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White over Black

American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550–1812

Winthrop Jordan

Copyright 1968
University of North Carolina Press

A Prize-Winning Book

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, Phi Beta Kappa (1968)
  • Bancroft Prize (1969)
  • Francis Parkman Prize, Society of American Historians (1969)
  • National Book Award (1969)

In 1968, Winthrop D. Jordan set out in encyclopedic detail the evolution of white Englishmen's and Anglo-Americans' perceptions of blacks, perceptions of difference used to justify race-based slavery, and liberty and justice for whites only. This second edition, with new forewords by historians Christopher Leslie Brown and Peter H. Wood, reminds us that Jordan's text is still the definitive work on the history of race in America in the colonial era. Every book published to this day on slavery and racism builds upon his work; all are judged in comparison to it; none has surpassed it.

About the Author

Winthrop D. Jordan (1931-2007) taught history at the University of Mississippi. His books include Tumult and Silence at Second Creek: An Inquiry into a Civil War Slave Conspiracy and White Man's Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United


The author has put simple solutions and flashy theories aside and brought to his task a patience, skepticism, thoroughness, and humility commensurate with the vast undertaking. He combines these qualities with imagination and insight. The result is a massive and learned work that stands as the most informed and impressive pronouncement on the subject yet made.

--C. Vann Woodward

A monumental work of scholarship, brilliant in conception and execution, humane, convincing, informed by warmth and wit, illuminating reading for all those concerned with America’s tragedy. . . . As an historian with keen psychological insights into his material, Winthrop Jordan is uniquely qualified to illuminate America’s anguished dilemma.

--Publishers Weekly

White Over Black will stand as a landmark in the historiography of this generation. Its richness and insight, its sensitive, penetrating analysis of the unspoken as well as the explicit, its union of breadth with depth, make it a brilliant achievement.

--Richard D. Brown