In the segregated South of the early twentieth century, unwritten rules guided every aspect of individual behavior, from how blacks and whites stood, sat, ate, drank, walked, and talked to whether they made eye contact with one another. Jennifer Ritterhouse asks how children learned this racial "etiquette," which was sustained by coercion and the threat of violence. More broadly, she asks how individuals developed racial self-consciousness. Parental instruction was an important factor--both white parents' reinforcement of a white supremacist worldview and black parents' oppositional lessons in respectability and race pride. Children also learned much from their interactions across race lines. The fact that black youths were often eager to stand up for themselves, despite the risks, suggests that the emotional underpinnings of the civil rights movement were in place long before the historical moment when change became possible. Meanwhile, a younger generation of whites continued to enforce traditional patterns of domination and deference in private, while also creating an increasingly elaborate system of segregation in public settings. Exploring relationships between public and private and between segregation, racial etiquette, and racial violence, Growing Up Jim Crow sheds new light on tradition and change in the South and the meanings of segregation within southern culture.
"These writings are portraits of light and dark and the bittersweet realities of childhood and adolescence. Stories reveal how the joy of black-white friendships gives way to larger cultural forces and the necessary secrets and behaviors that keep the scaffolding of everyday life from toppling. A trip to see her father late in his life opens long buried wounds and questions about the family, childhood experiences and the corrosiveness of secrets and denials. Her essays dare to look at the past in sweet and unsweet ways, careful to let go of nostalgia when trumped by later insights. She holds on to what she finds true and though the costs of truth seeking are great, we come to see the mirror of her life constantly changing as she adds insight to inform what she sees reflected back to her. Would that we could do the same, and stand before a mirror that more accurately reveals what we dare to learn." - Kendall Dudley
The concept of Jim Crow, or rather the written and unwritten racist codes and laws used to oppress black people, can be abstract to most. Or something that may have only affected people under it every once in a while. However, if you were a poor, single parent, Black family in the 50's, Jim Crow and his 'kin folk' permeated every part of your existence. In his narrative, Andrew Johnson tells the story of his family's sojourn under this system. Told from the prospective of being the youngest child of ten, the reader is taken through stories that will bring tears, laughter and pride. Yes. Jim Crow was an awful scourge on this family as well as the country. However, through this book, the family through tears and terror shall triumph and show the reader how 'Momma Slapped Jim Crow.'
Using first-person narratives collected through oral history interviews, this groundbreaking book collects black women's memories of their public and private lives during the period of legal segregation in the American South.
This book tells the story of how people struggled to define, reform, and overturn racial etiquette as a social guide for Southern Rhodesian politics. Underlying what appears to be a static history of racial etiquette is a dynamic narrative of anxieties over racial, gender, and generational status. From the outlawing of "insolence" toward officials to a last-ditch "courtesy campaign" in the early 1960s, white elites believed that their nimble use of racial etiquette would contain Africans' desire for social and political change. In turn, Africans mobilized around stories of racial humiliation. Allison Shutt's research provides a microhistory of the changing discourse about manners and respectability in Southern Rhodesia that by the 1950s had become central to fiercely contested political positions and nationalist tactics. Intense debates among Africans and whites alike over the deployment of courtesy and rudeness reveal the social-emotional tensions that contributed to political mobilization on the part of nationalists and the narrowing of options for the course of white politics. Drawing on public records, legal documents, and firsthand accounts, this first book-length history of manners in twentieth-century colonial Africa provides a compelling new model for understanding politics and culture through the prism of etiquette. Allison K. Shutt is professor of history at Hendrix College.
I was born in a small Kentucky town named, “Richmond”. I had no concept of color or cultural differences during the first four years of my life. The one common background of African Americans is our Antebellum Slave heritage. Antebellum Slavery replaced the culture of African people brought into the system with a new aberrant slave culture. Remnants of this culture appear to exist in the modern African American culture due to the continued isolation of the culture during Jim Crow Segregation. I found these remnants were in me. I was subjected to many of the negative images of race during my early life in Jim Crow Segregation. Initially my scope of our race, self –perception, and self-definition were affected by the molding of Jim Crow Segregation. My experience again demonstrated to me that self-determination is the best possible scenario for success in life. We can prosper by embracing the positives of the American culture and benefit from the “American Dream”. I survived the violence, social and psychological impacts of Jim Crow Segregation. I resisted the social and psychological molding of Jim Crow Segregation therefore; I am not the product of Jim Crow Segregation. I am not perpetuating the legacy of Antebellum Slavery or Jim Crow Segregation in everyday life. I am proud of my heritage. Genetically I am African, Welsh English-Caucasian and Cherokee-Native American. I am an American.
A bravely honest and richly detailed account of life in Jim Crow Memphis on the white side of the color line in the turmoil of the Sanitation Workers' Strike and the Viet Nam war. One woman's dogma-defying 1950's childhood and 1960's coming-of-age in the midst of a large Irish-Catholic family in the Baptist Bible Belt.
During the turbulent 1960s, civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. devised a new and effective strategy to achieve equality for African Americans. Young blended interracial mediation with direct protest, demonstrating that these methods pursued together were the best tactics for achieving social, economic, and political change. Militant Mediator is a powerful reassessment of this key and controversial figure in the civil rights movement. It is the first biography to explore in depth the influence Young's father, a civil rights leader in Kentucky, had on his son. Dickerson traces Young's swift rise to national prominence as a leader who could bridge the concerns of deprived blacks and powerful whites and mobilize the resources of the white America to battle the poverty and discrimination at the core of racial inequality. Alone among his civil rights colleagues -- Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, John Lewis, and James Forman -- Young built support from black and white constituencies. As a National Urban League official in the Midwest and as a dean of the School of Social Work at Atlanta University during the 1940s and 1950s, Young developed a strategy of mediation and put it to work on a national level upon becoming the executive director of the League in 1961. Though he worked with powerful whites, Young also drew support from middle-and working-class blacks from religious, fraternal, civil rights, and educational organizations. As he navigated this middle ground, though, Young came under fire from both black nationalists and white conservatives.
White southerners recognized that the perpetuation of segregation required whites of all ages to uphold a strict social order -- especially the young members of the next generation. White children rested at the core of the system of segregation between 1890 and 1939 because their participation was crucial to ensuring the future of white supremacy. Their socialization in the segregated South offers an examination of white supremacy from the inside, showcasing the culture's efforts to preserve itself by teaching its beliefs to the next generation. In Raising Racists: The Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South, author Kristina DuRocher reveals how white adults in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries continually reinforced race and gender roles to maintain white supremacy. DuRocher examines the practices, mores, and traditions that trained white children to fear, dehumanize, and disdain their black neighbors. Raising Racists combines an analysis of the remembered experiences of a racist society, how that society influenced children, and, most important, how racial violence and brutality shaped growing up in the early-twentieth-century South.