The Invention of the White Race: The Origin of Racial Oppression

Regular price $ 29.95

by Theodore W. Allen

Verso Books

1/11/2022, paperback

SKU: 9781839763922


When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no "white" people there. Nor, according to colonial records, would there be for another sixty years. In this seminal two-volume work, The Invention of the White Race, Theodore W. Allen tells the story of how America's ruling classes created the category of the "white race"as a means of social control. Since that early invention, white privileges have enforced the myth of racial superiority, and that fact has been central to maintaining ruling-class domination over ordinary working people of all colors throughout American history.

Since publication in the mid-nineties, The Invention of the White Race has become indispensable in debates on the origins of racial oppression in America. With this new edition, Verso has brought both volumes together in one seminal text.


"Decades before people made careers 'undoing racism,' Ted Allen was working on this trailblazing study, which has become required reading." --Noel Ignatiev, coeditor of Race Traitor, author of How the Irish Became White

"A real tour de force, a welcome return to empiricism in the subfield of race studies, and a timely reintroduction of class into the discourse on American exceptionalism." --Times Higher Education Supplement

"A must read for all social justice activists, teachers, and scholars." --Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie

About the Author:

Theodore W. Allen (1919-2005) was an anti-white supremacist, working-class intellectual and activist who began his pioneering work on white skin privilege and white race privilege in 1965. He co-authored the influential White Blindspot (1967), authored Can White Workers Radicals Be Radicalized? (1969), and wrote the ground-breaking Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race (1975) before publication of his seminal two-volume classic The Invention of the White Race (1994, 1997).