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New People

Miscegenation and Mulattoes in the United States

by Joel Williamson

240 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / None

American History

  Paperback / 9780807120354 / October 1995

“In New People, Joel Williamson has tackled the most difficult and sensitive topic in the history of American race relations. It is beautifully written and infused with a kind of deep feeling and human concern that is too often lacking in scholarly works on race relations.”—Reviews in American History

New People is an insightful historical analysis of the miscegenation of American whites and blacks from colonial times to the present, of the “new people” produced by these interracial relationships, and of the myriad ways in which miscegenation has affected our national culture. Because the majority of American blacks are in fact of mixed ancestry, and because mulattoes and pure blacks ultimately combined their cultural heritages, what begins in the colonial period as mulatto history and culture ends in the twentieth century as black history and culture. Thus, understanding the history of the mulatto becomes one way of understanding something of the experience of the African American.

Williamson traces the fragile lines of color and caste that have separated mulattoes, blacks, and whites throughout history and speculates on the effect that the increasing ambiguity of those lines will have on the future of American society.

Joel Williamson is Lineberger Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of several books, including After Slavery: The Negro In South Carolina During Reconstruction, 1861-1877; The Crucible of Race: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation; and William Faulkner and Southern History.

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