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Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson / Edition 1

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Overview

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 Ride chronicles the litigation and local organizing against segregated rails that led to the Plessy v. Ferguson decision 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The first comprehensive study of the streetcar boycott movement. . . . An important contribution to our understanding of the long Civil Rights Movement and may be the first author to place its origin in the antebellum North. . . . Exceptional, clear and persuasive. . . . Compelling and fresh. This book and its arguments will be around for a long time and will be the foundations of future studies of segregation and transportation for years to come.--Left History

Blair L. M. Kelley's remarkable monograph is the first book on the initial black resistance to laws segregating trains and streetcars. . . . Kelley has constructed detailed case studies. . . . Gives valuable new insight into the character of the 'nadir' generation.--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

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Product Details

Meet the Author

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

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 New York 15

The Antebellum Roots of Segregation and Dissent

2 The Color Line and the Ladies' Car 33

Segregation on Southern Rails before Plessy

3 Our People, Our Problem? 51

Plessy and the Divided New Orleans

4 Where Are Our Friends? 87

Crumbling Alliances and New Orleans Streetcar Boycott

5 Who's to Blame? 117

Maggie Lena Walker, John Mitchell Jr., and the Great Class Debate

6 Negroes Everywhere Are Walking 139

Work, Women, and the Richmond Streetcar Boycott

7 Battling Jim Crow's Buzzards 165

Betrayal and the Savannah Streetcar Boycott

8 Bend with Unabated Protest 195

On the Meaning of Failure

Notes 201

Bibliography 233

Index 247

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2011

    HIghly Recommended

    I enjoyed every page of it! Very talented writer/historian for sure!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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