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Black Manhood and Community Building in North Carolina, 1900–1930

Angela Hornsby-Gutting

Publication Year: 2009

Historical treatments of race during the early twentieth century have generally focused on black women's activism. Leading books about the disenfranchisement era hint that black men withdrew from positions of community leadership until later in the century.

Angela Hornsby-Gutting argues that middle-class black men in North Carolina in fact actively responded to new manifestations of racism. Focusing on the localized, grassroots work of black men during this period, she offers new insights about rarely scrutinized interracial dynamics as well as the interactions between men and women in the black community.

Informed by feminist analysis, Hornsby-Gutting uses gender as the lens through which to view cooperation, tension, and negotiation between the sexes and among African American men during an era of heightened race oppression. Her work promotes improved understanding of the construct of gender during these years, and expands the vocabulary of black manhood beyond the "great man ideology" which has obfuscated alternate, localized meanings of politics, manhood, and leadership.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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Title Page, Copyright

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List of Figures

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p. xi

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pp. xiii-xiv

Many individuals and institutions have made indelible imprints on this book, forwarding its interpretations, progression, and completion. Jacquelyn Hall expressed her faith in the project and its author at numerous junctures. Her careful reading of multiple drafts always disclosed an essential revelation...

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pp. 1-16

In January 1900, Congressman George H. White, representative of North Carolina’s Second Congressional District, joined a coalition of other leading blacks from thirty-six counties to oppose a proposed disfranchisement amendment. The stripping of the franchise, White stressed, would “blunt our aspirations...

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1. What Can He Do?: African-American Churchmen Confront the Black Women’s Era

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pp. 17-51

At the 1908 general meeting of the North Carolina Black Baptist Convention, corresponding secretary Calvin Scott Brown addressed the tender subject of women’s position within the church body. The question of women’s place had generated considerable debate among the churchmen in their...

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2. Solving the Boy Problem: Fashioning Boys into Respectable Race Men

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pp. 52-103

In a 1909 address before the North Carolina Baptist Sunday School Convention, President Nicholas Frank Roberts discussed the boy problem. “Is he bad?” he asked. “Is he worse now than he was forty years ago? Has the boy changed?” Roberts responded emphatically that the environment, not the boy, had...

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3. “Badge of a man”: Gender and Fraternity in North Carolina’s Black Secret Society

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pp. 104-129

At the appointed hour, Robert McRary ordered his grand marshal to assume command of the street parade. The dignified procession wearing Masonic regalia wound its way through Raleigh’s principal streets, ending the public ritual at St. Paul’s A. M. E. church. There, grand orator J. E. Dellinger shared...

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4. “Let the white man put himself in the negro’s place”: Black Men Navigate the Terrain of Race Ambassador

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pp. 130-166

In March 1904, an overflowing crowd of Asheville’s black men and women gathered at the YMI assembly hall to attend a meeting that was billed with the title “Solve the Problem.” There they received advice that the Asheville Citizen-Times described as “practical, timely, beneficial.” Using blunt and gendered language...

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pp. 167-171

Though black women came into their own as an autonomous force at the end of the nineteenth century, partially because black men were stripped of their formal political identities, which made women’s work all the more visible, the degree to which black women exercised their autonomy has been overemphasized...


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pp. 173-220


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pp. 221-236


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pp. 237-244

E-ISBN-13: 9780813045184
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813032931
Print-ISBN-10: 0813032938

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 9 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 608499541
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Black Manhood and Community Building in North Carolina, 1900–1930

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • African American men -- North Carolina -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • African American men -- Race identity -- North Carolina.
  • Masculinity -- North Carolina -- History -- 20th century.
  • Middle class African Americans -- North Carolina -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Community development -- North Carolina -- History -- 20th century.
  • Community organization -- North Carolina -- History -- 20th century.
  • Racism -- North Carolina -- History -- 20th century.
  • North Carolina -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
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