Under the editorship of Joe W. Trotter and Eric Ledell Smith, African Americans in Pennsylvania offers the most comprehensive history of the state's black history to date. Chapters emphasize the interplay of class and race from the origins of the Commonwealth during the seventeenth century, through the era of deindustrialization in the late twentieth century. We see not only poor and working-class people but also educated business and professional people. And despite the traditional focus on the experiences of black men, this volume includes significant research on black women. Most important, this volume suggests a conceptual framework for a historical synthesis of the state's African American experience. African Americans in Pennsylvania shows how ordinary people have influenced the culture, institutions, and politics of African American communities in Pennsylvania. In the process, it documents the ways that black people have influenced, and continue to influence, the state as a whole.
Joe W. Trotter Jr. is Mellon Bank Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University. His books include Coal, Class, and Color: Blacks in Southern West Virginia, 1915-1932 (1990) and The Great Migration in Historical Perspective: New Dimensions of Race, Class, and Gender (1991) (editor). Eric Ledell Smith is a historian at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. He is the author of Bert Williams: A Biography of the Pioneer Black Comedian (1992) and Blacks in Opera: An Encyclopedia of People and Companies, 1873-1993(1995).