The Geography of Hate

The Great Migration through Small-Town America
Author: Jennifer Sdunzik
The uncomfortable truths that shaped small communities in the midwest
Cloth – $110
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 11/07/2023
Cloth: 11/07/2023
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About the Book

During the Great Migration, Black Americans sought new lives in midwestern small towns only to confront the pervasive efforts of white residents determined to maintain their area’s preferred cultural and racial identity. Jennifer Sdunzik explores this widespread phenomenon by examining how it played out in one midwestern community. Sdunzik merges state and communal histories, interviews and analyses of population data, and spatial and ethnographic materials to create a rich public history that reclaims Black contributions and history. She also explores the conscious and unconscious white actions that all but erased Black Americans--and the terror and exclusion used against them--from the history of many midwestern communities.

An innovative challenge to myth and perceived wisdom, The Geography of Hate reveals the socioeconomic, political, and cultural forces that prevailed in midwestern towns and helps explain the systemic racism and endemic nativism that remain entrenched in American life.

About the Author

Jennifer Sdunzik is a postdoctoral research associate at the Evaluation and Learning Research Center at Purdue University.


"Brief yet weighty, ripening the often-told story of the Great Migration by venturing away from Chicago and big northern cities for the small Indiana villages where many Black Americans attempted to settle in." --Chicago Tribune


“An important, underemphasized history of persistent attempted settlement by Black migrants from the U.S. South to the rural and small-city Midwest. The author mounts a challenge to received wisdom and even the received archive that combines the meticulous use of traditional sources with innovative research strategies. The result is a fascinating account of how terror and exclusion were cleansed from historical memory.”--David Roediger, author of The Sinking Middle Class: A Political History of Debt, Misery, and the Drift to the Right