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The Road to Jim Crow

, 356 pages
February 2017


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The Road to Jim Crow

The African American Struggle on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, 1860–1915

Making extensive use of primary sources, C. Christopher Brown has broken new ground and filled a long overlooked gap in Maryland history. Here is the story of African Americans on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, from the promise-filled days following the end of slavery to the rise of lynch law, segregation, and systematic efforts at disenfranchisement. Resisting, as best they could, attempts of the Democratic "White Man’s Party" to render them second-class citizens, black communities rallied to their churches and fought determinedly to properly educate their children and gain a measure of political power. The Eastern Shore's Cambridge, guided by savvy and energetic leaders, became a political and cultural center of African American life.

C. Christopher Brown is a retired civil rights attorney and professor at the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law.

"With unflinching dedication, Chris Brown has unearthed the secret history of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He brings to life a separate world that is also heartland America. His vivid stories make the record of cross-racial democracy at once shameful, revealing, inspirational, and all too contemporary."

"The Road to Jim Crow is a masterful blend of scholarship and insightful analysis. It is at once engrossing and informative. The history of the African American’s quest for equality, especially politically, is fascinating—and, more important, provides a window into some of the peculiarities of the Eastern Shore mindset, particularly as relates to policy choices locally as well as state-wide."

"Finally! A crucial part of Tidewater history that for too long has been ignored, forgotten, and altogether sadly neglected. Chris Brown has written an eye opener about one of the most difficult and, at times, promising political periods for African-Americans on Maryland’s storied Eastern Shore. The Road to Jim Crow is essential reading, even for those who thought they knew all there was to know about 'the Land of Pleasant Living.'"