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The Spirit and the ShotgunArmed Resistance and the Struggle for Civil Rights$
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Simon Wendt

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780813030180

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813030180.001.0001

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Black Self-Defense and the Emergence of Nonviolent Protest

Black Self-Defense and the Emergence of Nonviolent Protest

(p.8) 1 Black Self-Defense and the Emergence of Nonviolent Protest
The Spirit and the Shotgun

Simon Wendt

University Press of Florida

This chapter examines the relationship between racial violence, nonviolence, and gender by looking into the brutal history of the American South. The region’s violent nature stemmed from its longtime status as a frontier settlement as they battled with the various Native American tribes. Violence also became an important means of racial control. During the 1800s, plantation owners maintained their power over black slaves primarily through the threat of brutal punishment, suppressing any signs of unrest or rebellion. The Civil War marked the end of slavery, but white oppression continued as the government passed laws that mandated segregation. Alongside this was the terror posed by the Ku Klux Klan, who used lynching as a form of racial terror. Black self-defense became more than an attempt to protect one’s life. It also reflected black men’s determination to reclaim the respect denied them by whites.

Keywords:   American South, racial violence, nonviolence, gender, racial control, slavery, segregation, Ku Klux Klan

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