Before Jim Crow
The Politics of Race in Postemancipation Virginia
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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I owe so many people my thanks for their support during the writingof this book that I scarcely know where to begin.The clearest debts areto institutions. Princeton University, the Virginia Historical Society,the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Princeton’s Council on Re-gional Studies all supported the dissertation that became this book....
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In Jazz, Toni Morrison’s novel set in the Harlem of the 1920s, the nar-rator fills in the past of the main characters,Violet and Joe Trace.Theyhad come to the city from Virginia in the years just before the GreatWar, in search of diversion and anonymity, and to get away from wantand white violence. When Violet was a child, the narrator tells us, her...
Chapter 1 Origins of the Readjuster Movement
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White southerners in the antebellum era liked to argue that racialslavery, far from being incompatible with democracy, was in fact thebasis for equality among white men. ‘‘In this country alone does per-fect equality of civil and social privilege exist among the white popu-lation, and it exists solely because we have black slaves,’’ lectured the...
Chapter 2 Expanding the Circle of Honor: The Politics of Patronage
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William Mahone never intended to challenge white supremacy in Vir-ginia. He did not mean to be, as he was later depicted by John MercerLangston, a white Moses leading black Virginians out of the politicalwilderness they found themselves in after 1873.1 But the 1880 nationalelection revealed to Mahone a fundamental truth about politics in...
Chapter 3 Drawing the Line between Public and Private: Sex, Schools, and Liberalism
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As the battle over the Petersburg public schools shows, black Vir-ginians made tangible gains under Readjuster rule. Yet black powerin Petersburg, and in Virginia generally, had its limits. Despite con-siderable agitation on their part, African American Readjusters in theblack-majority Fourth Congressional District, which included Peters-...
Chapter 4 Deference and Violence in Danville
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As he finished his autobiographical Lanterns on the Levee: Recollectionsof a Planter’s Son, William Alexander Percy—planter, writer, and (as hesupposed) racial liberal and ‘‘friend of the Negro’’—fretted over the in-creasingly acrimonious state of race relations in the South. Publishedin 1941, just before the southern legal and cultural edifice of racial...
Chapter 5 Making Black White and White Black: The Politics of Racial Identity
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Classifications—social, racial, sexual—are constantly disputed ineveryday social interactions and in the civic and political sphere. Dan-ville’s citizens argued about such classifications on sidewalks. OtherVirginians clashed in more esoteric settings. Legislation and courtcases involving the definition and establishment of racial identity are...
Epilogue: The Voice of the People
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What lessons can we draw from the defeat of the Readjusters in 1883?Certainly the potency of race as a political issue cannot be denied.As one Richmond party leader concluded in December of that year,‘‘There is no doubt that every issue was absorbed in the one issue, [the]Race issue.’’1 But as this quotation makes clear, race was never experi-...
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Page Count: 292
Illustrations: 4 illus., 3 maps
Publication Year: 2000
Series Title: Gender and American Culture