- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: April 2023
- Print publication year: 2023
- Online ISBN: 9781009182546
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009182546
In Langston Hughes' 'Mother to Son,' (1922), written at a time of dramatic disruption in the American economy and continued tyranny in the lives of Black people, urban and rural, the Mother pleads with the child not to give up. She tells the child that she has been 'a climbing on, reaching landings and turning corners.' Not only did the seven families chronicled in this unique study not give up, while both losing and gaining ground, they managed to sponsor a generation of children, several of whom reached the middle and upper-middle classes. Land, Promise, and Peril chronicles the actions, actors, and events that propelled legal racism and quelled it, showing how leadership and political institutions play a crucial role in shaping the pace and quality of exits from poverty. Despite great odds, some domestics, sharecroppers, tenants, and farmers and their children navigated pathways toward the middle class and beyond.
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