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A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to TheGreat Migration
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A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to TheGreat Migration

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  350 ratings  ·  13 reviews
This is the epic story of how African-Americans, in the six decades following slavery, transformed themselves into a political people--an embryonic black nation. As Steven Hahn demonstrates, rural African-Americans were central political actors in the great events of disunion, emancipation, and nation-building. At the same time, Hahn asks us to think in more expansive ways ...more
Hardcover, 609 pages
Published November 10th 2003 by Belknap Press (first published April 30th 2003)
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Joseph Stieb
Steven Hahn’s A Nation Under our Feet presents the history of black political struggles in the rural South from the last decades of slavery to the Great Migration. He reimagines African-American political history by expanding the definition of politics and focusing on black attempts to assert control over their own lives, shape and protect their communities, and gain political power. He succeeds less in dramatically reframing Southern political history from the Civil War to the turn of the centu ...more
Dan Gorman
This powerful work of narrative history examines the political networks of black Americans before, during, and after the Civil War. Steven Hahn argues that slave political networks translated well, and easily, to post-Civil War politics, helping black Americans to organize along community, kin, and religious lines. Hahn covers a substantial amount of labor history, studying how black workers used strikes well past Reconstruction and into the Jim Crow era to obtain better treatment from white lan ...more
Hannah Lawrence
Jan 13, 2008 Hannah Lawrence is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
2004 Pulitzer Prize winner in History, This book is a very well written history of African American political struggles from the Civil war through reconstruction. I am enjoying this book a lot, and learning so much about a period in history I know so little about.
David Bates
Stephen Hahn published A Nation Under Our Feet in 2003 to dispute treatments of Reconstruction which emphasized government decision making and Northern public opinion. Writing that “most of the relevant scholarship has been governed by something of a liberal integrationist framework,” Hahn criticized “a framework of analysis . . . that measures politicization chiefly by what came to freedpeople from the outside, and that privileges and lends legitimacy to certain sets of aspirations (inclusion a ...more
Five stars for content and three stars for writing. The history covered here is extremely important and the author clearly did extensive research. I learned a great deal that I didn't know before. But, this book really suffers for lack of editing. There were hundreds of places where I had to re-read to find the verb, or to remind myself of the beginning of a sentence after a too-lengthy parenthetical statement.

That limits the book's audience to readers who are already committed to the topic, lea
Larry Powell
A magisterial history of African American politics during the revolutionary upheavals that redefined American citizenship. There's nothing quite like this book in the vast literature of slavery and freedom. The research is certainly brilliant, the writing superb. But the insights are what set it apart. "A Nation Under Our Feet" is a synthesis destined for a long shelf life.
Great study of Reconstruction from the perspective of former slaves and their descendants.
Dennis Henn
I made it 27% of the way and then hoisted the white flag of surrender. One of the most tedious and repetitious non-fiction books I have yet read. The book won the Pulitzer so I am certain it is excellent. Hahn did an excellent job of research. Given the turmoil of the times and the epic-heroic battle fought by African Americans for political rights, how could this book so easily put me to sleep?
Craploads of information, decently readable, would be excellent for research or background information on black politics in the rural south 1830-1900. That said, it's long and gets quite tedious, and it can be quite repetitive at times.

The research is brilliant and thorough, it's certainly an accomplished work, but reading it is not particularly enjoyable.
I read this for one of my college courses and it is a surprisingly good read! The author, Steven Hahn, paints a very vivid picture of what life was like for blacks following the Civil War. If you are a history buff then you will enjoy this book! American History is not my favorite thing, I'm a Russian History specialist, but I did enjoy this novel.
Jessica Injejikian
Groundbreaking when it was written, extensive evidence to support main arguments that black struggle from slavery to Great Migration aided in both the creation of new political nation and African American nation. Gain understanding of rural worker influence on American democracy instead of industrial.
actually learned a lot in this one. it's all like kapow why dem blacks be up north? CAUSE THE SOUTH A SHIT HOLE, SON
Wow, our LAST book for American history seminar! I still can't believe I read 24 books in 15 weeks.
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The Roots of Southern Populism: Yeoman Farmers and the Transformation of the Georgia Upcountry, 1850-1890 The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom Countryside in the Age of Capitalist Transformation ADSI/ASP: Programmer's Reference The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670-1763

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