338 � JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Summer 2015) presentation of the owners’ worldview than one negotiated between them and the poorer white men they accommodated over time through cheaper admission and breeding fees, access to previously exclusive grandstands, and other incentives. Of course, this long history of elite white men negotiating with poorer white men to promote racial unity over class animosity is itself hardly new. But, combined with well- documented growing concerns about white masculinity in the late nine- teenth century, the commercial realities that drove this constant negotia- tion at the track indicate a broad public pressure to segregate that could explain why owners agreed to undo the old system. In the end, then, Race Horse Men is an engaging and persuasive story about how slavery and freedom were made at the racetrack. But with a bit more context about the audience for racing, it could have better explained how black horsemen’s freedom was ultimately unmade. Kenneth Cohen is associate professor of history at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He has authored articles about racing in JER, Common- Place, and the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, and is cur- rently completing a book-length history about
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Apr 29, 2015
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