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Unequal FreedomsEthnicity, Race, and White Supremacy in Civil War-Era Charleston$
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Jeff Strickland

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060798

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060798.001.0001

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The German Schuetzenfest and the Culture of White Supremacy

The German Schuetzenfest and the Culture of White Supremacy

Chapter:
(p.203) 6 The German Schuetzenfest and the Culture of White Supremacy
Source:
Unequal Freedoms
Author(s):

Jeff Strickland

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813060798.003.0007

The German Schuetzenfest was an important festival that combined German cultural traditions of sport-shooting, gymnastics, ballroom dancing, beer gardens, and various amusements. The festival was essential to the maintenance of German identity in the postwar period and especially following German unification in 1871. The chapter demonstrates that German business leaders organized the event not only as a cultural activity based upon their ethnic heritage, but also as an opportunity to showcase their business success. In 1868, Germans organized the first Schuetzenfest since the Civil War and mainly Germans attended the event. By 1871, Charlestonians of all races and ethnicities, including southern white elites, flocked to the Schuetzenfest and made it the largest recreational and social event of the year. African Americans, Germans, and white southern children competed with each other in the various amusements located on the Schuetzenplatz grounds. Germans invited rifle clubs from throughout the South and United States to participate though African American rifle clubs were excluded. Increasingly, native-born white rifle clubs formed or reformed, and they participated in the annual military parade that took place on the first day of the Schuetzenfest. In parading alongside white rifle clubs, the Germans revealed their support for white supremacy.

Keywords:   Schuetzenfest, German Unification, German American Culture, Parade Culture, White Supremacy, Rifle Clubs

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