Paperback / softback
March 19, 1998
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
0.50 Inches (US)
.8 Pounds (US)
$35.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

River Jordan

African American Urban Life in the Ohio Valley

Since the nineteenth century, the Ohio River has represented a great divide for African Americans. It provided a passage to freedom along the underground railroad, and during the industrial age, it was a boundary between the Jim Crow South and the urban North. The Ohio became known as the "River Jordan," symbolizing the path to the promised land. In the urban centers of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Evansville, blacks faced racial hostility from outside their immediate neighborhoods as well as class, color, and cultural fragmentation among themselves. Yet despite these pressures, African Americans were able to create vibrant new communities as former agricultural workers transformed themselves into a new urban working class. Unlike most studies of black urban life, Trotter's work considers several cities and compares their economic conditions, demographic makeup, and political and cultural conditions. Beginning with the arrival of the first blacks in the Ohio Valley, Trotter traces the development of African American urban centers through the civil rights movement and the developments of recent years.


"Presents a comprehensive overview of African-American urban life from colonial days to about 1960."—American Historical Review

"The Ohio River Valley traditionally has held a major symbolic significance for African Americans as the cultural and geographic line of demarcation between slavery and freedom, oppression and opportunity, despair and hope. Trotter searches for regional themes of the black experience in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Evansville."—Choice

"By illuminating the connections among racism, deindustrialization, and the continuing transformation of rural southern blacks into new urban workers, Trotter contributes significantly to our understanding of the contemporary urban crisis."—Henry L. Taylor, SUNY Buffalo

"Summarizes most of the existing scholarship on four African American cities: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Evansville."—Indiana Magazine of History

"Covers substantial intellectual territory. . . . Represents a novel and creative approach to black urban history. It provides an important model for future scholars."—Journal of American History

"Covers substantial intellectual territory."—Journal of American History

"In a tightly crafted synthesis of African American history in the Ohio Valley, Joe Trotter examines black life in four important urban communities: Cincinnati, Evansville, Louisville, and Pittsburgh."—Journal of Appalachian Studies

"Synthesizes the scholarship of the past two decades that has examined blacks who lived in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Evansville."—Journal of Illinois History

"A wide-ranging work of synthesis, covering such themes as the migration of rural southern blacks, the participation of blacks in the urban political economy and their role in the struggle for justice."—Northwest Ohio Quarterly

"Illuminates the impact of the Ohio River in the context of the larger American story."—Now & Then

"Successfully synthesizes the work on the urban life of African Americans. . . . An excellent book."—Ohio History

"As a general study of black urban life and with particular important insights into the complexity of the Ohio Valley region, River Jordan is essential reading."—Ohio Valley History

"Contributes greatly to our understanding of urban problems."—Pennsylvania History

9780813109503 : river-jordan-trotter
Paperback / softback
218 Pages
$35.00 USD

Other Titles by Joe William Trotter, Jr.

Pittsburgh and the Urban League Movement

Joe William Trotter, Jr., illustrated by Dick Gilbreath
Nov 2020 - University Press of Kentucky
$60.00 USD - Hardback
$60.00 USD - Electronic book text
$28.00 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in HISTORY / United States / State & Local / General

Writing Appalachia

edited by Katherine Ledford, Theresa Lloyd, Rebecca Stephens
Mar 2020 - University Press of Kentucky
$50.00 USD - Hardback

Against the Tide

Harriet Keyserling
Feb 2020 - University of South Carolina Press
$19.99 USD - Electronic book text

The Guns of Meeting Street

T. Felder Dorn
Feb 2020 - University of South Carolina Press
$22.99 USD - Paperback / softback
$22.99 USD - Electronic book text