Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy V. Ferguson

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 5/3/2010
  • Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Pr

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Through a reexamination of the earliest struggles against Jim Crow, Blair Kelley exposes the fullness of African American efforts to resist the passage of segregation laws dividing trains and streetcars by race in the early Jim Crow era.Right to Ridechronicles the litigation and local organizing against segregated rails that led to thePlessy v. Fergusondecision in 1896 and the streetcar boycott movement waged in twenty-five southern cities from 1900 to 1907. Kelley tells the stories of the brave but little-known men and women who faced down the violence of lynching and urban race riots to contest segregation. Focusing on three key cities--New Orleans, Richmond, and Savannah--Kelley explores the community organizations that bound protestors together and the divisions of class, gender, and ambition that sometimes drove them apart. The book forces a reassessment of the timelines of the black freedom struggle, revealing that a period once dismissed as the age of accommodation should in fact be characterized as part of a history of protest and resistance.

Author Biography

Blair L. M. Kelley is associate professor of history at North Carolina State University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
New Yorkp. 15
The Antebellum Roots of Segregation and Dissent
The Color Line and the Ladies' Carp. 33
Segregation on Southern Rails before Plessy
Our People, Our Problem?p. 51
Plessy and the Divided New Orleans
Where Are Our Friends?p. 87
Crumbling Alliances and New Orleans Streetcar Boycott
Who's to Blame?p. 117
Maggie Lena Walker, John Mitchell Jr., and the Great Class Debate
Negroes Everywhere Are Walkingp. 139
Work, Women, and the Richmond Streetcar Boycott
Battling Jim Crow's Buzzardsp. 165
Betrayal and the Savannah Streetcar Boycott
Bend with Unabated Protestp. 195
On the Meaning of Failure
Notesp. 201
Bibliographyp. 233
Indexp. 247
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