<p>Abstract:</p><p>This article examines the 1913 investigation into the reform practices of the all-white Virginia Home and Industrial School for Girls. Fueled by rumors of hard labor performed by inmates under the supervision of an African American man, this incident reveals the complexities in how progressive reformers constructed and managed Virginiaâs âgirl problemâ within an environment of paternalism, class rule, and white supremacy. In defense of their program, reformatory staff testified that certain outsidersâall of them white, male laborersâhad attempted to âinterfereâ with the girls incarcerated inside. The interlocking dynamics of gender, race, and class that emerged reveal a rare moment of discussion over the need for social control legislation targeting white, working-class men. Thus, the investigation and its aftermath indicate that it took a public race scandal to attempt to establish the limits of white menâs sexual access to young women.</p>
Southern Cultures – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jul 10, 2019
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