UC Davis sociology professor Bruce Haynes’ comes from a prominent African American family: his grandfather founded the National Urban League and was a protege of W.E.B Dubois. His grandmother was a prominent social scientist and children's author. Yet, the succeeding generations struggled. Hayne’s book, “Down the Up Staircase,” tells the story of three generations of his Harlem-based family and explores the tenuous status of middle class African Americans. Despite looking like the model black family, Haynes writes that his family was “never secure in our futures, each generation walking a tightrope, one misstep from free fall."
Exploring the 'Tightrope' of African-American Upward Mobility
(Photo courtesy Bruce Haynes)