and gives a play-by-play account. . . . This book is indeed full proof of the
delays and difficulties of the law and the pressures of local public opinion."
Perhaps more than any other Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision declaring the segregation of public schools unconstitutional, highlighted both the possibilities and the limitations of American democracy. This collection of sixteen original essays by historians and legal scholars takes the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Brown to reconsider the history and legacy of that landmark decision. From the Grassroots to the Supreme Court juxtaposes oral histories and legal analysis to provide a nuanced look at how men and women understood Brown and sought to make the decision meaningful in their own lives.
The contributors illuminate the breadth of developments that led to Brown, from the parallel struggles for social justice among African Americans in the South and Mexican, Asian, and Native Americans in the West during the late nineteenth century to the political and legal strategies implemented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (naacp) in the twentieth century. Describing the decision’s impact on local communities, essayists explore the conflict among African Americans over the implementation of Brown in Atlanta’s public schools as well as understandings of the ruling and its relevance among Puerto Rican migrants in New York City. Assessing the legacy of Brown today, contributors analyze its influence on contemporary law, African American thought, and educational opportunities for minority children.
Contributors Tomiko Brown-Nagin Davison M. Douglas Raymond Gavins Laurie B. Green Christina Greene Blair L. M. Kelley Michael J. Klarman Peter F. Lau Madeleine E. Lopez Waldo E. Martin Jr. Vicki L. Ruiz Christopher Schmidt Larissa M. Smith Patricia Sullivan Kara Miles Turner Mark V. Tushnet
Making a Mass Institution describes how Indianapolis, Indiana created a divided and unjust system of high schools over the course of the twentieth century, one that effectively sorted students geographically, economically, and racially. Like most U.S. cities, Indianapolis began its secondary system with a singular, decidedly academic high school, but ended the 1960s with multiple high schools with numerous paths to graduation. Some of the schools were academic, others vocational, and others still for what was eventually called “life adjustment.” This system mirrored the multiple forces of mass society that surrounded it, as it became more bureaucratic, more focused on identifying and organizing students based on perceived abilities, and more anxious about teaching conformity to middle-class values. By highlighting the experiences of the students themselves and the formation of a distinct, school-centered youth culture, Kyle P. Steele argues that high school, as it evolved into a mass institution, was never fully the domain of policy elites, school boards and administrators, or students, but a complicated and ever-changing contested meeting place of all three.
In a radically unequal United States, schools are often key sites in which injustice grows. Ansley T. Erickson’s Making the Unequal Metropolis presents a broad, detailed, and damning argument about the inextricable interrelatedness of school policies and the persistence of metropolitan-scale inequality. While many accounts of education in urban and metropolitan contexts describe schools as the victims of forces beyond their control, Erickson shows the many ways that schools have been intertwined with these forces and have in fact—via land-use decisions, curricula, and other tools—helped sustain inequality.
Taking Nashville as her focus, Erickson uncovers the hidden policy choices that have until now been missing from popular and legal narratives of inequality. In her account, inequality emerges not only from individual racism and white communities’ resistance to desegregation, but as the result of long-standing linkages between schooling, property markets, labor markets, and the pursuit of economic growth. By making visible the full scope of the forces invested in and reinforcing inequality, Erickson reveals the complex history of, and broad culpability for, ongoing struggles in our schools.
In The Marion Thompson Wright Reader, acclaimed historian Graham Russell Hodges provides a scholarly, accessible introduction to a modern edition of Marion Thompson Wright’s classic book, The Education of Negroes in New Jersey and to her full body of scholarly work. First published in 1941 by Teachers College Press, Thompson’s landmark study has been out of print for decades. Such rarity understates the book’s importance. Thompson’s major book and her life are significant for the histories of New Jersey, African Americans, local and national, women’s and education history. Drawing upon Wright's work, existing scholarship, and new archival research, this new landmark scholarly edition, which includes an all-new biography of this pioneering scholar, underscores the continued relevance of Marion Thompson Wright.
The constitutional theorist Owen Fiss explores the purpose and possibilities of life in the law through a moving account of thirteen lawyers who shaped the legal world during the past half century. He tries to identify the unique qualities of mind and character that made these individuals so important to the institutions and principles they served.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas (1954) was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in the twentieth century. It overturned the Court’s earlier ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), declaring the establishment of separate public schools for black and white students, as inherently unequal. This victory paved the way for integration in public schools and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The Promise of Justice:Essays on Brown v. Board of Education assembles fourteen essays about Brown and its consequences in the fifty years following the decision.
