Coming of Age in Jim Crow DC

Coming of Age in Jim Crow DC

Navigating the Politics of Everyday Life

by Paula C. Austin

Published by: NYU Press

208 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in

  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781479808113
  • Published: December 2019


  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9781479894994
  • Published: December 2019



The fullest account to date of African American young people in a segregated city

Coming of Age in Jim Crow DC offers a complex narrative of the everyday lives of black young people in a racially, spatially, economically, and politically restricted Washington, DC, during the 1930s. In contrast to the ways in which young people have been portrayed by researchers, policy makers, law enforcement, and the media, Paula C. Austin draws on previously unstudied archival material to present black poor and working class young people as thinkers, theorists, critics, and commentators as they reckon with the boundaries imposed on them in a Jim Crow city that was also the American emblem of equality.

The narratives at the center of this book provide a different understanding of black urban life in the early twentieth century, showing that ordinary people were expert at navigating around the limitations imposed by the District of Columbia’s racially segregated politics. Coming of Age in Jim Crow DC is a fresh take on the New Negro movement, and a vital contribution to the history of race in America.