This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to show how North Carolina's black men and women were equally engaged in community-based activism during the Jim Crow era. Central to this investigation is an examination of men's appropriation of communal spaces — generally labeled public and private — to promote gendered agency, cooperation, and, at times, sexual dominance. The factors influencing the development of African-American gender identity are then discussed. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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