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Documenting Racial Violence in Kentucky, 1880 and 1950: Books
This research guide is to help interns working on the Documenting Racial Violence in Kentucky project.
Call Number: Young Library, 4th Floor - E185.93.K3 L83 1992
Publication Date: 1992
This two volume study covers the entire spectrum of the black experience in Kentucky from earliest settlement to 1980. Mandated & partially funded by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1978, this path-breaking work is the most comprehensive consideration of the subject ever undertaken. The authors have made effective use of numerous primary sources such as slave diaries, Freedman's Bureau records, church minutes, & collections of personal papers. Volume 1 traces the role of blacks in the explorations of Christopher Gist & Daniel Boone & the institutionalization of slavery in the Commonwealth through emancipation & the beginning of legal segregation. Volume 2 explores the rising tide of racism at the turn of the twentieth century to the civil rights movement in the later decades. The volumes cover such topics as work, living conditions, religion, education, health, the family, & politics. This work fills a long-recognized void in Kentucky history & provides a fascinating picture of the triumphs & tragedies, accomplishments & defeats of the race in its struggle to achieve freedom & equality.
"Wright vividly portrays the clash between racist militants and blacks who would not submit to terror. The book makes clear the brutality concealed beneath the surface veneer of moderation." -- Journal of Southern History. In this investigative look into Kentucky's race relations from the end of the Civil War to 1940, George C. Wright brings to light a consistent pattern of legally sanctioned and extralegal violence employed to ensure that blacks knew their "place" after the war. In the first study of its kind to target the racial patterns of a specific state, Wright demonstrates that despite Kentucky's proximity to the North, its black population was subjected to racial oppression every bit as severe and prolonged as that found farther south. His examination of the causes and extent of racial violence, and of the steps taken by blacks and concerned whites to end the brutality, has implications for race relations throughout the United States.
From the assembled work of fifteen leading scholars emerges a complex and provocative portrait of lynching in the American South. With subjects ranging in time from the late antebellum period to the early twentieth century, and in place from the border states to the Deep South, this collection of essays provides a rich comparative context in which to study the troubling history of lynching. Covering a broad spectrum of methodologies, these essays further expand the study of lynching by exploring such topics as same-race lynchings, black resistance to white violence, and the political motivations for lynching. In addressing both the history and the legacy of lynching, the book raises important questions about Southern history, race relations, and the nature of American violence. Though focused on events in the South, these essays speak to patterns of violence, injustice, and racism that have plagued the entire nation. The contributors are Bruce E. Baker, E. M. Beck, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Joan E. Cashin, Paula Clark, Thomas G. Dyer, Terence Finnegan, Larry J. Griffin, Nancy MacLean, William S. McFeely, Joanne C. Sandberg, Patricia A. Schechter, Roberta Senechal de la Roche, Stewart E. Tolnay, and George C. Wright.
"This book is a unique study of race and racism across two centuries in the hinterland of the upper South. Its implications are at once depressingly familiar and distinctly fresh." --W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author of Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930. From the earliest days when slaves were brought to western Kentucky, the descendants of both slaves and slave owners in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, have continued to inhabit the same social and historic space. Part ethnography and part historical narrative, Been Coming through Some Hard Times offers a penetrating look at this southern town and the surrounding counties, delving particularly into the ways in which its inhabitants have remembered and publicly represented race relations in their community. Neither Deep South nor Appalachian, this western Kentucky borderland presented unique opportunities for African American communities and also deep, lasting tensions with powerful whites. Glazier conducted fieldwork in Hopkinsville for some ten months, examining historical evidence, oral histories, and the racialized hierarchy found in the final resting places of black and white citizens. His analysis shows how structural inequality continues to prevail in Hopkinsville. The book's ethnographic vignettes of worship services, school policy disputes, segregated cemeteries, a "dressing like our ancestors" day at an elementary school, and black family reunions poignantly illustrate the ongoing debate over the public control of memory. Ultimately, the book critiques the lethargy of white Americans who still fail to recognize the persistence of white privilege and therefore stunt the development of a truly multicultural society. Glazier's personal investment in this subject is clear. Been Coming through Some Hard Times began as an exploration of the life of James Bass, an African American who settled in Hopkinsville in 1890 and whose daughter, Idella Bass, cared for Glazier as a child. Her remarkable life profoundly influenced Glazier and led him to investigate her family's roots in the town. This personal dimension makes Glazier's ethnohistorical account especially nuanced and moving. Here is a uniquely revealing look at how the racial injustices of the past impinge quietly but insidiously upon the present in a distinctive, understudied region.