Lineaments of Wrath: Race, Violent Crime, and American Culture / Edition 1

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Violence has marked relations between blacks and whites in America for nearly four hundred years. In The Lineaments of Wrath, James W. Clarke draws upon behavioral science theory and primary historical evidence to examine and explain its causes and enduring consequences.

Beginning with slavery and concluding with the present, Clarke describes how the combined effects of state-sanctioned mob violence and the discriminatory administration of “race-blind” criminal and contract labor laws terrorized and immobilized the black population in the post-emancipation South. In this fashion an agricultural system, based on debt peonage and convict labor, quickly replaced slavery and remained the back-bone of the region’s economy well into the twentieth century.

Quoting the actual words of victims and witnesses—from former slaves to “gangsta” rappers—Clarke documents the erosion of black confidence in American criminal justice. In so doing, he also traces the evolution, across many generations, of a black subculture of violence, in which disputes are settled personally, and without recourse to the legal system. That subculture, the author concludes, accounts for historically high rates of black-on-black violence which now threatens to destroy the black inner city from within. The Lineaments of Wrath puts America’s race issues into a completely original historical perspective. Those in the fields of political science, sociology, history, psychology, public policy, race relations, and law will find Clarke’s work of profound importance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In this comprehensive, no-holds-barred study Clarke… reviews the history of race relations from slavery and Emancipation, the immediate post-Civil War period of Reconstruction to ‘Restoration’ and the emergence of Jim Crow segregation (what white southerners once called ‘Redemption’) to the ill-fated move to the dark ghettoes of the ‘Promised Land,’ the urban north.” —Peter Rose, Choice “Clarke combines statistical evidence and a careful appraisal of secondary sources with a sometimes grisly recounting of illustrative incidents to produce an impressive analysis of the political economy of four centuries of both random and systematic race-based violence and oppression.” —Gary Klass, Perspectives on Political Science “In this thoroughly researched and elegantly organised study, Professor James Clarke makes a significant contribution to understanding of the historical and political origins of race-based violence in the United States. In The Lineaments of Wrath, Clarke combines archival research with an impressive range of secondary sources to examine key aspects of contemporary violence in America. It is an extremely valuable piece of research.” —Desmond King, professor of politics, University of Oxford “The Lineaments of Wrath by James W. Clarke stunningly treats the mighty collision of four centuries of violent oppression of African Americans by white Americans with the current explosive subculture of black-ghetto violence. As no other scholar has done, Clarke explores the deep historical roots of our late-twentieth century crisis in American race relations—an urgent example of how the present must learn from the past to insure a future of peace and civility.” —Richard Maxwell Brown, professor of history, University of Oregon
Clarke (political science, U. of Arizona) draws on behavioral science theory and primary historical evidence to examine and explain violence in relations between blacks and whites in the US for nearly 400 years and counting. He argues that from the period of slavery to the present, state-sanctioned mob violence has combined with the discriminatory administration of supposedly race-blind criminal, contract, and labor law to terrorize and immobilize blacks in the post-emancipation South. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765808738
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 339
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James W. Clarke is University Distinguished Professor and professor of political science at the University of Arizona. He is the author of The Lineaments of Wrath: Race, Violent Crime, and American Culture (Transaction, 2001) and American Assassins: The Darker Side of Politics.

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Table of Contents

1 Violence Begets Violence 1
Pt. 1 Slavery
2 The Lineaments of Wrath 17
3 Scarred in the Flame of Withering Injustice 35
Pt. II Reconstruction
4 No More Auction Block 47
5 The Paradox of Emancipation 61
6 The Failure of Reform 77
7 KKK: The Assault on Black Families 93
Pt. III The Restoration
8 Convict Labor 109
9 A Lawless Loyalty to Color 127
10 The Scourge of Lynching 139
11 Segregation, Disfranchisement, and Legal 159
12 The Richest Soil, the Poorest People 177
Pt. IV The Urban Transformation
13 The Promised Land 193
14 Black-on-Black Homicide, 1900-1939 209
15 Dark Ghettos 227
16 Killing Fumes 239
Pt. V Consequences
17 Vanishing Families 249
18 Urban Tribal Societies 265
19 Conclusions 283
Selected Bibliography 299
Index 335
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