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THE SEXUALIZATION OF RECONSTRUCTION POLITICS - WHITE WOMEN AND BLACK-MEN IN THE SOUTH AFTER THE CIVIL-WAR,

THE SEXUALIZATION OF RECONSTRUCTION POLITICS - WHITE WOMEN AND BLACK-MEN IN THE SOUTH AFTER THE CIVIL-WAR

Hodes argues that there was considerable tolerance for white women having sexual liaisons with black men in antebellum times, due to a class ideology about the sexual depravity of white women outside the planter classes.

"Thus could white ideology about lower-class female sexuality overshadow ideas about the dangers of black male sexuality." p. 403

"The shift away from white toleration for sex between white women and black men accompanied the political transformations that came with the demise of racial slavery." p. 403

"The intertwining of sex and politics in the minds of white Southerners in the postemancipation South was betrayed throughout testimny taken for the congressional investigation of the Ku Klux Klan in 1871." p. 403

This article is excellent for supporting our points about theentangled nature of discourses of sex, race, class, and politics. She uses the congressional reports to demonstration conscious and unconscious conflations of sexual immorality and party politics, which often motivated KKK violence. Most interesting are her points about how sexual and political agency get equated.

"Ultimately, the Klan offered white Southerners a new language of sexualized politics..." p. 404

"...extreme white anxiety over sexual liaisons between white women and black men was linked to fears of black men's political and economic independence." p.407

"For white Southern men, then, the threat of black men's political power and its link to sexual transgressions with white women indicates the conflation in the minds of Klansmen and their supporters, of sexual immorality and party politics."

We might want to look into other writings of Martha Hode, in considering her as a historian to add to our Board. Also, it would be interested to track down the Congressional report on the KKK from 1871 and include a couple of the testimonies.

ELS