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Synopsis

How did African-American slaves view their white masters? As demons deities or another race entirely? When nineteenth-century white Americans proclaimed their innate superiority did blacks agree? If not why not? How did blacks assess the status of the white race? Mia Bay traces African-American perceptions of whites between 1830 and 1925 to depict America's shifting attitudes about race in a period that saw slavery emancipation Reconstruction and urban migration. Much has been written about how the whites of this time viewed blacks and about how blacks viewed themselves. By contrast the ways in which blacks saw whites have remained a historical and intellectual mystery. Reversing the focus of such fundamental studies as George Fredrickson's The Black Image in the White Mind Bay investigates this mystery. In doing so she uncovers and elucidates the racial thought of a wide range of nineteenth-century African-Americans--educated and unlettered male and female free and enslaved.

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