Although past research on the African American community has focused primarily on issues of discrimination, segregation, and other forms of deprivation, there has always been some recognition of class diversity within the black community. This research, on the fringe of most scholarship in the first half of the twentieth century, grew significantly with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In this review we highlight the growth of the black middle class itself and explore the debate on the relative influence of class and race in the lives of middle-class blacks in the post–Civil Rights Era. The consensus that has emerged thus far acknowledges the increasing influence of class in the mobility chances of college-educated blacks while documenting the continued role of race in limiting black middle-class achievement. This research also finds that middle-class blacks experience discrimination both in institutional settings and in the accommodations of everyday life.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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