Race and Ethnicity in America
From Pre-contact to the Present
by Russell M. Lawson and Benjamin A. Lawson, Editors
October 2019, 1360pp, 8 1/2x11
4 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5096-7
$449, £333, 375€, A642
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5097-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Racial and ethnic issues have become a defining characteristic of the 21st century.

Divided into four volumes, Race and Ethnicity in America provides a complete overview of the history of racial and ethnic relations in America, from pre-contact to the present.

The five hundred years since Europeans made contact with the indigenous peoples of America have been dominated by racial and ethnic tensions. During the colonial period, from 1500 to 1776, slavery and servitude of whites, blacks, and Indians formed the foundation for race and ethnic relations. After the American Revolution, slavery, labor inequalities, and immigration led to racial and ethnic tensions; after the Civil War, labor inequalities, immigration, and the fight for civil rights dominated America’s racial and ethnic experience. From the 1960s to the present, the unfulfilled promise of civil rights for all ethnic and racial groups in America has been the most important sociopolitical issue in America.

Race and Ethnicity in America tells this story of the fight for equality in America. The first volume spans pre-contact to the American Revolution; the second, the American Revolution to the Civil War; the third, Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement; and the fourth, the Civil Rights Movement to the present. All volumes explore the culture, society, labor, war and politics, and cultural expressions of racial and ethnic groups.


  • Contextualizes the political experiences and contributions of minorities within American politics, society, and culture
  • Includes people of color (e.g., African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and American Indians), those of mixed races, and ethnic groups that experienced minority status in politics, particularly in the 19th century (e.g., Irish, Jewish, Italian)
  • Features chronological organization as well as a historical overview and timeline for contextual understanding and ease of reference
  • Comprises A–Z entries that detail the political, social, and cultural histories of racial and ethnic minority groups, and concludes with a curated selection of key primary source documents
  • Provides cross-disciplinary information that explores the experiences of racial and ethnic minorities in America over a period of five hundred years through history and social studies, political science, and ethnic studies
Russell M. Lawson holds a PhD from the University of New Hampshire. His published books include Praeger'sServants and Servitude in Colonial America, and he has written or edited several ABC-CLIO encyclopedias, including Science in the Ancient World: An Encyclopedia; Poverty in America, with coeditor Ben Lawson; and The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Indian Issues Today. Dr. Lawson teaches and writes about scientists and explorers; the history of America, Europe, and the world; the history of ideas; and the history of social, cultural, and political issues.

Benjamin A. Lawson holds a PhD in history from the University of Iowa. He is author or coauthor of many works, including Poverty in America: An Encyclopedia and Frontier Metropolises: Tulsa, Indian Territory and Tel Aviv, Palestine. He is currently a special education teacher in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where he works with students with disabilities.
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