Imagining slaves and sovereigns
in A savage song
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This chapter examines the constellation of ideas about race, manhood, resistance and violence that shaped the transnational social landscape in which anti-black and anti-Mexican violence unfolded in the 1910s. it examines how a range of white American, African American and Mexican political figures, activists, racial theorists and scholars interpreted the New World histories of slavery and conquest. While the black and Mexican writers and political actors whose ideas are considered here offered their own narratives of New World history diametrically opposed to those which claimed the supremacy of white U.S. civilization, they also perceived struggles for freedom, social transformation and nationhood through a masculinist frame. The chapter will examine how such discourses of manhood and virility permeated the politics of resistance against U.S. violence, imperialism and Mexican dictatorship, as I will begin to examine here, in African Americans’ anti-lynching activism and the Mexican anarchist movement in the borderlands. I will pay particular attention to how the history of slavery in the Americas shaped constructions of gender, race and historical struggle.

A savage song

Racist violence and armed resistance in the early twentieth-century U.S.–Mexico borderlands


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