An African-American physicist diverts his curiosity from the physical world to the complex sociology of Charleston, South Carolina. Daniel M. Smith, Jr. explores Charleston’s history of slavery, black
slaveowners, miscegenation, and the spectrum of life generated by this milieu to answer a few questions:
How did the caste system based on skin color arise?
How did churches come to be defined by the social class of their members?
What accounts for the wide disparity in education and income within the African-American community?
Unlike studies of the physical world, exploring these questions does not reveal laws and principles but instead uncovers the intricate entanglement of African-American history with that of the larger Charleston community.