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Property Rites: The Rhinelander Trial, Passing, and the Protection of Whiteness Paperback – May 15, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0807859391 ISBN-10: 0807859397 Edition: 1st

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Property Rites: The Rhinelander Trial, Passing, and the Protection of Whiteness + One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life--A Story of Race and Family Secrets
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (May 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807859397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807859391
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.9 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,184,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Compelling.--African American Review

Offers a fascinating thesis of why so many white Americans in the 1920s had become anxious about the concept of passing.--Flavour Magazine

Smith-Pryor uses the Rhinelander trial to weave a narrative of classification, confusion, and cultural dislocation in the Jazz Age. . . . Reveals much about how Americans in the Northeast lived in and across the color line and how, in the north as much as the south, white supremacy shaped property, place, and possibility.--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Smith-Pryor tells the trial's story in play-by-play fashion, alternating those chapters with analytical interludes that describe the complexities of race in the 1920s US. . . . Recommended.--Choice

Smith-Pryor's narrative of the trial and precipitating events is compelling. . . She delineates the complex past of the Jones family . . . with care and skill." --African American Review

An enjoyable book that clarifies many of the complicated social and legal issues surrounding the dissolution of the Rhinelander marriage.--The Journal of American History

Offers other fascinating discussions of the ways in which shifting notions of middle-class manhood, courtship practices, and acceptable sexual behavior, affected the course of the trial. . . . An illuminating and engaging read that is particularly suitable for an undergraduate classroom.--History News Network

Review

Property Rites is a fascinating, wonderfully well-rounded account of the notorious Rhinelander trial. Smith-Pryor does a particularly fine job of explicating the strategies of each of the lawyers, explaining the context of divorce and annulment law in New York, and highlighting the significance of property in protecting whiteness.--Peggy Pascoe, author of What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Friend of Hobbits on April 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent scholarly treatment of the Rhinelander Trial of 1924 which provides a snapshot of the manner in which definitions of race were socially constructed and contested during the inter war period of America.

The work is suitable for use in college classrooms interested in race relations prior to the "Golden Decade" of the Civil Rights Era, but also as an example of high quality legal scholarship that many readers will find fascinating as notions of legal ownership and the implications of race intersect on the modern courtroom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Rhinelander on July 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is outstanding... it explains every aspect of a trial that was as famous in its day as the O J Simpson trial.
There is no other book on this subject that I could recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really interesting and well written, so far I'm really enjoying this book. I beleive my mother and perhaps my aunt will enjoy as well, I plan to pass it on! I highly recommend it.
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More About the Author

Elizabeth M. Smith-Pryor was born and raised in Staten Island, New York (part of New York City, although many Manhattanites might not recognize it as such). She graduated from Harvard in 1984, and received a law degree from Stanford Law School in 1987. After practicing law for 6 years in New York, she recognized that career as overly-toxic and returned to academia, earning a PhD in American History from Rutgers University in 2001.
As the daughter of a "mixed-race" couple who married in New York in the early 1960s, Ms. Smith-Pryor has been both personally and professionally interested in how Americans understand the concept of "race" and how they use their understandings to privilege some groups over others. Although we now live in the supposedly "post-racial" age of Obama, she believes that until Americans fully come to terms with the ways in which their belief in race has shaped the landscape of the American life, we will never achieve the ideal of color-blindness.

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