Shrill Hurrahs
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In Shrill Hurrahs, Kate Côté Gillin presents a new perspective on gender roles and racial violence in South Carolina during Reconstruction and the decades after the 1876 election of Wade Hampton as governor. In the aftermath of the Civil War, southerners struggled to either adapt or resist changes to their way of life. Gillin accurately perceives racial violence as an attempt by white southern men to reassert their masculinity, weakened by the war and emancipation, and as an attempt by white southern women to preserve their antebellum privileges.

As she reevaluates relationships between genders, Gillin also explores relations within the female gender. She has demonstrated that white women often exacerbated racial and gender violence alongside men, even when other white women were victims of that violence. Through the nineteenth century, few bridges of sisterhood were built between black and white women. Black women asserted their rights as mothers, wives, and independent free women in the postwar years, while white women often opposed these assertions of black female autonomy. Ironically even black women participated in acts of intimidation and racial violence in an attempt to safeguard their rights. In the turmoil of an era that extinguished slavery and redefined black citizenship, race, not gender, often determined the relationships that black and white women displayed in the defeated South.

By canvassing and documenting numerous incidents of racial violence, from lynching of black men to assaults on white women, Gillin proposes a new view of postwar South Carolina. Tensions grew over controversies including the struggle for land and labor, black politicization, the creation of the Ku Klux Klan, the election of 1876, and the rise of lynching. Gillin addresses these issues and more as she focusses on black women's asserted independence and white women's role in racial violence. Despite the white women's reactionary activism, the powerful presence of black women and their bravery in the face of white violence reshaped southern gender roles forever.



Publié par
Date de parution 15 décembre 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611172928
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,2100€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Shrill Hurrahs
Shrill Hurrahs
Women, Gender, and Racial Violence in South Carolina, 1865-1900

