The Kings of Mississippi: Race, Religious Education, and the Making of a Middle-Class Black Family in the Segregated South
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.
- Joe Feagin, Texas A & M University and author of Racist America
About the Authors
Sandra L. Barnes is the C.V. Starr Endowed Professor and Chair in the Dept. of Sociology at Brown University.
Benita Blanford-Jones is a Social Studies teacher with the Gary Community School Corporation.