The World of Jim Crow America
A Daily Life Encyclopedia
by Steven A. Reich, Editor
June 2019, 805pp, 7x10
2 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5080-6
$198, £147, 165€, A283
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5081-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

As late as the 1960s, there remained in America thousands of “sunset towns,” where nonwhites had to leave the the city limits by dusk.

This two-volume set is a thematically-arranged encyclopedia covering the social, political, and material culture of America during the Jim Crow Era.

What was daily life really like for ordinary African American people in Jim Crow America, the hundred-year period of enforced legal segregation that began immediately after the Civil War and continued until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965? What did they eat, wear, believe, and think? How did they raise their children? How did they interact with government? What did they value? What did they do for fun?

This Daily Life encyclopedia explores the lives of average people through the examination of social, cultural, and material history. Supported by the most current research, the multivolume set examines social history topics—including family, political, religious, and economic life—as it illuminates elements of a society’s emotional life, interactions, opinions, views, beliefs, intimate relationships, and connections between individuals and the greater world. It is broken up into topical sections, each dealing with a different aspect of cultural life. Each section opens with an introductory essay, followed by A–Z entries on various aspects of that topic.


  • Gives readers hard to find but important details about the daily lives of African Americans during the Jim Crow era
  • Offers insights based on social history into the daily experiences of the average person, engaging students' curiosity rather than focusing on the events, dates, and names of "traditional history"
  • Presents information within a thematic organization that encourages a more in-depth study of specific aspects of daily life under Jim Crow
  • Includes related primary documents that enable students to view history more directly and reach their own conclusions about past events
  • Examines a wide range of topics such as work, family life, clothing and fashion, food and drink, housing and community, politics, social customs, and spirituality
  • Provides a general introduction to each volume, individual topic introductions, numerous images and illustrations, a timeline of events, and a bibliography identifying print and non-print resources
Steven A. Reich, PhD, is professor of history at James Madison University. His published works include A Working People: A History of African American Workers since Emancipation and The Great Black Migration, as well as articles in leading historical journals on black migration, Southern labor history, and black political activism in the Jim Crow South. Reich holds a doctorate in history from Northwestern University and is a recipient of the Organization of American Historians' Louis M. Pelzer Memorial Award.


"Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty."—Choice, January 1, 2020

"Overall, this is a highly informative, readable, and useful resource. Recommended for public, high school, and academic libraries."—Booklist, February 7, 2020
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