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  • Mike Martinez

A Long Dark Night: Race in America from Jim Crow to World War II

I am pleased to announce the publication of my tenth book. It is titled A Long Dark Night: Race in America from Jim Crow to World War II. Rowman & Littlefield published the book on April 15, 2016. In some ways, A Long Dark Night stands as a sequel to my study of race relations from the 1830s through the 1880s, Coming For to Carry Me Home: Race in America from Abolitionism to Jim Crow, published by Rowman & Littlefield in December 2011.

Here is the publisher’s summary:

A Long Dark Night provides a sweeping history of an overlooked period of African American history that followed the collapse of Reconstruction — from the beginnings of legal segregation through the end of World War II. J. Michael Martinez argues that the 1880s ushered in the dark night of the American Negro — a night so dark and so long that the better part of a century would elapse before sunlight broke through. Combining both a “top down” perspective on crucial political issues and public policy decisions as well as a “bottom up” discussion of the lives of black and white Americans between the 1880s and the 1940s, A Long Dark Night will be of interest to all readers seeking to better understand this crucial era that continues to resonate throughout American life today.

Copies can be ordered online through these outlets:

Rowman & Littlefield:

Barnes and Noble:

The dust jacket contains three endorsements from scholars prominent in the field:

“Martinez presents a nuanced and balanced account of political and social history of the racial struggle between black and white America during the eight decades following the Civil War. His even-handed and inclusive approach tells a story that is not as unremittingly bleak as the title would suggest. His account of southern populism in the early 20th century, for example, includes the neo-Bourbons, those white politicians who opposed the Klan at a time when the KKK was thriving. Martinez’s story ends with the Supreme Court’s invalidation of restrictive covenants and Truman’s executive orders integrating the military and requiring fair employment practices in the Federal government. By reminding us of these hopeful developments, Martinez presents a complete picture, presaging hopeful developments in the civil rights era that follows. He gives readers enough details so they can see the entire forest with its variety of trees without bogging readers down examining minutiae.” — George Schedler, professor of philosophy emeritus, Southern Illinois University, and author of Racist Symbols & Reparations: Philosophical Reflections of Vestiges of the American Civil War

“A masterful synthesis, this book explores in fine detail the political, social, economic, cultural, and legal forces behind issues of African American agency in the midst of white supremacy. Grappling with the irony of American ideals and American race relations from Reconstruction through World War II, Martinez delivers a crucial context for understanding the prelude to the civil rights movement. He illuminates the complexity and tension of the black experience and grapples with profound questions of racial discrimination. This is a welcome and important contribution to American history, thoughtful, comprehensive, and engaging.” — Orville Vernon Burton, Creativity Professor of Humanities, Professor of History, Sociology, and Computer Science, Clemson University, Director of the Clemson Cyber Institute, and author of The Age of Lincoln

“A Long Dark Night is a highly readable and well-researched survey of U.S. race relations from the Civil War to World War II – a complex epoch that every American needs to better understand.” — Cameron McWhirter, staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Bureau, and author of Red Summer: the Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America

Regular readers of my blog know that this has been a long, tortured journey to publication. I discussed the multiple problems I experienced in my July 29, 2015, blog. For the time being, however, all is well.

Now, I must move onward and upward. Current and future writing projects await my attention.

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