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FJI Author Series: Threatening Property
Friday, September 20, 2019 | 1:00pm - 3:00pm UTC
A Reading Discussion and Lunch for Judges with the Author, Elizabeth A. Herbin-Triant
From the Publisher: “White supremacists determined what African Americans could do and where they could go in the Jim Crow South, but they were less successful in deciding where black people could live because different groups of white supremacists did not agree on the question of residential segregation. In Threatening Property, Elizabeth A. Herbin-Triant investigates early-twentieth-century campaigns for residential segregation laws in North Carolina to show how the version of white supremacy supported by middle-class white people differed from that supported by the elites. Class divides prevented Jim Crow from expanding to the extent that it would require separate neighborhoods for black and white southerners as in apartheid South Africa.
Herbin-Triant details the backlash against the economic successes of African Americans among middle-class whites, who claimed that they wished to protect property values and so campaigned for residential segregation laws both in the city and the countryside, where their actions were modeled on South Africa’s Natives Land Act. White elites blocked these efforts, primarily because it was against their financial interest to remove the black workers that they employed in their homes, farms, and factories. Herbin-Triant explores what the split over residential segregation laws reveals about competing versions of white supremacy and about the position of middling whites in a region dominated by elite planters and businessmen. An illuminating work of social and political history, Threatening Property puts class front and center in explaining conflict over the expansion of segregation laws into private property.”
Elizabeth Herbin-Triant is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is a United States historian with particular interests in the South and African-American history. Her book, Threatening Property: Race, Class, and Campaigns to Legislate Jim Crow Neighborhoods, was published by Columbia University Press in the spring of 2019 in the series Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism. Herbin-Triant’s essays have appeared in publications including The Washington Post, The Journal of Southern History, and Agricultural History.
Please note: Program participants will have the opportunity to read and discuss Threatening Property with the author in an informal round table setting. Participation will be limited, so please register early. A complimentary copy of the book will be mailed to you. Lunch will be available at the program.