Are Italians White? How Race is Made in America
This essay takes the Spring Valley, Illinois, race riot and observes how blacks, Italians, and other new immigrants attempted to empower themselves and lay claim to status at the "nadir" of race relations ill this country. The events leading up to the riot, the assault on the African-American community, and the aftermath of the attack led to vocal outcries against oppression. What constituted oppression, however, was open to interpretation. Furthermore, no group defined itself, or its other, in isolation. Rather, each side responded to the rhetoric of its "opponents" as well as of middle-class whites who became involved in the episode. The riot, then, became a type of social prism in which the meaning and consequences of racial prejudice refracted into clusters of nationality, ethnicity, and class.
Copyright © 2003 from Are Italians White? How Race is Made in America, by Jennifer Guglielmo, Salvatore Salerno, and David Roediger. Reproduced by permission of Taylor and Francis Group, a division of Informa plc. This material is strictly for personal use only. For any other use, the user must contact Taylor & Francis directly at this address: & Francis directly at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Printing, photocopying or sharing via any means is a violation of copyright.
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Place of Publication
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Merithew, Caroline Waldron, "Making the Italian Other: Blacks, Whites, and the In between in the 1895 Spring Valley, Illinois, Race Riot" (2003). History Faculty Publications. 104.
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