The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Book Reviews

remained inside the prison walls. An inmate's general state of health and ability
to work proved more important than race in determining who worked where
and at what kind of job. Private contractors who paid the state for labor insisted
on healthy inmates who could do the arduous tasks required of them. Typically,
black prisoners were more likely to be found on the large sugar cane farms of
the lower Brazos River, while white and Hispanic inmates worked on railroad
construction crews and for growers of cotton and corn.
This book could have been strengthened considerably had the authors includ-
ed information on the changing attitudes toward the death penalty within the
Texas population and political leadership. Private letters, speeches, newspaper
editorials, journal and diary entries, sermons, and the correspondence of elect-
ed officials would reveal much about the origins and foundations of public feel-
ing on this issue. The authors make occasional mention of the degree to which
Texas policies conform to regional or national patterns but the narrative seldom
manages to make contact with the society that sanctioned the death penalty as
the punishment of last resort.
Texas Tech University DONALD R. WALKER
Quiet Revolution zn the South. Edited by Chandler Davidson and Bernard Grof-
man. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. Pp. xii+5o3. Acknowl-
edgments, introduction, notes, bibliography, indices. ISBN 0-69102-108-2.
$75.00.)
This collection of essays edited by Chandler Davidson and Bernard Grofman
demonstrates conclusively that the political landscape of the south has been re-
shaped substantially by the landmark Voting Rights Act. The volume covers eight
southern states, including Texas, which came under the jurisdiction of the 1965
law and its subsequent extensions. Consisting of teams of lawyers, political scien-
tists, sociologists, and historians, the contributors have compiled the most com-
prehensive data on city, county, and state legislative elections conducted under
at-large, single-member district, and mixed systems. Their findings, based on a
wide sample, sophisticated statistical techniques, and an innovative longitudinal
and comparative research design, are less startling than they are persuasive.
They confirm that because of racial polarization at the ballot box blacks and His-
panics are much more likely to win election from single-member districts where
they are a numerical majority than in at-large contests where their votes are sub-
merged by a white majority.
Scholars of Texas politics will find the chapter by Robert Brischett, David R.
Richards, Davidson, and Grofman very useful. Not only do they collect valuable
data on African Americans and Hispanics, but they also show that black and Te-
jano voters are still significantly underrepresented by race and ethnicity.
Thorough and systematic, this book offers a powerful rebuttal to those schol-
ars who have recently argued that minorities are no longer disadvantaged in at-
large elections and that strict enforcement of the voting rights statute is no
longer warranted. Hundreds of at-large systems remain in place, especially in

1994

363

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed September 18, 2014.