The Rural Face of White Supremacy
Beyond Jim Crow
Awards and Recognition:
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2006.
The surprising realities of rural race relations during the Jim Crow era
Mark Schultz entered rural Hancock County expecting to confirm the standard expectations about race relations in the South, an area characterized by frequent lynchings, systematic segregation, and universal black poverty. What he found undermined and confounded his sweeping assumptions about the ostensibly "solid" South.
The Rural Face of White Supremacy is a detailed study of the daily experiences of ordinary people in rural Hancock County, Georgia. Drawing on his own interviews with over two hundred black and white residents, Schultz depicts the rhythms of work, social interaction, violence, power, and paternalism in a setting much different from the more widely studied postbellum urban South.
By acting on the basis of personal rather than institutional relationships, Schultz argues, Hancock County residents experienced more fluid interactions and more freedom than their urban counterparts had. This freedom created a space for interracial relationships that included mixed housing, midwifery, church services, meals, and even common-law marriages.
These relationships were both intimate and hierarchical and marked by personal, sexual, and economic violence; more important, they were far more complex than the conveniently efficient and modern ideal of Jim Crow.
"The Rural Face of White Supremacy presents an unusually rich and dense portrait. . . . Schultz's compelling, detailed account illuminates the basic fact of southern history: the two races have always been inextricably bound together."--The Atlantic Monthly
"Historians and general readers will profit from this rich work. Essential."--Choice
"Throughout this detailed portrait of the mechanisms of white control in rural Georgia, Schultz offers his reader many excellent stories. Working so much from primary sources and oral interviews, he is able to present interesting, heartrending, and often funny accounts to demonstrate the nuanced nature of black/white relations."--Claire Strom, H-South, H-Net Reviews
"The Rural Face of White Supremacy is part of a growing and important body of literature that complicates our understanding of the Jim Crow South, reminding us that the 'Solid South' was never quite so solid."--Agricultural History
"This book will be useful for scholars and students alike. It clearly suggests that the South is really many Souths and that the time has come for more nuanced and perceptive studies of the region."--The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"This pioneering work deserves to be read by every college student."--Journal of Southern History
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