The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America

The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America

by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674035976

ISBN-13: 9780674035973

Pub. Date: 02/15/2010

Publisher: Harvard University Press

"The Idea of Black Criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America. Khalil Gibran Muhammad chronicles how, when, and why modern notions of black people as an exceptionally dangerous race of criminals first emerged. Well known are the lynch mobs and racist criminal justice practices in the South that stoked white fears of black crime and shaped the

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Overview

"The Idea of Black Criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America. Khalil Gibran Muhammad chronicles how, when, and why modern notions of black people as an exceptionally dangerous race of criminals first emerged. Well known are the lynch mobs and racist criminal justice practices in the South that stoked white fears of black crime and shaped the contours of the New South. In this illuminating book, Muhammad shifts our attention to the urban North as a crucial but overlooked site for the production and dissemination of those ideas and practices." "Following the 1890 census - the first to measure the generation of African Americans born after slavery - crime statistics, new migration and immigration trends, and symbolic references to America as the promised land were woven into a cautionary tale about the exceptional threat black people posed to modern urban society. Excessive arrest rates and overrepresentation in northern prisons were seen by many whites - liberals and conservatives, northerners and southerners - as indisputable proof of blacks' inferiority. What else but pathology could explain black failure in the land of opportunity? Social scientists and reformers used crime statistics to mask and excuse anti-black racism, violence, and discrimination across the nation, especially in the urban North." The Condemnation of Blackness is the most thorough historical account of the enduring link between blackness and criminality in the making of modern urban America. It is a startling examination of why the echoes of America's Jim Crow past continue to resonate in "color-blind" crime rhetoric today.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674035973
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
02/15/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
392
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction The Mismeasure of Crime 1

1 Saving the Nation: The Racial Data Revolution and the Negro Problem 15

2 Writing Crime into Race: Racial Criminalization and the Dawn of Jim Crow 35

3 Incriminating Culture: The Limits of Racial Liberalism in the Progressive Era 88

4 Preventing Crime: White and Black Reformers in Philadelphia 146

5 Fighting Crime: Politics and Prejudice in the City of Brotherly Love 192

6 Policing Racism: Jim Crow Justice in the Urban North 226

Conclusion: The Conundrum of Criminality 269

Manuscript Sources 279

Notes 281

Acknowledgments 369

Index 375

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