'Lynch-law Must Go!': Race, Citizenship, and the Other in an American Coal Mining Town
Journal of American Ethnic History
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.
Copyright © 2000, University of Illinois Press
University of Illinois Press
Merithew, Caroline Waldron, "'Lynch-law Must Go!': Race, Citizenship, and the Other in an American Coal Mining Town" (2000). History Faculty Publications. 52.