In 1965, when Dædalus published two issues on “The Negro American,” civil rights in the United States had experienced a series of triumphs and setbacks. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 extended basic citizenship rights to African Americans, and there was hope for further positive change. Yet 1965 also saw violent confrontations in Selma, Alabama, and the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles that were fueled by racial tensions. Against this backdrop of progress and retreat, the contributors to the Dædalus volumes of the mid-1960s considered how socioeconomic factors affected the prosperity, well-being, and social standing of African Americans. Guest editor Lawrence D. Bobo suggests that today we inhabit a similarly unsettled place: situated somewhere between the overt discrimination of Jim Crow and the aspiration of full racial equality. In his introduction, Bobo paints a broad picture of the racial terrain in America today before turning the volume over to the contributors, who take up particular questions ranging from education and family support, to racial identity and politics, to employment and immigration.

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