Essays on Race and the Persistence of Economic Inequality

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ProQuest, 2008 - 168 pages
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Although over 140 years have passed since slaves were emancipated in the United States, African-Americans continue to lag behind the general population in terms of earnings and wealth. Both Reconstruction era policy makers and modern scholars have argued that the large gap between black and white income and wealth could have been reduced or eliminated if plans to allocate each freed slave family "forty acres and a mule" had been successfully implemented following the Civil War. My dissertation addresses this issue by considering the impact of free land on former slaves in the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Nation, which joined the Confederacy in 1861, was forced by the United States to extend full citizenship to its former slaves. In contrast to U.S. freedmen, the Cherokee's former slaves could claim any unused land within the Cherokee Nation as their own. This variation in the treatment of former slaves provides a compelling way to assess both the shorter-and longer-term effects of land distribution as a policy to ameliorate economic inequality.
  

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Contents

Chapter
1
Figure
32
Factors Influencing the Magnitude of
46
The Blight and Shadow of Slavery
87
Conclusion
114
A Sample of Former Slaves and their Descendents Linked
133
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