Race Becomes Tomorrow

North Carolina and the Shadow of Civil Rights

Race Becomes Tomorrow

Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: 13 illustrations Published: November 2015

Author: Gerald M. Sider

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Theory and Philosophy > Race and Indigeneity

In Race Becomes Tomorrow Gerald M. Sider weaves together stories from his civil rights activism, his youth, and his experiences as an anthropologist to investigate the dynamic ways race has been constructed and lived in America since the 1960s. Tacking between past and present, Sider describes how political power, economic control, and racism inject chaos into the lives of ordinary people, especially African Americans, with surprising consequences. In addition to recounting his years working on voter registration in rural North Carolina, Sider makes connections between numerous issues, from sharecropping and deindustrialization to the recessions of the 1970s and 2008, the rise of migrant farm labor, and contemporary living-wage campaigns. Sider's stories—whether about cockroach races in immigrant homes, degrading labor conditions, or the claims and failures of police violence—provide numerous entry points into gaining a deeper understanding of how race and power both are and cannot be lived. They demonstrate that race is produced and exists in unpredictability, and that the transition from yesterday to tomorrow is anything but certain.


"Sider's stories—whether about cockroach races in immigrant homes, degrading labor conditions or the claims and failures of police violence—provide numerous entry points into gaining a deeper understanding of how race and power both are and cannot be lived." — The Triangle Tribune

"... students said that Race Becomes Tomorrow significantly advanced their understanding of race in the United States. This is an important achievement. Undergraduates, graduate students, and seasoned scholars will find value in Race Becomes Tomorrow. Indeed, the book is appropriate for anyone interested in a vivid ethnographic account of what race does in the United States." — Charles Price, American Anthropologist

"While [Sider] claims that his book is for a new generation of activists, as someone who has done research for years on race formation in the United States I would add that it is a book for scholars as well." — Yolanda T. Moses, American Ethnologist

"Anthropologists who regard their discipline as inseparable from radical politics will welcome this book." — Jack Glazier, Journal of Anthropological Research

Race Becomes Tomorrow offers us tools for struggle built from the tactics that vulnerable populations have always used in order to make livable worlds for themselves.” — Michelle Munyikwa, PoLAR

"Anchored in Gerald M. Sider's path-breaking work in North Carolina, Race Becomes Tomorrow is part scholarly and political memoir and part critical meditation on America’s hydra-headed political economy of racism. Vintage Sider!"  — Karen Brodkin, author of Power Politics: Environmental Activism in South Los Angeles

"Through storytelling Gerald M. Sider makes many incisive points about race, culture, power, and class. His stories are more than just stories—they provide entry points into a deeper understanding of how people live race and power. Highly stimulating, and at times humorous and poignant, Race Becomes Tomorrow will make a controversial and important contribution to contemporary debates about race, culture, and inequality."  — Lesley Gill, author of The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political Violence in the Americas


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Gerald M. Sider is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, and the author of Skin for Skin: Death and Life for Inuit and Innu, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  xi

Introduction. Past History  1

Part I. Stories

1. Did the Conk Rag Lose?  21

2. The Waters of Death and Life  47

3. Cockroach Racing  71

Part II. Culturing Words

4. Naming Troubles  91

5. State Making  117

6. F&N: Intimacy, Distance, Anger  137

Part III. Beyond

7. Living in the Beyond  145

8. "Out Here It's Dog Eat Dog and Vice Versa"  153

Part IV. Living Contradictions

9. Civil Society and Civil Rights on One Leg  175

10. "We Die in Harness . . . ": The Tomorrows of Vulnerable People  195

Appendix. Demographic Post-Civil Rights History of  African American Towns in Robeson County  205

References  215

Index  219
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6008-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5976-0
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