"Dorsey pulls together a wealth of sources on black Atlanta and for scholars unfamiliar with the city she seems to have left no stone unturned. Through careful examination of newspapers, city directories, church records, civic documents, and manuscript collections, the author has weaved a detailed and multifaceted picture of black elite life and culture in one Southern community. . . . Bold, authoritative, and comprehensive."
—H-Net Reviews (H-Urban)
Among other topics, Dorsey discusses the boomtown atmosphere of post-Civil War Atlanta that lent itself so well to black community formation; the diversity of black church life in the city; the role of Atlanta's black colleges in facilitating economic prosperity and upward mobility; and the ways that white political retrenchment across Georgia played itself out in Atlanta. Throughout, Dorsey shows how black Atlantans adapted the cultures, traditions, and survival mechanisms of slavery to the new circumstances of freedom.
Although white public opinion endorsed racial uplift, whites inevitably resented black Atlantans who achieved some measure of success. The Atlanta race riot of 1906, which marks the end of this study, was no aberration, Dorsey argues, but the inevitable outcome of years of accumulated white apprehensions about black strivings for social equality and economic success. Denied the benefits of full citizenship, the black elite refocused on building an Atlanta of their own within a sphere of racial exclusion that would remain in force for much of the twentieth century.
Read more about the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
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