History Faculty Publications

Title

'Lynch-law Must Go!': Race, Citizenship, and the Other in an American Coal Mining Town

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2000

Publication Source

Journal of American Ethnic History

Abstract

My analysis extends recent scholarship which has begun to periodize the formation of white racial consciousness and citizenship. James Barrett and David Roediger, in their article, "Inbetween Peoples," show that the years between the 1890s and the 1920s marked a transitional moment in the process of racial formation.

This article focuses on the early part of that period to illustrate that the inbetween identity of ethnic groups was shaped, not only by whites who contested immigrants' racial status, but also by blacks who tried, in their battle for justice, to shift focus from racialization to citizenship.

Motivated by the ideal of whiteness, new immigrants, from a number of different nationalities, forged a common identity. Simultaneously, blacks tapped into United States-born whites' loathing for southern and eastern Europeans, thus cultivating ties with those who held power in the county. Again, becoming white and becom ing American were closely connected but they were not inseparable in Illinois' coalfields.

Ultimately, then, the relationship between race and citizenship was contingent on local conditions. In 1895, African Ameri can residents, successfully sought justice in the courts while new ethnics continued to grasp at white identity.

Inclusive pages

50-77

ISBN/ISSN

0278-5927

Comments

Permission documentation is on file.

Publisher

University of Illinois Press

Volume

20

Issue

1

Peer Reviewed

yes