Kate C t Gillin
2013 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press
Columbia, South Carolina 29208
22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Gillin, Kate F. C.
Shrill hurrahs : women, gender, and racial violence in South Carolina, 1865-1900 / Kate F. C. Gillin.
pages cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-61117-291-1 (hardback) - ISBN 978-1-61117-292-8 (ebook) 1. African American women-South Carolina-Social conditions-19th century. 2. African American women-Violence against-South Carolina-19th century. 3. Sex role-South Carolina-History-19th century. 4. Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)-Social aspects-South Carolina. 5. South Carolina-Race relations-History-19th century. I. Title.
E185.93.S7G55 2013
305.48 896073075709034-dc23
For Peter James Gillin
List of Illustrations
1. Land, Labor, and Violence
2. Black Politics and Violence
3. Getting Organized: The Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina
4. Sin and Redemption: The Election of 1876
5. Strange Fruit Hanging from the Palmetto Tree: Lynching in South Carolina
Map of South Carolina
Men Eating Watermelon
Negro Family, Beaufort, South Carolina, 1862
A rice raft with plantation hands, near Georgetown, South Carolina, 1895
Radical Members of the First Legislature after the War, South Carolina
Radically True. From Frank Leslie s Illustrated Newspaper , December 16, 1876
The Hon. D. H. Chamberlain, Governor of South Carolina
Senator Wade Hampton III
Tableaux vivant
Lynching victim Frank Embree, 1899
The Mob at the Lake City Post Office, lynching of Frazier Baker, 1899
I wish to thank the two advisors who guided my graduate work: Helen Campbell Walker and Scott Reynolds Nelson. I am indebted to Professor Walker for her early influence on my studies, particularly for exposing me to the expansive range of literature that occupied her office floor. I am also deeply appreciative of the time and energy Professor Nelson spent reading and critiquing my work. Thank you for your humor and support, and for encouraging me to continue.
I am grateful for the work and support of Professors Leisa Meyer, Carol Sheriff, James Whittenburg, and Melvin Ely, whose scholarship and excellent teaching have made me a better student of history. I am particularly indebted to Dr. Barbara Bellows Rockefeller, a remarkable teacher and ally, and Beverley Whitaker and Beverly Smit, who started it all.
I would also like to thank the staffs of Swem Library at the College of William and Mary in Virginia; the South Caroliniana at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina; the South Carolina State Archives; and the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. To this list I must add David Mandel and the staff of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights; Chris Atwood, technology guru and patient teacher; and Alexander Moore of the University of South Carolina Press, who was always at the other end of an e-mail ready to help.
Special thanks to the Madeira School in McLean, Virginia, for funding my final research trip to South Carolina, and to former members of its history department Sara Cleveland, John Campbell, Shields Sundberg, Larry Pratt, and Lydia Nussbaum; they are excellent colleagues and great friends. A chapel speech shout-out must also go to the history department of the Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut.
To my students, advisees, and dorm children, thank you for teaching me far more than I could have taught you. And please note that I did not use the word impacted as a verb once in this book.
To my mother, a strong southern woman who faced adversity time and again, thank you for your courage and humor. I love you dearly and miss you terribly.
And, finally, to my beautiful family-Pete, Jack, Xander, and the twins -thank you for your faith in me. You make every day an adventure, and I love you all more than you will ever know.
Women, Violence, and South Carolina
In January 1871 members of the York County, South Carolina, Klan attacked the home of a local white woman named Skates. After a scuffle they pinned her to the ground, opened her upended legs, and poured a steaming brew of tar and lime into her vagina. They then spread the excess over her body and threatened to return if she did not leave the area within three days. Moments earlier Skates had assisted three black men who were themselves the targets of the Klan s violent predilections. The Klan found the men hiding under Skates s floorboards, dragged them from the house, and whipped them until the victims were able to escape. In their frenzy-and in response to her actions-the Klansmen then turned their attention to Skates. The penalty they chose for her was startling, not merely because it was cruel and violent, but because of its deeply gendered nature. They simply whipped the men, or at least that is all they were able to do before the men broke free. Skates s punishment was overtly sexual and played on her biological differences. It also far exceeded a whipping in terms of its brutality, and it was quite clearly premeditated since the Klan had brought the lime and tar with them. In an era of dramatic social, political, and economic upheaval, Skates was exempt from the protections promised to certain other southern women. Indeed many women in the South after the Civil War-white and black-found not only that their sex was no shield against the rampant violence of an undeclared racial war, but also that gender and sexuality were often the reasons for the violence. These women, however, were also empowered by this unstable period in southern history. Some found strength in their symbolic value; others chose to use their sex as a door to the wider world; still others embraced the brutality characteristic of the late-nineteenth-century South because it suited their individual and community goals. The following chapters will explore the rise of violent assaults on southern women of both races, the gendered reasons behind postwar violence, and women s own participation in acts of violence against others in the decades following the Civil War. The confluence of gender, sexuality, race, and violence was not original to the postwar era, but in a brief period of time, it achieved a heretofore unheard of level of intensity with repercussions throughout southern society. 1
The Confederate surrender in April 1865 inaugurated a struggle throughout the American South: to what extent would the ruling class of wealthy white men allow newly freed black men and women to enjoy the right of self-determination? The process was complicated by a number of factors, including the rise of a southern middle class-both black and white-the weakening of elite hegemony during the war, black enfranchisement, and the physical devastation of the South. The postwar, Reconstruction, and Redemption eras were nothing if not unsteady as the South dragged itself toward the turn of the century. With each agonizing stage in the South s recovery, white southerners introduced greater social distinctions and restrictions that were designed to re-create order, but each of these measures contributed to tension and resentment among and between blacks and whites. That tension culminated in an era of unparalleled racial violence. 2
South Carolina is an excellent source for new insights in the study of women, gender, and racial violence in the postwar era. As the hotbed of secessionist fervor in the antebellum period and the leader of the South s exodus from the United States in 1860 and 1861, South Carolina was both unique and exemplary of southern sentiments. The state that inaugurated four years of warfare in Charleston Harbor shared an economy and many social conditions with other southern states; but South Carolina set itself apart both before and after defeat. South Carolina s large black population was among its most notable distinctions: in 1865 black South Carolinians outnumbered their white counterparts 415,000 to 290,000. Blacks had in fact been a majority since the seventeenth century, but South Carolina s economic ruin, emancipation, and loss of 23 percent of its young white men during the Civil War highlighted the disparity. The state lost nearly thirteen thousand white men in the war, more than any other in the Confederacy, and defeat itself did little to assuage white citizens resentment and fear of the freedmen. South Carolina had had a small free black population before the war-centered primarily in Charleston-but most whites were unfamiliar with the reality of black men and women accountable to themselves alone. These conditions, coupled with an uncertain future, provided a breeding ground for unstable social relations. Historian George C. Rable has in fact argued that white men and women in South Carolina feared blacks more intensely and acutely than did whites of any other southern state. As a result, in South Carolina, Reconstruction and the decades that followed would feature an explosion of racial turmoil. 3
That turmoil, however, extended beyond the realm of race and into the delicate and deeply contentious arena of gender. In turn southern women, black and white, emerged as influential historical actors in the conflict. For white women the antebellum period, as Anne Firor Scott theorized thirty year

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