Without a tremor
in A savage song
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This chapter examines the multiple discourses of death and manhood that emerged around the military execution of thirteen black soldiers of the Twenty-Fourth Infantry in 1917. The presence of armed black soldiers in the nation’s uniform threatened to subvert the racial and gendered order of Jim Crow. Within this fraught context, the Twenty-Fourth’s attack on white policemen in Houston and their subsequent hanging provided a flexibly imagery for imagining black manhood. While African American writers invoked the soldiers’ manly death to denounce the racial order against which they had struck, the same imagery was used by the white press to subtly legitimize their punishment and obscure the intelligibility of black dissent.

A savage song

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


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