Several of the essayists in this anthology provide personal recollections of the conditions before and immediately after the decision in Brown. One of the authors was a child plaintiff in a related case. Another was the federal district judge responsible for deciding in favor of, and then overseeing, integration in a major northern city. Contributors to this volume include legal specialists, sociologists, educators, and political scientists. A history of the legal milestones of integration is included, as well as judgments about the progress that has been made and the need for additional actions to assure racial equality under the law. Ten of these essays first appeared in a special issue of The Negro Educational Review published in January 2005, and four were written expressly for this volume.
In 1954 the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education; ten years later, Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act. These monumental changes in American law dramatically expanded educational opportunities for racial and ethnic minority children across the country. They also changed the experiences of white children, who have learned in increasingly diverse classrooms. The authors of this commemorative volume include leading scholars in law, education, and public policy, as well as important historical figures. Taken together, the chapters trace the narrative arc of school desegregation in the United States, beginning in California in the 1940s, continuing through Brown v. Board, the Civil Rights Act, and three important Supreme Court decisions about school desegregation and voluntary integration in 1974, 1995, and 2007. The authors also assess the status of racial and ethnic equality in education today and consider the viability of future legal and policy reform in pursuit of the goals of Brown v. Board. This remarkable collection of voices in conversation with one another lays the groundwork for future discussions about the relationship between law and educational equality, and ultimately for the creation of new public policy. A valuable reference for scholars and students alike, this dynamic text is an important contribution to the literature by an outstanding group of authors.
The interrelation among race, schooling, and labor market opportunities of American blacks can help us make sense of the relatively poor economic status of blacks in contemporary society. The role of these factors in slavery and the economic consequences for blacks has received much attention, but the post-slave experience of blacks in the American economy has been less studied. To deepen our understanding of that experience, Robert A. Margo mines a wealth of newly available census data and school district records. By analyzing evidence concerning occupational discrimination, educational expenditures, taxation, and teachers' salaries, he clarifies the costs for blacks of post-slave segregation.
"A concise, lucid account of the bases of racial inequality in the South between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights era. . . . Deserves the careful attention of anyone concerned with historical and contemporary race stratification."—Kathryn M. Neckerman, Contemporary Sociology
"Margo has produced an excellent study, which can serve as a model for aspiring cliometricians. To describe it as 'required reading' would fail to indicate just how important, indeed indispensable, the book will be to scholars interested in racial economic differences, past or present."—Robert Higgs, Journal of Economic Literature
"Margo shows that history is important in understanding present domestic problems; his study has significant implications for understanding post-1950s black economic development."—Joe M. Richardson, Journal of American History
Many have questioned FDR's record on race, suggesting that he had the opportunity but not the will to advance the civil rights of African Americans. Kevin J. McMahon challenges this view, arguing instead that Roosevelt's administration played a crucial role in the Supreme Court's increasing commitment to racial equality—which culminated in its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
McMahon shows how FDR's attempt to strengthen the presidency and undermine the power of conservative Southern Democrats dovetailed with his efforts to seek racial equality through the federal courts. By appointing a majority of rights-based liberals deferential to presidential power, Roosevelt ensured that the Supreme Court would be receptive to civil rights claims, especially when those claims had the support of the executive branch.
Inspired by the University of Illinois's celebration of the Brown v. Board of Education decision's fiftieth anniversary in 2004, this collection addresses the significance of the Brown decision in the contributors' lives or work in education and civil rights. The book stands as a historic document in its own right, preserving the reactions of many prominent intellectuals, artists, and activists fifty years after the decision.
Contributors are Kal Alston, Margaret L. Andersen, Kathryn H. Anthony, Nathaniel C. Banks, Bernice McNair Barnett, Christopher Benson, Ed Blankenheim, Julian Bond, Orville Vernon Burton, Jason Chambers, Constance Curry, Joseph A. De Laine Jr., Mary L. Dudziak, Joe R. Feagin, John Hope Franklin, Ophelia De Laine Gona, Lani Guinier, Darlene Clark Hine, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, John Jennings, Ralph Lemon, George Lipsitz, Jim Loewen, Laughlin McDonald, David O'Brien, James C. Onderdonk, Sekou Sundiata, Christopher Teal, Nicholas Watkins, Carrie Mae Weems, Juan Williams, and Joy Ann Williamson.
