American Nightmare by Jerrold M. Packard
The History of Jim Crow

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Synopsis

For a hundred years after the end of the Civil War, a quarter of all Americans lived under a system of legalized segregation called Jim Crow. Together with its rigidly enforced canon of racial "etiquette," these rules governed nearly every aspect of life--and outlined draconian punishments for infractions.



The purpose of Jim Crow was to keep African Americans subjugated at a level as close as possible to their former slave status. Exceeding even South Africa's notorious apartheid in the humiliation, degradation, and suffering it brought, Jim Crow left scars on the American psyche that are still felt today. American Nightmare examines and explains Jim Crow from its beginnings to its end: how it came into being, how it was lived, how it was justified, and how, at long last, it was overcome only a few short decades ago. Most importantly, this book reveals how a nation founded on principles of equality and freedom came to enact as law a pervasive system of inequality and virtual slavery.



Although America has finally consigned Jim Crow to the historical graveyard, Jerrold Packard shows why it is important that this scourge--and an understanding of how it happened--remain alive in the nation's collective memory.



 

About Jerrold M. Packard

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Jerrold Packard has written serveral books on a variety of historical subjects. He lives in Burlington, Vermont.
 
Published January 4, 2003 by St. Martin's Press. 304 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for American Nightmare

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From popular historian Packard (Victoria’s Daughters, 1998, etc.), a chronicle of the growth and decline of America’s infamous Jim Crow laws, which enforced racial segregation.

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Publishers Weekly

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This is a clear, concise, historical narrative of a draconian reality: how U.S. legal statutes were partially generated by, and in turn bolstered, racist social conditions and entrenched customs. W

Oct 15 2001 | Read Full Review of American Nightmare: The Histo...

Publishers Weekly

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Writing simply and with passion, Packard (Victoria's Daughters) begins with the surprising fact that African-Americans, as well as whites, were first brought to America as indentured servants.

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