Why whites riot: the race riot narrative and demonstrations of nineteenth century black citizenship

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ebone McFarland (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Mark Rifkin

Abstract: Why Whites Riot: The Race Riot Narrative and Demonstrations of Nineteenth Century Black Citizenship examines the Philadelphia riots between 1834 and 1849 and the Wilmington 1898 riot to explore how black fiction counters white explanations of race riots. White newspaper reports of race riots have historically depicted blacks as the oppressors and whites as victims, but black fiction illustrates race riots as white onslaughts against blacks who suffer the brunt of injuries, typically involving physical injury or property destruction. Particular narratives in the black literary tradition are uniquely constructed around race riots, offering it as a lens through which readers can examine the ways black intellectuals challenge dominant narratives on race riots and specifically the ways they theorize the relation between violence, "race," property, and citizenship. I figure race riot narratives as particularly distinguished by their rhetorical aims to contest black substantive citizenship as untenable and by their exposure of white violent social practices as evidence of white fear of black social, political, and economic power. In this thesis, I examine The Garies and Their Friends and Charles Chesnutt's The Marrow of Tradition as two defining texts of the race riot narrative genre. These texts demonstrate how the black domestic/public space serves as a signifier for the social, economic, and political privileges of substantive citizenship. The black domestic space, then, becomes important to understanding why black property ownership threatens whites, and in particular, why whites riot.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
19th century, Whites, Blacks, Riot, Philadelphia
Race riots $z Pennsylvania $z Philadelphia $y 19th century
Race riots $z North Carolina $z Wilmington $y 19th century
Race relations in literature
Racism in literature
Chesnutt, Charles Waddell, $d 1858-1932. $t The marrow of tradition
Webb, Frank J. $t The Garies and their friends

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