Many localities in America resisted integration in the aftermath of the Brown v. Board of Education rulings (1954, 1955). Virginia’s Prince Edward County stands as perhaps the most extreme. Rather than fund integrated schools, the county’s board of supervisors closed public schools from 1959 until 1964. The only formal education available for those locked out of school came in 1963 when the combined efforts of Prince Edward’s African American community and aides from President John F. Kennedy’s administration established the Prince Edward County Free School Association (Free School). This temporary school system would serve just over 1,500 students, both black and white, aged 6 through 23.
Drawing upon extensive archival research, Resisting Brown presents the Free School as a site in which important rhetorical work took place. Candace Epps-Robertson analyzes public discourse that supported the school closures as an effort and manifestation of citizenship and demonstrates how the establishment of the Free School can be seen as a rhetorical response to white supremacist ideologies. The school’s mission statements, philosophies, and commitment to literacy served as arguments against racialized constructions of citizenship. Prince Edward County stands as a microcosm of America’s struggle with race, literacy, and citizenship.
The civil rights era was a time of pervasive change in American political and social life. Among the decisive forces driving change were lawyers, who wielded the power of law to resolve competing concepts of order and equality and, in the end, to hold out the promise of a new and better nation.
The Search for Justice is a look the role of the lawyers throughout the period, focusing on one of the central issues of the time: school segregation. The most notable participants to address this issue were the public interest lawyers of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, whose counselors brought lawsuits and carried out appeals in state and federal courts over the course of twenty years. But also playing a part in the story were members of the bar who defended Jim Crow laws explicitly or implicitly and, in some cases, also served in state or federal government; lawyers who sat on state and federal benches and heard civil rights cases; and, finally, law professors who analyzed the reasoning of the courts in classrooms and public forums removed from the fray. With rich, copiously researched detail, Hoffer takes readers through the interactions of these groups, setting their activities not only in the context of the civil rights movement but also of their full political and legal legacies, including the growth of corporate private legal practice after World War II and the expansion of the role of law professors in public discourse, particularly with the New Deal. Seeing the civil rights era through the lens of law enables us to understand for the first time the many ways in which lawyers affected the course and outcome of the movement.
Early childhood can be a time of rich discovery, a period when educators have an opportunity to harness their students’ fascination to create unique learning opportunities. Some teachers engage with their students’ ideas in ways that make learning collaborative--but not all students have access to these kinds of learning environments.
In Segregation by Experience, the authors filmed and studied a a first-grade classroom led by a Black immigrant teacher who encouraged her diverse group of students to exercise their agency. When the researchers showed the film to other schools, everyone struggled. Educators admired the teacher but didn’t think her practices would work with their own Black and brown students. Parents of color—many of them immigrants—liked many of the practices, but worried that they would compromise their children. And the young children who viewed the film thought that the kids in the film were terrible, loud, and badly behaved; they told the authors that learning was supposed to be quiet, still, and obedient. In Segregation by Experience Jennifer Keys Adair and Kiyomi Sánchez-Suzuki Colegrove show us just how much our expectations of children of color affect what and how they learn at school, and they ask us to consider which children get to have sophisticated, dynamic learning experiences at school and which children are denied such experiences because of our continued racist assumptions about them.
Students of the Dream
Ruth Carbonette Yow Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress LC214.23.M3Y69 2017 | Dewey Decimal 379.26309758245
Marietta High, once a flagship public school northwest of Atlanta, has become a symbol of the resegregation that is sweeping across the American South. Ruth Carbonette Yow argues for a revitalized commitment to integration, but one that challenges many orthodoxies of the civil rights struggle, including colorblindness.
Chicago has long struggled with racial residential segregation, high rates of poverty, and deepening class stratification, and it can be a challenging place for adolescents to grow up. Unequal City examines the ways in which Chicago’s most vulnerable residents navigate their neighborhoods, life opportunities, and encounters with the law. In this pioneering analysis of the intersection of race, place, and opportunity, sociologist and criminal justice expert Carla Shedd illuminates how schools either reinforce or ameliorate the social inequalities that shape the worlds of these adolescents.
