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Raising Racists

Raising Racists: The Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South

Kristina DuRocher
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Raising Racists
    Book Description:

    White southerners recognized that the perpetuation of segregation required whites of all ages to uphold a strict social order -- especially the young members of the next generation. White children rested at the core of the system of segregation between 1890 and 1939 because their participation was crucial to ensuring the future of white supremacy. Their socialization in the segregated South offers an examination of white supremacy from the inside, showcasing the culture's efforts to preserve itself by teaching its beliefs to the next generation.

    InRaising Racists: The Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South,author Kristina DuRocher reveals how white adults in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries continually reinforced race and gender roles to maintain white supremacy. DuRocher examines the practices, mores, and traditions that trained white children to fear, dehumanize, and disdain their black neighbors.Raising Racistscombines an analysis of the remembered experiences of a racist society, how that society influenced children, and, most important, how racial violence and brutality shaped growing up in the early-twentieth-century South.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-3016-3
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    In 1935, a white family traveled to a field in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to pose for a commemorative photograph with the corpse of African American Rubin Stacy.¹ After Stacy’s arrest for frightening a white woman, Mrs. Marion Jones, on Friday, July 19, a white mob removed Stacy from jail and lynched the homeless tenant farmer. Over the following weekend, whites traveled from nearby towns and counties to view the mob’s handiwork. A photograph depicts Stacy’s corpse hanging from a tree with a noose around his neck and his hands tied in front of him (see page 2).² Several white girls...

  6. 1 “My Mother Had Warned Me about This”: Parental Socialization in the Jim Crow South
    (pp. 13-34)

    Sarah-Patton Boyle, born in 1906 into a Virginian southern aristocratic family, described in her autobiography,The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian’s Stand in Time of Transition(1962), an incident from her adolescence. She befriended her African American maid, Evelyn, and they chatted companionably for months, bonding over a shared interest in art. Despite their acquaintance, both always followed the prescribed measures of address until one fateful day when Evelyn referred to Boyle as “Patty” instead of “Miss Patton.” The moment Evelyn said the words, emotion flooded Boyle, and her body stiffened in anger, for “A Negro had failed to call mxe miss!”...

  7. 2 “We Learned Our Lessons Well”: The Growth of White Privilege in Southern Schools
    (pp. 35-60)

    When Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin was a child, her father told her of his adventures as a participant in the Ku Klux Klan. One of his favorite anecdotes concerned a Klansman intimidating an African American man by pretending to be a slain Confederate soldier who was “thirsty in hell.” The man commanded the group’s victim to haul over buckets of water, which the Klansman pretended to drink, but in reality, the water streamed onto the ground. The story Lumpkin recounts also appears in the popularHistory of the Ku-Klux Klan(1915) by Mrs. S. E. F. Rose. In this “historical”...

  8. 3 Consumerism Meets Jim Crow’s Children: White Children and the Culture of Segregation
    (pp. 61-92)

    In the early twentieth century, the emergence of industrialization and mass culture in the South strained the system of racial segregation.¹ Cash made the marketplace an equalizing space, offering at least monetary egalitarianism, while mass culture provided white southerners a public medium in which to reiterate their justifications for white dominance over African Americans.² National advertisement campaigns, such as those for Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup, Cream of Wheat breakfast cereal, and Czar baking powder, made use of evocative images of the South, especially those of “good darkies,” to reinforce the idealized racial roles of southern antebellum society that...

  9. 4 “The Course My Life Was to Take”: The Violent Reality of White Youth’s Socialization
    (pp. 93-112)

    Harry Leland (H. L.) Mitchell, born in 1906, begins his autobiography,Mean Things Happening in This Land(1979), with vignettes of his early encounters with race. As a child, he viewed the corpse of a white man, heard his uncle’s story of killing a black man, and witnessed a mob burning an African American man alive. Of the incidents, Mitchell writes, “I could never forget these killings, the violence between blacks and whites, the savagery of mob spirit.” Mitchell, in his autobiography, reflects on these events, noting, “certainly these early impressions helped to determine the course my life was to...

  10. 5 Violent Masculinity: Ritual and Performance in Southern Lynchings
    (pp. 113-130)

    In 1916, authorities arrested seventeen-year-old African American Jesse Washington for the murder and sexual assault of fifty-three-year-old Lucy Fryer. Washington’s confession, which he signed although could not read, claimed that he had, “pulled up her clothes and crawled on her and screwed her,” after which he hit her in the head twice with a hammer.¹ Washington, the only suspect, stood trial in Waco, Texas. During the hour-long proceeding, a crowd gathered to hear the judgment. After the jury read the “guilty” verdict, the crowd turned into a mob, removed Washington from the courtroom, and dragged him into the town square....

  11. 6 “Is This the Man?”: White Girls’ Participation in Southern Lynchings
    (pp. 131-152)

    In 1919, teenager Mattie Hudson of Vicksburg, Mississippi, claimed that at five o’clock in the morning a black man had entered her bedroom and attempted to rape her. Hudson, who lived with her parents, asserted that after her attacker forced his way through a screened window, she “shrieked for help and fought him.” She was “unharmed except to suffer a severe nervous shock as the result of her harrowing experience.”¹ The town quickly began a search with bloodhounds for the culprit and brought Hudson to the jail to view a lineup. Among the men presented to her was Lloyd Clay,...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 153-158)

    Despite elite white male southerners’ success in reconstituting white supremacy legally and socially during the 1870s and 1880s, they struggled to maintain cultural, political, and economic control throughout the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. White southerners vigilantly worked toward white supremacy’s survival while African Americans and reformers fought for its demise.¹ White adults, fearful that each generation that came of age without experiencing slavery would violate the racial dictates of segregation, focused on socializing generations of white youth into adults’ racial beliefs. The social roles created by white adults for their children during segregation were intended...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 159-204)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 205-224)
  15. Index
    (pp. 225-237)