Bitters in the Honey: Tales of Hope and Disappointment Across Divides of Race and Time

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9781557285539: Bitters in the Honey: Tales of Hope and Disappointment Across Divides of Race and Time
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Trained sociologist and therapist Roy interviews white alumni of Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas to investigate the reasons behind their resistance to desegregation in 1957. They also explore their lives since then, their present insecurities and resentments as they near retirement age, the shaping the white identities in the second half of the century, and lingering dissatisfaction and anger.

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Most Americans are familiar with the story of what happened at Little Rock's Central High School in September of 1957. Indeed, the image of Central High's massive double staircase--and of nine black teenagers climbing that staircase, clutching their schoolbooks by National Guardsmen with fixed bayonets--has become wedded in the American consciousness to the history of the civil-rights struggle in this country. Drawing on oral histories, Beth Roy tells the story of Central High from a fresh angle. Her interviews with white alumni of Central High investigate the reasons behind their resistance to desegration. The alumni, now near retirement age, tell stories of the shaping of white identities in the latter half of the twentieth century, of dissatisfaction and even anger lingering still after forty years. This treatment of the Central High crisis is unique among studies done to date. It will help readers to better comprehend the complexity of racism, not only as it! was evidenced at Central High in 1957, but as it continues to impact our lives today.

From the Inside Flap:

he story of what happened at Little Rock's Central High School in September of 1957 is one with which most Americans are familiar. Indeed, the image of Central High's massive double staircase?and of nine black teenagers climbing that staircase, clutching their schoolbooks, surrounded by National Guardsmen with fixed bayonets?has become wedded in the American consciousness to the history of the civil-rights struggle in this country. The world saw the drama at Central High as a cautionary tale about power and race. Drawing on oral histories, Beth Roy tells the story of Central High from a fresh angle. Her interviews with white alumni of Central High investigate the reasons behind their resistance to desegregation. The alumni, now near retirement age, discuss their lives since Central High and their present insecurities and resentments. The stories tell of the shaping of white identities in the latter half of the twentieth century, of dissatisfaction, even anger, that still lingers after forty years. Our country has not moved beyond matters of race: we have not left intolerance behind. To do so, Roy believes, we must stop demonizing people whose actions, historical or current, we do not fully understand. This elegantly written treatment of the Central High crisis is unique among studies done to date. It will help readers to better comprehend the complexity of racism, not only as it was evidenced at Central High in 1957, but as it continues to impact our lives today.

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9781557285546: Bitters in the Honey: Tales of Hope and Disappointment across Divides of Race and Time

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ISBN 10:  1557285543 ISBN 13:  9781557285546
Publisher: University of Arkansas Press, 1999
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