Synopses & Reviews
Long before the Montgomery bus boycott ushered in the modern civil rights movement, black and white southerners struggled to forge interracial democracy in America. This innovative book examines the most successful interracial coalition in the nineteenth-century South, Virginia's Readjuster Party, and uncovers a surprising degree of fluidity in postemancipation southern politics.
Melding social, cultural, and political history, Jane Dailey chronicles the Readjusters' efforts to foster political cooperation across the color line. She demonstrates that the power of racial rhetoric, and the divisiveness of racial politics, derived from the everyday experiences of individual Virginiansfrom their local encounters on the sidewalk, before the magistrate's bench, in the schoolroom. In the process, she reveals the power of black and white southerners to both create and resist new systems of racial discrimination. The story of the Readjusters shows how hard white southerners had to work to establish racial domination after emancipation, and how passionately black southerners fought each and every infringement of their rights as Americans.
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)
Before Jim Crow
is an elegant, often sardonic study of the Readjuster movement.
Times Literary Supplement
A nicely written and sharply observed study.
Journal of American Studies
Impressive. . . . A provocative and important work, one that should influence the study of race for years to come.
Journal of Southern History
[A] fine book.
Journal of American History
An important addition to the growing literature about race in the late nineteenth-century South.
American Historical Review
This innovative book examines the most successful interracial coalition in the nineteenth-century South, Virginia's Readjuster Party, and uncovers a surprising degree of fluidity in postemancipation southern politics.
About the Author
Jane Dailey, associate professor of history at The Johns Hopkins University, is coeditor of Jumpin' Jim Crow: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights.