This land of barbarians
in A savage song
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This chapter examines the 1910 massacre of African Americans in Slocum, Texas, by a white mob who claimed to be preventing a murderous black uprising. It traces white Americans’ shifting justifications for lynching and racist terror from the end of the Civil War through the early twentieth century, when social scientists, political figures, and media presented white violence as a response to unspeakable “black crime.” Within this context, the chapter argues that even after the threat of black insurrection was dismissed, condemnations of the massacre were continually qualified through contemplations of the need for racial discipline and imagined black abnormality. In discourses of racist violence, images of white vulnerability were frequently intermixed with those of white wrath and power. Assertions of black innocence and violability likewise were continually shaded with assertion of black culpability.

A savage song

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


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