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White Women, Black Men
  • Jan 11, 1999
    352 p., 6 1/8 x 9 1/4

    ISBN: 9780300077506
  • Paper: $24.00 tx
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History
Social Science


White Women, Black Men

Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South

  • Martha Hodes
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Reviews

"As this fascinating and well-researched book makes clear . . . sexual liaisons between black men and white women prior to the Civil War were accepted, although not necessarily approved. . . . This is a great book for those interested in African American history, women's studies, the Civil War, or the history of race relations in the U.S."—Booklist

"Hodes provides the first real scholarly exploration of this important topic. . . . A brilliant work, imaginatively researched and well written. Highly recommended."—Library Journal

"[A] fascinating survey of interracial relationships in the South between the 1680s and the 1880s. . . . An enthralling book."—David Nicholson, Washington Post

"Hodes is courageous but not reckless in undertaking one of the few studies that have been made of the sexual relations between white women and black men in the South. . . . We are now most fortunate in having Hodes's very original, revealing, and important book on a neglected subject. It deserves a close and respectful reading, and many readers."—C. Vann Woodward, New York Review of Books

"The strength of White Women, Black Men is that it works on two levels. On one level it is a wide-ranging and carefully researched exploration of a subject ignored by scholars of the South for too long, namely sexual relationships between black men and white women. on another level it is a provocative study of changing power dynamics in the South, and the consequences for all Southerners, irrespective of race or gender."—Julie Winch, Women's Review of Books

"A remarkable book."—Julie Winch, Women’s Review of Books

"Martha Hodes's White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South presents a highly perceptive analysis of a controversial subject."—Fracois Furstenberg

"A fascinating and important contribution to the ongoing project of untangling this narrative of race and sex that has both excused and produced much violence and suffering. . . . It is enough, however, finally to have this account, both broad and wonderfully particular, about the relationships before and behind the myth."—Grace Elizabeth Hale, Journal of the Early Republic

"A rigorously researched yet accessible narrative about white reactions to sexual relationships between white women and black men throughout the nineteenth century."—Christie Franham, American Historical Review

"In this important and meticulously researched book, Martha Hodes recounts the history of nineteenth-century sexual relationships between white women and black men. . . . Hodes also goes beyond an examination of the specific liaisons referred to in her book's title: these sexual encounters, and the white response to them, provide a powerful vehicle for understanding the culture and politics of race in the nineteenth-century south. . . . Ultimately, she has crafted an absorbing and original account that makes important and telling observations about race, sex, and politics in the American South."—Nina Silber, Journal of American History

"Martha Hodes's investigation of sexual liaisons across the ‘color line’ in the South is a model of responsible, imaginative historical scholarship. In the manner of Woodward's The Strange Career of Jim Crow, her work shows that a subject, which was supposed to have no history, in fact has a very important one. My students seized upon her book both for its masterfully executed narratives and for its clarity of analysis, which illuminates, as well as any text I have assigned, how racial identities and boundaries in the nineteenth-century South were mutable, unstable fictions that were redrawn or even reinvented to preserve the preeminence of the dominant race and sex."—Woody Register, Director, American Studies Program, University of the South

"A brilliant work, imaginatively researched and well written."— Library Journal

"This is a great book for those interested in African American history, women's studies, and Civil War, or the history of race relations in the U.S."—Grace Fill, Booklist

"Hodes handles well the construction of sexual images of men and women of each race and class before and after the Civil War as well as the social and political uses to which those images were put."—Cathy Mason, In These Times

"This fascinating survey of interracial relationships in the South between the 1680s and the 1880s. . . Fascinating and as provocative. . . This is compelling stuff. . . This is an enthralling book!" —David Nicholson, Washington Post

"Martha Hodes. . . is courageous but not reckless in undertaking one of the few studies that have been made of the sexual relations between white women and black men in the South. . . Hodes’s searching study of sexual politics confirms and extends the findings of earlier scholars that white supremacy, in all its legal and institutional manifestations, became more rigid and punitive at the end of the century than at any other time since the Civil War. . . We are now most fortunate in having Hodes’s very original, revealing, and important book on a neglected subject. It deserves a close and respectful reading, and many readers."—C. Vann Woodward, New York Review

"[This book] presents a highly perceptive analysis of a controversial subject."—François Furstenberg, The Reader’s Catalog

"Hodes has added to our store of information on the subject in a field where documentation is rare and hard to find. . . . We are indebted to Hodes for her careful examination of these cases and for advancing a provocative thesis on the subject of sex between white women and black men in the South. . . . This important book deserves careful reading and should inspire additional research along the color line."—Mary Frances Berry, Journal of Southern History

"White Woman, Black Men is an important, insightful, and beautifully written contribution to the literatures on Reconstruction and the lynching era, the historical construction of racial categories, and the history of sexuality."—Ariela Gross, Law and History Review

"A fascinating and important book, a persuasive and insightful exploration of a volatile topic."—Edward L. Ayers, University of Virginia

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