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In this work, Andrews provides a history of Brazilian racial inequality from the abolition of slavery in 1888 up to the late 1980s, showing how ecomic, social and political changes in Brazil during the last 100 years have shaped race relations. By examining government policies, data on employment, mainstream and Afro-Brazilian newspapers, and a variety of other sources, Andrews traces pervasive discrimination against Afro-Brazilians over time. He draws his evidence from the country's most ecomically important state, Sao Paolo, showing how race relations were affected by its transformation from a plantation-based ecomy to South America's most urban, industrialized society. The book focuses first on Afro-Brazilians' entry into the agricultural and urban working class after the abolition of slavery. This transition, Andrews argues, was undermined by state policies giving European immigrants preference in hiring. As immigration declined and these policies were overturned in the 1920s, black labourers began to be employed in agriculture and industry on nearly equal terms with whites. Andrews then surveys efforts of blacks to move into the middle class during the 1900s. He finds that informal racial solidarity among middle-class whites has tended to exclude Afro-Brazilians from white-collar work. Andrews traces how discrimination throughout the century led Afro-Brazilians to mobilize, first through the anit-slavery movement of the 1880s, then through such social and political organizations of the 1920s and 1930s as the Brazilian Black Front, and finally through the anti-racism movements of the 1970s and 1980s.
George Reid Andrews is professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of The Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires, 1800-1900, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press.