Cover for WOOD & RING, EDS.: Crime and Punishment in the Jim Crow South. Click for larger image

Crime and Punishment in the Jim Crow South

The history of white supremacy and criminal justice

Policing, incarceration, capital punishment: these forms of crime control were crucial elements of Jim Crow regimes. White southerners relied on them to assert and maintain racial power, which led to the growth of modern state bureaucracies that eclipsed traditions of local sovereignty. Friction between the demands of white supremacy and white southern suspicions of state power created a distinctive criminal justice system in the South, elements of which are still apparent today across the United States.

In this collection, Amy Louise Wood and Natalie J. Ring present nine groundbreaking essays about the carceral system and its development over time. Topics range from activism against police brutality to the peculiar path of southern prison reform to the fraught introduction of the electric chair. The essays tell nuanced stories of rapidly changing state institutions, political leaders who sought to manage them, and African Americans who appealed to the regulatory state to protect their rights.

Contributors: Pippa Holloway, Tammy Ingram, Brandon T. Jett, Seth Kotch, Talitha L. LeFlouria, Vivien Miller, Silvan Niedermeier, K. Stephen Prince, and Amy Louise Wood

"Thoroughly researched, cogently argued, and well written. With its judicious blend of established and rising young scholars working at the cutting-edge of carceral studies, this breaks new ground."--Claudrena N. Harold, author of The Rise and Fall of the Garvey Movement in the Urban South, 19181942


Amy Louise Wood is a professor of history at Illinois State University. She is the author of Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 18901940. Natalie J. Ring is an associate professor of history at University of Texas at Dallas. She is the author of The Problem South: Region, Empire, and the New Liberal State, 18801930.

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