This book shows how the white racial bias of the authors of the Middletown study led them to neglect significant populations in their field work. The journals are based on field work conducted as part of the Black Middletown Project, 1980-82. It is a participant observation study and provided a supplement to the classic studies Middletown (1929) and Middletown in Transition (1937) by Robert and Helen Lynd, whose work enabled scholars to better understand the nature of a 'typical', 'averaged sized', mid-Western American city. Both studies by the Lynds largely ignored black members of the community. This book depicts the people, events, activities, places, organizations, and institutions Dr. Dennis encountered while living in Middletown. The encounters recorded in this journal portray the ordinary and often extra-ordinary scenes between young and old, middle and working classes, Muslims and Christians, and between people with different levels of education. The author's thesis is that the internal dynamics of the community are to be understood in conjunction with external national and international events which reshape the consciousness of the community along with the local.
Preface by Susan R. Trencher; Introduction by Hugh Gusterson; Chapter 1: Entering the Field; Chapter 2: First Acquaintances; Chapter 3: Getting to Know the Community; Chapter 4: Getting Started: Student Workers, Background Research and Networking; Chapter 5: Conversations, Opinions, and Confidences; Chapter 6: Searching for Self: Religion and Conversion, Black Issues and Identity; Chapter 7: Interviewing in Earnest; Chapter 8: Wrapping Up and Leave-Taking.