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Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America
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Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Leave now, or die! From the heart of the Midwest to the Deep South, from the mountains of North Carolina to the Texas frontier, words like these have echoed through more than a century of American history. The call heralded not a tornado or a hurricane, but a very unnatural disaster--a manmade wave of racial cleansing that purged black populations from counties across the ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 5th 2007 by Basic Books (first published February 27th 2007)
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This is an exceptional exploration of the disenfranchisement of African Americans in the years between the Civil War and World War II. The tone can be occasionally indignant or self-righteous but in a completely appropriate way. He takes issue with a variety of people today who are unable or unwilling to acknowledge that mass exoduses of African Americans should be classified as racial cleansing. This includes: a school teacher who has been given firsthand accounts from her elders but who feigns ...more
"Buried in the Bitter Waters" is a book describing forced removal of blacks in a number of areas of the U.S. around the turn of the (20th) Century. It's a story I hadn't heard of in my exposure to U.S. History, although most of us have heard related stories of forced removal of Native Americans from Indian lands during the 19th Century. The author describes his research into the facts following his accidental discovery of an all-white County in Arkansas ten years ago. Detailed digging into censu ...more
Erika  Forth
Fascinating! Powerful! This was one book that was required for a class that I picked up and actually enjoyed and read the whole thing. Because it is told though a variety of stories instead of being a factual analysis, it adds more impact. I had never head of racial cleansings, and am appalled and yet not at all surprised this was a part of our nation's history. This is an issue people need to learn more about. I highly recommend assigning it in history classrooms.
This book began and ended badly, so I would only recommend it for people who are interested in the topic. I was hoping for a broader look at forced sterilizations, inequality in access to healthcare and rates of incarceration, but Jaspin took a stricter definition of "racial cleansing" to mean only the forced expulsions of African-Americans from certain counties of the United States. The introduction made me question whether Jaspin was really the best author for the job, since he expressed disbe ...more
Read this book, read this book, read this book. And learn.
End of sermon.
A well-written and fascinating account of a piece of American history that has often gone unreported and misunderstood. Even the footnotes tell a story.
This book was an amazing eye opener into American History. This is the bases for my future dissertation. Be on the look out for Hesley R. Keenan Jr.'s first published work on this topic. :-)
Joe McDonald
This book really opened my eyes to the history of racial cleansing throughout the history of the US. I never knew what blacks had to go through! What a horrible bit of history!
Excellent audio book. Important history.
A remarkable exercise in investigative journalism taking over 10 years of research to compile the stories of counties and communities that cleansed themselves of their black population. It would be almost unbelievable if there wasn't newspaper, census and tax roll data to confirm it. The documentation starts in 1864 and continues through 1923 and occurs through much of the South and lower Midwest states. I learned about the beginnings of the KKK, and the modern day struggles within a newspaper e ...more
Sandy D.
A grab from the new release shelf, this is a compelling and heartbreaking collection of fine-grained history of several different communities where African-Americans were driven out by vicious mobs. Kind of interesting how Jaspin did his research, too - he looked at census records (mostly from the early 1900's), and found places where Black (but not white) people left the area in droves between the 10 year census taking. Then he did some research to find out what was behind this.

Unlike the lynch
Robert Owen
“Buried in the Bitter Waters” recounts the systematic expulsion of blacks in certain towns along a crescent shaped swath of the country stretching from North Carolina to Missouri that occurred from the post-Civil War era to the 1920’s. The book is an interesting companion to Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns” and, in particular Douglas, Blackmon’s “Slavery by Another Name”, both of which recount a largely forgotten era of American history as it relates to white societal oppression of ...more
So you think lynchings were the extent of it? How about entire black communities destroyed over a single crime or even an alleged crime? How about if this were relatively commonplace in the late 19th—early 20th Century?

By the time you get to the middle of Jaspin's book, you'll begin to suffer a bit from the sheer repetition of these despicable acts. They start to all seem alike. But then, with Chapter Ten, the stories become even more bizarre. And shockingly, they are not all in Dixie either.

David Tatgenhorst
I grew up in the Western Hills part of Cincinnati. To the west of us there was a urban suburb called Cheviot. People used to "joke" about how Black people should not be found there after sunset.
It never really occurred to me to ask why people said that, and how much it was true. This book describes how neighborhoods got that way, through intentional and ruthless oppression. It is no joke and no accident.
Apr 14, 2014 stlgal marked it as to-read
I'm giving this book 4 stars because of the content. They were stories I'd never heard before and I think are worth being told and shared. It's important to not forget some of the more horrifying episodes in history. If they happened once, they can happen again. The author could have stopped the book earlier and left the reader in a hysterically negative state. But he goes the extra mile to tell a positive aftermath story.
I found this book browsing at Half-Price Books.
Sernearia Hill
I read this book and listened to the audiobook. I believe listening to the audiobook prevented me from giving the book more stars. Listening to Don Leslie made me feel like he was disconnected from the content of the book. In certain areas he tried to sound sympathetic but it didn't work for me. The content of the book was very specific and detailed which made me me to do additional research. I would put it on a reading list but stay clear of the audiobook.
An important and alarming contribution to America's troubled history of race relations. Jaspin uncovers disturbing evidence of attempts to purge entire counties of their African American citizens. The narrative is haphazard at times, but Jaspin succeeds in making the point that living in the same country does not suggest that two peoples have a common history.
This more a collection of events than an analysis of the events but the sheer number of the events builds a disturbing history. What is perhaps more horrifying than the events of the early twentieth century is the attitude of current residents of these towns.
Angela Wade
4.5 stars. Engaging, infinitely readable, and filled with history you probably haven't heard about anywhere else. Had to take a half a star away for the lack of pictures, because being able to put faces to names and places would have made the book even more engrossing.
Jonathan Biddle
A very eye-opening book (to sound clicheish) about racial cleansing in America. It made me grieve the lingering effects of racism in my own heart. Overall a good read, even if the stories did seem a little scattered and jolting at times.
Interesting new book on racial cleansing in parts of the United States. Not just racism, but wiping out black populations in certain parts of the country, which remain white to this day.
an account of the racial cleansing that occured in the united states focusing on counties that drove out black people
Wow - another eyeopener! I never heard about these incidents.
TempleBE marked it as to-read
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