The Other Brahmins


Boston’s Black Upper Class 1750-1950
Adelaide M. Cromwell
978-1-55728-301-6 (cloth)
July 1995


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Adelaide Cromwell’s pioneering work explores race and the social caste system in an atypical northern environment over a period of two centuries. Based on scholarly sources, interviews, and questionnaires, the study identifies those blacks in Boston who exercised political, economic, and social leadership from the end of the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. The central focus is a comparison of black and white upper-class women in the 1940s.

This rare look at a black social microcosm not located in the South is seminal and timely. Because it concludes at a critical period in American history, The Other Brahmins paints a colorful backdrop for evaluating subsequent changes in urban sociology and stratification. In a groundbreaking study, Cromwell effectively challenges the simplistic notions of hierarchy as they pertain to race.

The Black Community Studies Series was edited by Dr. Willard Gatewood.