Us and Them: A History of Intolerance in America

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9780195103786: Us and Them: A History of Intolerance in America
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The history of intolerance in the United States begins in colonial times. Discrimination on the basis of religion, race, and sexual orientation have been characteristic of our society for more than three centuries. Us and Them illuminates these dark corners of our nation's past and traces its ongoing efforts to live up to its ideals.
Through 14 case studies, using original documents, historical photos, newly commissioned paintings, and dramatic narratives, readers begin to understand the history and psychology of intolerance as they witness firsthand the struggles that have shaped our collective identity.
We read about Mary Dyer, who was executed for her Quaker faith in Boston in 1660. We learn how the Mormons were expelled from Missouri in 1838. The attack on Chinese miners in Rock Spring, Wyoming in 1885, the battle of Wounded Knee in 1890, the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Mobile, Alabama in 1981, and the Crown Heights riot in New York in 1991--all are presented in clear and powerful narrative that brings to life history that is often forgotten or slighted.

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About the Author:


Jim Carnes was born in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1955. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he served as an editor with Encyclopaedia Britannica for eight years. He is currently a senior writer with the Teaching Tolerance project of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Gr. 7^-12. The language of hatred is the same through the centuries, even in a country that draws its strength from diversity. Each chapter in this excellent history focuses in depth on one individual's experience or on a particular episode of bigotry--the Cherokee people's journey to exile on the Trail of Tears, the nineteenth-century conflict between Protestant nativists and Catholic immigrants in Philadelphia, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the recent race riots in Crown Heights, the murder of a gay man in Maine, and more. The accounts are grim (several chapters end in death, including lynching or massacre), and in each case readers are asked to think about what happened to ordinary people and to connect the episode with prejudice throughout our history and right now. The large-size volume has a handsome, readable design, with lots of boxed quotes and insets, contemporary photos and prints, and bold, dramatic pastel illustrations. There's a long bibliography, but the lack of source notes is a serious drawback (which 1992 survey found that 47 per cent of high-school students would participate in racist incidents or silently support them?). Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, includes this book as the text component in a kit that also contains a video, The Shadow of Hate, and a teacher's guide. The book should get widespread use, both for classroom discussion and for personal reading. Hazel Rochman

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Jim Carnes
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Carnes, Jim
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Jim Carnes, Herbert Tauss (Illustrator), Harry A. Blackmun (Contributor)
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