Women, Gender, and Racial Violence in South Carolina, 1865-1900
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of South Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright
List of Illustrations
I wish to thank the two advisors who guided my graduate work: Helen Campbell Walker and Scott Reynolds Nelson. I am indebted to Professor Walker for her early influence on my studies, particularly for exposing me to the expansive range of literature that occupied her office floor. I am also deeply appreciative of the time and energy Professor Nelson spent reading and critiquing my work. Thank...
In January 1871 members of the York County, South Carolina, Klan attacked the home of a local white woman named Skates. After a scuffle they pinned her to the ground, opened her upended legs, and poured a steaming brew of tar and lime into her vagina. They then spread the excess over her body and threatened to return if she did not leave the area within three days. Moments earlier Skates ...
1. Land, Labor, and Violence
Antebellum white South Carolinians used ideals of masculinity and femininity as yardsticks of worth for the members of their society. Those who qualified were among the wealthiest members, slaves were their antithesis, and poorer whites fell somewhere in between. These socially constructed paradigms were not inflexible, but they were often rigidly enforced. The basic definition of manhood...
2. Black Politics and Violence
Conflicts over land and labor helped reshape gender roles and led to racial violence in post–Civil War South Carolina, but other forces were at work as well. The politicization of the black community enraged and terrified white South Carolinians. A politically active black community in South Carolina violated not only long-standing southern racial traditions, but also the gendered...
3. Getting Organized: The Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina
Early in “radical” Reconstruction, southerners took their rage and made more structured attempts to intimidate and punish blacks for the impudence of acting on their civil rights. The most widespread of these early efforts was the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan emerged in Tennessee in 1865 or 1866 and spread quickly throughout the former Confederate states. Its diverse membership shared a single...
4. Sin and Redemption: The Election of 1876
On November 7, 1876, Mary Gayle Aiken wrote in her journal, “Election Day[,] mostly bright and cold.” A day later she commented, “cold[,] good news of the election[,] party at Miss Harper.” By the fifteenth she was—for Mary—nearly buoyant: “still cloudy[,] Hampton certainly elected.” Mary Aiken devoted most...
5. Strange Fruit Hanging from the Palmetto Tree: Lynching in South Carolina
The 1876 “redemption” of South Carolina brought the white, native-born men of the state back to the fore of political power. Having won the governor’s seat, the state legislature, and assurances from the federal government that noninterference was their new official policy, the victors set about restoring the control they had once had over most areas of life. The federal government’s removal...
The Civil War laid waste to gender roles as South Carolinians understood them. Men were defeated, women had become more independent, and blacks were free and empowered. The foundations of white manhood—the ability to protect virtuous white womanhood, the domination of emasculated black men, and the right to the bodies of black women—no longer existed as they once had. White...
About the Author
Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2013
OCLC Number: 864141045
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