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The Kings of Mississippi
Race, Religious Education, and the Making of a Middle-Class Black Family in the Segregated South


Part of Cambridge Studies in Stratification Economics: Economics and Social Identity

  • Date Published: March 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108439336

£ 18.99

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About the Authors
  • Kings of Mississippi examines how a twentieth-century black middle-class family navigated life in rural Mississippi. The book introduces seven generations of a farming family and provides an organic examination of how the family experienced life and economic challenges as one of few middle-class black families living and working alongside the many struggling black and white sharecroppers and farmers in Gallman, Mississippi. Family narratives and census data across time and a socio-ecological lens help assess how race, religion, education, and key employment options influenced economic and non-economic outcomes. Family voices explain how intangible beliefs fueled socioeconomic outcomes despite racial, gender, and economic stratification. The book also examines the effects of stratification changes across time, including: post-migration; inter- and intra-racial conflicts and compromises; and, strategic decisions and outcomes. The book provides an unexpected glimpse at how a family's ethos can foster upward mobility into the middle-class.

    • Proposes an alternative view of the twentieth-century middle-class black family in the rural South
    • Draws on census data to contextualize the family narratives of seven generations of the King family
    • Examines the role religion plays in socio-economic decisions and class outcomes for a middle-class black family in Mississippi
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This provocative, well-crafted book greatly extends research on Black families rooted in and migrating from the Deep South. Barnes and Blanford-Jones provide a revealing socio-ecological window of understanding into the worlds of Black families over generations of constructing lives in the face of white racism and poverty. From richly detailed interviews, we see these courageous Americans proactively and often successfully drawing on landed, religious (Black churches), educational (Black schools), and resistance (counter-framing) capital to not only surmount omnipresent barriers to individual and family mobility but also help build a much better America.' Joe Feagin, Texas A & M University and author of Racist America

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108439336
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: a black family from Mississippi as a socio-ecological phenomenon
    1. 'My own land and a milk cow': race, space, class, and gender as embedded elements of a black southern terrain
    2. 'Bikes or lights': familial decisions in the context of inequality
    3. 'Getting to the school on time': formal education and beyond
    4. 'Jesus and the juke joint': blurred and bordered boundaries and boundary crossing
    5. 'Keeping God's favor': contemporary black families and systemic change
    Conclusion: 'what would Big Mama do?' Activation and routinization of a black family's ethos.

  • Authors

    Sandra L. Barnes, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
    Sandra L. Barnes is a Sociology Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University and the first female African American Assistant Vice Chancellor. She is the author of Empowering Black Youth of Promise (2016), Live Long and Prosper, and The Costs of Being Poor (2005).

    Benita Blanford-Jones
    Benita Blanford-Jones develops and leads several urban youth empowerment and educational mentoring programs. She also holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and a Master's degree in Human Services Administration from Indiana University Northwest.

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