By Joel Williamson
The Crucible of Race, a massive reinterpretation of black-white family within the South, used to be greatly acclaimed on book and in comparison favorably to 2 of the seminal books on Southern background: Wilbur J. Cash's The brain of Jim Crow. Representing two decades of study and writing at the heritage of the South, The Crucible of Race explores the big subject of Southern race kinfolk for a span of a century and a part. Oxford is happy to make to be had an abridgement of this father or mother quantity: A Rage for Order preserves all of the subject strains that have been complex within the unique quantity and lots of of the person tales. As in Crucible of Race, Williamson right here confronts the grim irony that the conflict to unfastened blacks from slavery additionally freed racism. He examines the shift within the strength base of Southern white management after 1850 and recounts the poor violence performed to blacks within the identify of self-protection. This condensation of 1 of crucial interpretations of Southern background is accessible as a way through which a wide viewers can clutch the necessities of black-white relations--a challenge that persists to this present day and one with which all of us needs to contend--North and South, black and white.
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Additional resources for A Rage for Order: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation
It might also have to do with why the South is a region where family identity remains remarkably strong. The clannishness as well as the Klannishness of Reconstruction ought to be understood in the context of this vast societal disintegration. It might relate, too, to the rise of a new model in Southern politics. It might be that Wade Hampton operated in the style of a latter- day liege lord for South Carolina whites during Reconstruction and Redemption very much as Booker T. Washington did for blacks a generation later.
To have claimed more would have made the fraud too blatant. 45 Hampton, himself, meant what he said. As governor, he even made some well-advertised appointments of blacks to lowly offices. But most of the Democratic leadership regarded the rhetoric simply as a means to the all-important end of regaining power. Shortly Hampton, as Redemption leaders so often did, moved on to join the club of genteel gentlemen then sitting in the United States Senate. At home in South Carolina in the ensuing years, blacks were progressively squeezed down in their freedom—in politics, in education, in economics, and as individuals.
More and more, available evidence suggests that the Townsends were hardly unique. Rather was it that in almost every community there were mulattoes of recognized and respectable white parentage. In certain communities, perhaps, white society was losing the landmarks afforded by a distinctly biracial human geography. If white was right, was half-white half-right? On dark seas and in high hot winds some men—and women too—were running wild, dashing their culture to pieces upon the rocks of miscegenation.