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In the Shadow of the Gallows: Race, Crime, and American Civic Identity by Jeannine Marie DeLombard (review)

In the Shadow of the Gallows: Race, Crime, and American Civic Identity by Jeannine Marie... REVIEWS She is focused on how black middle-class discourse fused personal behavior with activism, and the goals of that fusion. On occasion this focus may obscure alternate readings, such as how some black women may have challenged black writers' gendered impositions. For instance, Ball sees Harriet Jacobs's narrative as dovetailing with black conduct discourse, and reads Jacobs's statement that ``the slave woman ought not to be judged by the same standard as others'' as a critique of slavery. However, as Ball notes, the context was Jacobs's plea for pardon for escaping rape by engaging in sexual relations with a ``safer'' white man. Jacobs's statement could easily be read as a rebuke of some black conduct discourse that expected enslaved women to maintain fidelity to northern black elite ideals of virtuousness. What black conduct discourse meant to black women, particularly those who escaped slavery, may merit greater consideration. That critique notwithstanding, Erica Ball has produced a strong, innovative, and valuable contribution to the historiography of black activism and the black middle class. Sc ott H anc ock is an associate professor of history and Africana studies at Gettysburg College. He is currently researching how escaping slaves in the antebellum http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

In the Shadow of the Gallows: Race, Crime, and American Civic Identity by Jeannine Marie DeLombard (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 33 (3) – Jul 5, 2013

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
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Abstract

REVIEWS She is focused on how black middle-class discourse fused personal behavior with activism, and the goals of that fusion. On occasion this focus may obscure alternate readings, such as how some black women may have challenged black writers' gendered impositions. For instance, Ball sees Harriet Jacobs's narrative as dovetailing with black conduct discourse, and reads Jacobs's statement that ``the slave woman ought not to be judged by the same standard as others'' as a critique of slavery. However, as Ball notes, the context was Jacobs's plea for pardon for escaping rape by engaging in sexual relations with a ``safer'' white man. Jacobs's statement could easily be read as a rebuke of some black conduct discourse that expected enslaved women to maintain fidelity to northern black elite ideals of virtuousness. What black conduct discourse meant to black women, particularly those who escaped slavery, may merit greater consideration. That critique notwithstanding, Erica Ball has produced a strong, innovative, and valuable contribution to the historiography of black activism and the black middle class. Sc ott H anc ock is an associate professor of history and Africana studies at Gettysburg College. He is currently researching how escaping slaves in the antebellum

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Jul 5, 2013

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