Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiii

I have looked forward to writing my acknowledgments since the day I began this book. Now that it is time, I find that I have so many people to thank, and for so much, that I have lost my words. What I have to say here can never be enough...

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Introduction: Growing Up within the Double Bind, 1930–1954

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pp. 1-24

After a long fight to save his life, African American Willie McGee died in the electric chair in Mississippi in 1951, six years after he allegedly raped a white woman in Laurel. In this case, the justice system worked only as a lynch mob. On the occasion of McGee’s death...

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1. Suppose They Don’t Want Us Here? Mental Mapping of Jim Crow New Orleans

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pp. 25-55

Growing up during segregation, Florence Borders discovered that she was “colored” in the space of urban New Orleans.1 As she traveled across the city and practiced her reading skills, she came to understand the meaning of race. The letters in the word “colored,” the sounds...

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2. A Street Where Girls Were Meddled: Insults and Street Harassment

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pp. 56-81

Born in 1922, Clarita Reed grew up in segregated New Orleans. In a 1994 interview, she struggled to narrate her coming-of-age during Jim Crow. To describe the psychological trauma of segregation, Reed first turned to her brother’s experience—a more familiar story...

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3. Defending Her Honor: Interracial Sexual Violence, Silences, and Respectability

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pp. 82-107

On Monday, February 10, 1930, Matt Piacum, a white restaurateur, called the police because his black teenage dishwasher, Hattie McCray, had been shot by Charles Guerand, a white patrolman. The police report recorded the facts of the crime: “Matt A. Piacum . . . notified the...

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4. The Geography of Niceness: Morality, Anxiety, and Black Girlhood

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pp. 108-140

People living in the Seventh Ward and the Treme (bounded by Esplanade to St. Louis Streets and Rampart to Broad Streets), two overlapping neighborhoods in downtown New Orleans, encountered a world of excitement. Residents frequented black-owned businesses...

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5. Relationships Unbecoming of a Girl Her Age: Sexual Delinquency and the House of the Good Shepherd

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pp. 141-173

The bulky brick building of the House of the Good Shepherd sat in downtown New Orleans on the corner of Bienville and North Broad. A concrete wall, cracked from age and adorned with ironwork, separated the convent from its neighbors. At the entrance the name “Good Shepherd” announced...

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6. Make-Believe Land: Pleasure in Black Girls’ Lives

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pp. 174-205

Figure 6.1 is a photograph taken at Claiborne Avenue branch of the New Orleans Young Women’s Christian Association on Canal Street sometime in the 1950s. If we can assign emotions to the bodily characteristics of the girls in the photo, we might say that they look not only happy...

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Epilogue: Jim Crow Girls, Hurricane Katrina Women

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pp. 206-216

Nina Simone, who came of age in Jim Crow North Carolina, sang of segregation in “Old Jim Crow,” a protest song from 1964. The song referenced the weariness felt by so many African Americans frustrated with the pace of change in the fight for racial justice. Simone lamented...

Notes

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pp. 217-244

Bibliography

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pp. 245-260

Index

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pp. 261-266