The Color Factor: The Economics of African-American Well-Being in the Nineteenth-Century South

ISBN : 9780199383092

Howard N. Bodenhorn
336 Pages
171 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jun 2015
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South Carolina's Indian-American governor Nikki Haley recently dismissed one of her principal advisors when his membership to the ultra-conservative Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) came to light. Among the CCC's many concerns is intermarriage and race mixing. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2001 the CCC website included a message that read " Beyond the irony of a CCC member working for an Indian-American, the episode reveals America's continuing struggle with race, racial integration, and race mixing. The Color Factor shows that the emergent twenty-first-century recognition of race mixing and the relative advantages of light-skinned, mixed-race people represents a " moment--a re-emergence of one salient feature of race in America that dates to its founding. Each chapter addresses from a historical perspective a topic in the current literature on mixed-race and color. The approach is economic and empirical, but the text is accessible to social scientists more generally. The historical evidence concludes that we will not really understand race until we understand how American attitudes toward race were shaped by race mixing.


Chapter 1: Legal constructions of race and interpretations of color
Chapter 2: Race mixing and color in literature and science
Chapter 3: The plantation
Chapter 4: Finding freedom
Chapter 5: Marriage and the family
Chapter 6: Work
Chapter 7: Wealth
Chapter 8: Height, health and mortality

About the author: 

Howard Bodenhorn is Professor of Economics at Clemson University and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has published widely on several issues in economic history, including banking and financial markets, the economics of race and identity, and the economics of crime. He has received several awards and grants from the National Science Foundation, and the Earhart, the Ewing Marion Kauffman, and the John Simon Guggenheim foundations.

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