Jim Crow's Disabilities: Racial Injury, Immobility, and the "Terrible Handicap" in the Literature of James Weldon Johnson
Abstract

Abstract:

Focusing on James Weldon Johnson's "The Best Methods of Removing the Disabilities of Caste from the Negro," The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, and Along This Way, this article examines how Johnson's work exposes disability as an integral, not incidental, element of the Jim Crow regime. Demonstrating that Jim Crow was more than a social system that separated whites from Blacks, "Jim Crow's Disabilities" argues that Jim Crow imposed disabilities upon Black American bodies—stigmatizing African Americans at large, restricting their geographical mobility and movement in public spaces, inflicting physical and psychological wounds, and disciplining their bodies as a form of control and regulation.