Massive Resistance and Southern Womanhood

White Women, Class, and Segregation

Title Details

Illustrations: 6 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in

Formats

Paperback

Pub Date: 01/01/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5862-8

List Price: $32.95

Hardcover

Pub Date: 01/01/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5835-2

List Price: $114.95

Massive Resistance and Southern Womanhood

White Women, Class, and Segregation

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Massive Resistance and Southern Womanhood offers a comparative sociocultural and spatial history of white supremacist women who were active in segregationist grassroots activism in Little Rock, New Orleans, and Charleston from the late 1940s to the late 1960s. Through her examination, Rebecca Brückmann uncovers and evaluates the roles, actions, self-understandings, and media representations of segregationist women in massive resistance in urban and metropolitan settings.

Brückmann argues that white women were motivated by an everyday culture of white supremacy, and they created performative spaces for their segregationist agitation in the public sphere to legitimize their actions. While other studies of mass resistance have focused on maternalism, Brückmann shows that women's invocation of motherhood was varied and primarily served as a tactical tool to continuously expand these women's spaces. Through this examination she differentiates the circumstances, tactics, and representations used in the creation of performative spaces by working-class, middle-class, and elite women engaged in massive resistance. Brückmann focuses on the transgressive "street politics" of working-class female activists in Little Rock and New Orleans that contrasted with the more traditional political actions of segregationist, middle-class, and elite women in Charleston, who aligned white supremacist agitation with long-standing experience in conservative women's clubs, including the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Working-class women's groups chose consciously transgressive strategies, including violence, to elicit shock value and create states of emergency to further legitimize their actions and push for white supremacy.

Brückmann shows the persistence of white supremacist culture and emphasizes how it is deeply embedded in gender and class expectations. Massive Resistance and Southern Womanhood demonstrates that race, gender, and class analysis combined provides a richer, more complex view of the Civil Rights era and the book is an important addition to scholarship of the segregation era.

—Carol Grose, U.S. Studies Online

About the Author/Editor

Rebecca Brückmann is an assistant professor of history at Ruhr University, Bochum.