Racial Folly

A Twentieth-Century Aboriginal Family
Authored by:
ISBN (print): 9781921666209
ISBN (online): 9781921666216
Publication date: February 2010
Notes: Aboriginal History Monograph 20
Imprint: ANU Press

Briscoe’s grandmother remembered stories about the first white men coming to the Northern Territory. This extraordinary memoir shows us the history of an Aboriginal family who lived under the race laws, practices and policies of Australia in the twentieth century. It tells the story of a people trapped in ideological folly spawned to solve ‘the half-caste problem’. It gives life to those generations of Aboriginal people assumed to have no history and whose past labels them only as shadowy figures.

Briscoe’s enthralling narrative combines his, and his contemporaries, institutional and family life with a high-level career at the heart of the Aboriginal political movement at its most dynamic time. It also documents the road he travelled as a seventeen year old fireman on the South Australia Railways to becoming the first Aboriginal person to achieve a PhD in history.

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