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Before Jim Crow: The Politics of Race in Postemancipation Virginia (Gender and American Culture) Paperback – December 18, 2000


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Before Jim Crow: The Politics of Race in Postemancipation Virginia (Gender and American Culture) + Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics, and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia + Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"BEFORE JIM CROW is an elegant, often sardonic study of the Readjuster movement." -- TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

Review

Before Jim Crow is an elegant, often sardonic study of the Readjuster movement.--Times Literary Supplement|The narrative of the rise and fall of the Readjuster Party provides a mere backdrop against which Dailey explores several fascinating issues . . . . An important addition to the growing literature about race in the late nineteenth-century South.--American Historical Review|[A] fine book.--Journal of American History|Impressive. . . . A sophisticated and complex analysis. . . . A provocative and important work, one that should influence the study of race for years to come.--Journal of Southern History|Brimming with theoretical insights and intellectual wit.--Law and History Review|This is a fine book--an elegant blend of political and cultural history, and a model of what state-level political history ought to look like in the wake of recent advances in our understanding of identity.--Suzanne Lebsock, University of Washington|Before Jim Crow is one of the most exciting books on the South I've read in years. Dailey not only recasts the history of post-Reconstruction southern politics by recovering the virtually forgotten history of the Readjusters (and the critical role black people played in the movement), but she reminds us that nothing is inevitable. Southerners might have taken another path, and only violence, intimidation, and a realignment of race undermined a more democratic future.--Robin D. G. Kelley, New York University|In Before Jim Crow, Jane Dailey brilliantly recreates the world of the Readjusters in late nineteenth-century Virginia. Emphasizing the fluidity of southern politics after the Civil War, Dailey makes clear that the emergence of segregation and disfranchisement was not preordained. An indispensable book for anyone who wants to understand the opportunities and challenges involved in building an interracial democracy in the South.--Peter Bardaglio, Goucher College|A nicely written and sharply observed study, which adds theoretical precision and empirical substance to the growing body of scholarship that treats race as a socially constructed, rather than a 'natural,' category of historical analysis.--Journal of American Studies|This study aids in developing a more complete picture of race relations and the struggle for equality in nineteenth century America.--Civil War Book Review
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Product Details

  • Series: Gender and American Culture
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (December 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807849014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807849019
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy B. Tyson on March 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
I teach Southern and African American history to large numbers of students, some of them local citizens, many undergrads at NCCU & UNC & Duke, still others aspiring ministers and local teachers. Nearly all share is an inability to imagine a successful bi-racial political coalition in the 19th and early 20th century US South. Unconsciously wedded to the unjustified notion that history moves in an inevitable arc toward progress, students have a hard time imagining that Southerns of the 1870s & 1880s South could build interracial coalitions that citizens of the 1970s & 1980s never achieved. Jane Dailey's brilliant book on VA's Readjuster movement of the 1870s & 1880s cuts through ingrained assumptions with clarity and wit. Her style is clever and clear. These movements happened across the South, more successfully in VA and later NC. Imagining them is not only necessary to understand Southern history but to imagine an American future not riven by permanent racial divides. A profound and pleasing work of history by a cutting-edge scholar.
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Format: Paperback
In Before Jim Crow: The Politics of Race in Postemancipation Virginia, Jane Dailey argues that the Jim Crow South was a direct result of "white southerners' specific and concrete encounters with black social, economic and political power" (2). Dailey utilizes congressional records, correspondence, newspapers and periodicals, court dockets, contemporary prose, minefields of secondary sources, and the personal papers of William Mahone. In her attempt to explain the instability of social categories - political, gender and racial - and their interrelationship of identification, Dailey shows how Virginia formed ideas about race and how these functioned politically within a specific context. White and black southerners dissatisfied with local national parties, found commonality in class status, civil rights and downplayed race in the interracial political coalition of Readjusters. Before Jim Crow presents the legacy of the Readjuster movement thematically through the topics of honor, liberalism, deference, and identity.
Dailey argues against those who believe African American votes were meaningless in post Reconstruction South; it was the success of black men in politics led to their eventual exclusion from public authority. Dailey aims to further the C. Van Woodward thesis about the fluidity of southern race relations generally focused on electoral politics. She argues against historians who suggest the Woodward thesis applies only to politics by demonstrating that politics cannot be divorced from other social domains. By examining southern politics, through a focus on agency and context, Dailey shows the fluidity of racial identity and that white dominance was continuously re-created rather than a product that was simply perpetuated.
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By Dr. Heather Ann Thompson on January 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
For anyone who wishes really to understand the politics of the Jim Crow South, they must first read this book by Prof. Jane Dailey. As Dr. Dailey's beautifully written study makes clear, the racial politics of the post-Civil War south were much more contested and much more in flux than most Americans believe them to have been. Indeed by taking readers into the daily lives of both black and white Virginians who wished to build political bridges across the color line in the wake of the Civil War, we see that the South's future, for a time, held real possibility for scores of newly freed African Americans and poor whites alike. As important, Dailey's study makes clear why it was that intense segregation and racial injustice eventually triumphed in this region. In short, the era of Jim Crow was both actively created, and hard won, by those who had opposed a more egalitarian South from the first. The best historians are those who can take a reader back in time and help them to live, breath, and feel a given moment in time--its hopes and its dashed dreams. Jane Dailey is indeed one of these great historians.
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By showmegrad on December 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting read about Virginia's Readjuster Party and its efforts to create multiracial coalition to effect the reform of the political landscape of Virginia. A piece of history that's needed to be heard for a long time, for it puts to rest the inevitability of racial tension in the post Civil War world, both North and South. It reaffirms that race is merely a man-made social construct and let's face it, we've made plenty of mistakes. The people in the book seem to recognize that, or at least tried to. Worthwhile reading!
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