Shedd draws from an array of data and in-depth interviews with Chicago youth to offer new insight into this understudied group. Focusing on four public high schools with differing student bodies, Shedd reveals how the predominantly low-income African American students at one school encounter obstacles their more affluent, white counterparts on the other side of the city do not face. Teens often travel long distances to attend school which, due to Chicago’s segregated and highly unequal neighborhoods, can involve crossing class, race, and gang lines. As Shedd explains, the disadvantaged teens who traverse these boundaries daily develop a keen “perception of injustice,” or the recognition that their economic and educational opportunities are restricted by their place in the social hierarchy.
Adolescents’ worldviews are also influenced by encounters with law enforcement while traveling to school and during school hours. Shedd tracks the rise of metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and pat-downs at certain Chicago schools. Along with police procedures like stop-and-frisk, these prison-like practices lead to distrust of authority and feelings of powerlessness among the adolescents who experience mistreatment either firsthand or vicariously. Shedd finds that the racial composition of the student body profoundly shapes students’ perceptions of injustice. The more diverse a school is, the more likely its students of color will recognize whether they are subject to discriminatory treatment. By contrast, African American and Hispanic youth whose schools and neighborhoods are both highly segregated and highly policed are less likely to understand their individual and group disadvantage due to their lack of exposure to youth of differing backgrounds.
In recent decades a growing number of middle-class parents have considered sending their children to—and often end up becoming active in—urban public schools. Their presence can bring long-needed material resources to such schools, but, as Linn Posey-Maddox shows in this study, it can also introduce new class and race tensions, and even exacerbate inequalities. Sensitively navigating the pros and cons of middle-class transformation, When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools asks whether it is possible for our urban public schools to have both financial security and equitable diversity.
Drawing on in-depth research at an urban elementary school, Posey-Maddox examines parents’ efforts to support the school through their outreach, marketing, and volunteerism. She shows that when middle-class parents engage in urban school communities, they can bring a host of positive benefits, including new educational opportunities and greater diversity. But their involvement can also unintentionally marginalize less-affluent parents and diminish low-income students’ access to the improving schools. In response, Posey-Maddox argues that school reform efforts, which usually equate improvement with rising test scores and increased enrollment, need to have more equity-focused policies in place to ensure that low-income families also benefit from—and participate in—school change.
This is the first effort to provide a broad assessment of how well the Brown v. Board of Education decision that declared an end to segregated schools in the United States was implemented. Written by a distinguished group of historians, the twelve essays in this collection examine how African Americans and their supporters in twelve states—Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Delaware, Missouri, Indiana, Nevada, and Wisconsin—dealt with the Court’s mandate to desegregate “with all deliberate speed.” The process followed many diverse paths. Some of the common themes in these efforts were the importance of black activism, especially the crucial role played by the NAACP; entrenched white opposition to school integration, which wasn’t just a southern state issue, as is shown in Delaware, Wisconsin, and Indiana; and the role of the federal government, a sometimes inconstant and sometimes reluctant source of support for implementing Brown.
In 1970 Brown v. Board of Education was sixteen years old, and fifteen years had passed since the Brown II mandate that schools integrate "with all deliberate speed." Still, after all this time, it was necessary for the U.S. Supreme Court to order thirty Mississippi school districts--whose speed had been anything but deliberate--to integrate immediately. One of these districts included Yazoo City, the hometown of writer Willie Morris. Installed productively on "safe, sane Manhattan Island," Morris, though compelled to write about this pivotal moment, was reluctant to return to Yazoo and do no less than serve as cultural ambassador between the flawed Mississippi that he loved and a wider world. "I did not want to go back," Morris wrote. "I finally went home because the urge to be there during Yazoo's most critical moment was too elemental to resist, and because I would have been ashamed of myself if I had not." The result, Yazoo, is part reportage, part memoir, part ethnography, part social critique--and one of the richest accounts we have of a community's attempt to come to terms with the realities of seismic social change. As infinitely readable and nuanced as ever, Yazoo is available again, enhanced by an informative foreword by historian Jenifer Jensen Wallach and a warm and personal afterword on Morris's writing life by his widow, JoAnne Prichard Morris.