"A thorough, sympathetic, fair, and balanced treatment of an important topic. Through careful research, Hornsby-Gutting brings a searching analysis to the cultural responses of black male leaders to disenfranchisement and Jim Crow segregation."--Paul David Escott, Wake Forest University
"Hornsby-Gutting's examination of the involvement of black men in the institutional life of their turn-of-the-century North Carolina communities expands our understanding of gendered activism in the Jim Crow South."--Beverly G. Bond, University of Memphis
Historical treatments of race during the early twentieth century have generally focused on black women's activism. Leading books about the disenfranchisement era hint that black men withdrew from positions of community leadership until later in the century.
Angela Hornsby-Gutting argues that middle-class black men in North Carolina in fact actively responded to new manifestations of racism. Focusing on the localized, grassroots work of black men during this period, she offers new insights about rarely scrutinized interracial dynamics as well as the interactions between men and women in the black community.
Informed by feminist analysis, Hornsby-Gutting uses gender as the lens through which to view cooperation, tension, and negotiation between the sexes and among African American men during an era of heightened race oppression. Her work promotes improved understanding of the construct of gender during these years, and expands the vocabulary of black manhood beyond the "great man ideology" which has obfuscated alternate, localized meanings of politics, manhood, and leadership.