Lifting the Chains: The Black Freedom Struggle Since Reconstruction

Oxford Univ. Aug. 2023. 360p. ISBN 9780197616451. $34.95. HIST
Historian Chafe (emeritus, Duke Univ.; Civilities and Civil Rights) argues that Black activists have been the primary force advancing racial equality and social justice in the United States since the Civil War. Pushing from the bottom up with a grassroots base, many Black people have put their lives on the line to affect change, and this book demonstrates that they resisted, persisted, planned, and protested with evolving rhetoric, strategies, and tactics. Spotlighting the roles of family, church, community, education, and work, Chafe details the politics and practices that have been utilized along the way. The author notes that white people have occasionally responded to these efforts, but usually only when it was in their self-interest. The book emphasizes that post-1941 U.S. activism led to the civil rights successes of the 1950s and 1960s. Deeply rooted inequities in home ownership, incomes, jobs, poverty, mass incarceration, and schools, however, confirm that Black people in the States are still struggling today. This book about Black people’s ongoing battle against systemic American racism is a conversational, easy-to-read, tightly reasoned, and fully documented narrative that is enriched by oral histories.
VERDICT For readers who need persuading of the numerous reasons why Black people still face daily battles against discrimination in the United States.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing