Synopses & Reviews
Glenda Gilmore recovers the rich nuances of southern political history by placing black women at its center. She explores the pivotal and interconnected roles played by gender and race in North Carolina politics from the period immediately preceding the disfranchisement of black men in 1900 to the time black and white women gained the vote in 1920. Gender and Jim Crow
argues that the ideology of white supremacy embodied in the Jim Crow laws of the turn of the century profoundly reordered society and that within this environment, black women crafted an enduring tradition of political activism.
According to Gilmore, a generation of educated African American women emerged in the 1890s to become, in effect, diplomats to the white community after the disfranchisement of their husbands, brothers, and fathers. Using the lives of African American women to tell the larger story, Gilmore chronicles black women's political strategies, their feminism, and their efforts to forge political ties with white women. Her analysis highlights the active role played by women of both races in the political process and in the emergence of southern progressivism. In addition, Gilmore illuminates the manipulation of concepts of gender by white supremacists and shows how this rhetoric changed once women, black and white, gained the vote.
"Glenda Gilmore's use of gender, race, and class as tools of historical analysis enriches our understanding of political history in the period from 1890 to 1920.Her study suggests that we
fashion a more nuanced meaning for the term 'progressivism.' In bringing women, and in particular black women, central to the discussion, Gilmore effectively invites a reconsideration of power and its relationship to women of varying classes. Consequently, we can examine Southern history from the perspective of the disfranchised, For example, her treatment of community workers introduces readers to Jeanes teachers, club women, and student leaders. She also goes beyond the traditional categories with which women are associated and highlights gender-benders, such as Lula Spaulding who became known as the 'debit man' when she entered the insurance business. She peoples her account with names and faces, filling in seemingly empty spaces and giving voice to silences that have been heretofore overlooked and unheard. Gilmore's fresh approach offers new insights into African-American women's interactions and participation in the political arena during this period." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
The book convinces because of its rigorous scholarship [and] permanently revises the accepted history of the Jim Crow period.
This is an accessible, informative addition to an increasingly important area of study.
[A]n eloquent book about the 'best' that we can hold up against political vampires in our own time.
Gilmore's finely crafted, engrossing book puts women at the center of its inquiry.
Washington Post Book World
An exquisitely written and conceived book about turn-of-the-century North Carolina.
"One of the most intellectually exciting books I have read in some time" -- Thomas C. Holt, University of Chicago
Gilmore sets out . . . to reinterpret turn-of-the-century southern politics from the perspective of middle-class black women activists. She succeeds brilliantly. The book not only reclaims the long-buried stories of a group of richly compelling characters; it also redefines what should count as 'politics' in southern history.
American Historical Review
Exploring the pivotal and interconnected roles played by gender and race in North Carolina politics from the period immediately preceding the disfranchisement of black men in 1900 to the time black and white women gained the vote in 1920, Glenda Gilmore chronicles black women's political strategies, their feminism, and their efforts to forge political ties with white women.
About the Author
Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, a seventh-generation North Carolinian, is Peter V. and C. Vann Woodward Professor of History at Yale University.
Table of Contents
1 Place and Possibility 1
2 Race and Womanhood 31
3 Race and Manhood 61
4 Sex and Violence in Procrustes's Bed 91
5 No Middle Ground 119
6 Diplomatic Women 147
7 Forging Interracial Links 177
8 Women and Ballots 203