“This book is an extremely important, groundbreaking work of comparative synthesis that will be a must-read for students of race in the United States as well as in Latin America. It will be the definitive book on the comparative history of race and law in the Americas.”
—Ariela Gross, author of What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America
"A magisterial survey of the legal structures of race in the Americas from the 1500s through the present. Deftly comparing and contrasting Brazil, Spanish America, and the United States, Cottrol examines the legal underpinnings of racial inequality in those countries, the efforts over time to combat inequality, and the continuing challenges that all the societies of the Americas face in the twenty-first century. The result is a thoroughly impressive work of synthesis and comparison."
"This study is an impressively researched, cogently argued, and highly nuanced examination of the sharp divergence in socio-legal attitudes toward slavery and race across the hemisphere of the Americas. Cottrol's impeccable sensitivity to changing time, place, circumstances, and social mores makes this a significant contribution to the growing literature on an extraordinarily complex theme. It will be welcome among serious scholars across many academic disciplines."
—Franklin W. Knight, Stulman Professor of History and Director, Center for Africana Studies, Johns Hopkins University
"The legal history of slavery and race is a demanding subject, doubly so when pursued comparatively. Robert Cottrol rises to the challenge in this comprehensive and illuminating study of slavery, race, and law throughout the Americas, North and South. Spanning half a millennium—from the early modern era of Iberian and English colonization through the end of the twentieth century—Cottrol’s sure-footed book patiently guides the reader through a long and frequently bitter story of the Americas’ many varieties of racial exploitation, exclusion, and reform. Though always sensitive to the distinct institutional trajectories that slavery imprinted on different European colonies and their successor states and to the cultural multiplicity of race and law, Cottrol determinedly pursues answers to the 'big' questions—how to account for different patterns of race relations; how to relate contemporary race to bygone slavery. His book confirms the wisdom of Frank Tannenbaum’s observations, more than sixty years ago, that no matter where one encounters it, the history of slavery and race turns out to be largely a history of the laws that have structured both and that to study the histories of others is an excellent way to learn more about one’s own."
—Christopher Tomlins, Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California Irvine and author of Freedom Bound: Law, Labor and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865
"From scientific racism and immigration policies to racial classifications and legal systems, [The Long, Lingering Shadow] provides a powerful account highly recommended for any racial issues or history holding."
—Midwest Book Review
"The scope and the depth of this fine [Long, Lingering Shadow] are huge. Cottrol's mastery of the primary and secondary sources is truly impressive. The writing is also superb. . . . Long, Lingering Shadow is a truly impressive piece of scholarship."
—James M. Denham, Civil War Book Review
“[Cottrol] shows that while racism was deeply ingrained in the US and less so in Latin America, the situation all but reversed itself in the last half of the 20th century, with the civil rights movement making great strides in the northern hemisphere and the pretense of no racism in the southern hemisphere stultifying the advancement of greater equality. In the course of his analysis, Cottrol’s thoughtful approach to legal history adds significantly to the understanding of activist movements in each country, the advisability of racial preference as a response to past inequities, and the reasons why simply ignoring race in the law fails to address its continuing importance in each national context.”
Students of American history know of the law’s critical role in systematizing a racial hierarchy in the United States. Showing that this history is best appreciated in a comparative perspective, The Long, Lingering Shadow looks at the parallel legal histories of race relations in the United States, Brazil, and Spanish America. Robert J. Cottrol takes the reader on a journey from the origins of New World slavery in colonial Latin America to current debates and litigation over affirmative action in Brazil and the United States, as well as contemporary struggles against racial discrimination and Afro-Latin invisibility in the Spanish-speaking nations of the hemisphere.
Ranging across such topics as slavery, emancipation, scientific racism, immigration policies, racial classifications, and legal processes, Cottrol unravels a complex odyssey. By the eve of the Civil War, the U.S. slave system was rooted in a legal and cultural foundation of racial exclusion unmatched in the Western Hemisphere. That system’s legacy was later echoed in Jim Crow, the practice of legally mandated segregation. Jim Crow in turn caused leading Latin Americans to regard their nations as models of racial equality because their laws did not mandate racial discrimination—a belief that masked very real patterns of racism throughout the Americas. And yet, Cottrol says, if the United States has had a history of more-rigid racial exclusion, since the Second World War it has also had a more thorough civil rights revolution, with significant legal victories over racial discrimination. Cottrol explores this remarkable transformation and shows how it is now inspiring civil rights activists throughout the Americas.
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