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Racism in the Nation's Service: Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson's America [Kindle Edition]

Eric S. Yellin

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Book Description

Between the 1880s and 1910s, thousands of African Americans passed civil service exams and became employed in the executive offices of the federal government. However, by 1920, promotions to well-paying federal jobs had nearly vanished for black workers. Eric S. Yellin argues that the Wilson administration's successful 1913 drive to segregate the federal government was a pivotal episode in the age of progressive politics. Yellin investigates how the enactment of this policy, based on Progressives' demands for whiteness in government, imposed a color line on American opportunity and implicated Washington in the economic limitation of African Americans for decades to come.
Using vivid accounts of the struggles and protests of African American government employees, Yellin reveals the racism at the heart of the era's reform politics. He illuminates the nineteenth-century world of black professional labor and social mobility in Washington, D.C., and uncovers the Wilson administration's progressive justifications for unraveling that world. From the hopeful days following emancipation to the white-supremacist "normalcy" of the 1920s, Yellin traces the competing political ideas, politicians, and ordinary government workers who created "federal segregation."

Product Description


Yellin's work is lucid and illuminating. He provides a thorough, readable, and well-rounded narrative filled with vivid examples and sharp analysis.--"Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1883 KB
  • Print Length: 315 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1469607204
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (22 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,346,821 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Groundbreaking Work 22 Aug. 2013
By Tom - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this fascinating and gripping work Yellin exposes how, under the guise of "reform," the federal government fought back decades of African-American progress in America. Yellin focuses on Washington DC, on how African-Americans in that city used the civil service system at the turn of the century to create vibrant middle class communities. Yellin goes on to show how eventually, tragically the Wilson administration tore apart this system and replaced it with one more deeply dedicated to segregation and repression. The book explores the lives of several men and women wrestling with this change, attempting to find justice in an unjust city. Yellin then elegantly uses these once-lost lives to explore the American experience of race and government power. This is an epic story that is not known but should be. I could not put this book down. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Revealing 15 Jun. 2014
By Mrs. I. - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A chapter in American History that has been overlooked in the history books. The author researched the Wilson administration extensively on the issue of racism and tells the story through average Americans who were affected by it. A great read.
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