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Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  131 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Between 1880 and 1930, close to 200 women were murdered by lynch mobs in the American South. Many more were tarred and feathered, burned, whipped, or raped. In this brutal world of white supremacist politics and patriarchy, a world violently divided by race, gender, and class, black and white women defended themselves and challenged the male power brokers. Crystal Feimster ...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published November 23rd 2009 by Harvard University Press (first published 2009)
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4.24  · 
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 ·  131 ratings  ·  8 reviews

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Koritha Mitchell
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Southern Horrors is an engrossing history of women's activism in the United States. Using the lives of white southerner Rebecca Latimer Felton and black antilynching crusader Ida B. Wells as lenses, Feimster shows how our nation's "color line" has influenced women's political choices. Feimster demonstrates, for example, how white women in the South were empowered by pro-lynching rhetoric because it gave them ways to justify their political work, which would have otherwise been seen as inappropri ...more
Elevate Difference
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing

Southern Horrors explores the racial and sexual politics of the Post Civil War South predominantly through the political writings, speeches, and lives of two prominent female figures of the era. Feimster describes the period through Rebecca Latimer Felton, a white woman from the stately plantation class, educated and raised during antebellum south, and Ida B. Wells, a the daughter of former slaves, raised during the reconstruction era.

The author begins by describing the two women’s origins and h
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
An excellent portrayal of feminist activism along racial lines. The punishment of lynching is vindication for one and victimization for another. The issue of race between feminist movements is an understated problem in America - this work begins to question the nature of who and woman type of womanhood is the American ideal and why those persons of color who do not "fit" the ideal are relegated to the periphery and candidates for extermination.
Atif Taj
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
The life of first women senator Felton, even for a day, and Ida Be Wells was described in the intruenental and barbaric history of rape and lynching. Felton - a white woman - displayed the similar attitude common in today’s white woman. A racist and bigoted one towards people of not if its own race. She could see rape but her ideas evolved while being reversed as long as it syncs with current societal behavior. Ida B Wells was unsuccessful in legislating anti lynching in her life but her life lo ...more
Read for my us women's history class, and overall really enjoyed it. It's certainly a very depressing topic, but I liked how Feimster approached it by comparing the careers and views of Ida B. Wells and Rebecca Felton. If you're interested in an overlooked area of American history, I'd highly recommend this book--very well written and researched.
Andi Marquette
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-stuff
Feimster is a professor of history at Yale and fortunately for us, she chose that route instead of the legal profession (which she had been interested in when she entered college) because what books like hers force us to examine are the intersections of race, gender, class, and the use of rape as a tool of oppression.

"Southern Horrors" takes its name from civil rights and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and her 1892 anti-lynching pamphlet, "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Pha
Jason S
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very well written book that at times is really more a duel biography of Ida Wells and Rebecca Felton that comes back together at the end. Overall some very impactful chapters about the sexual nature of lynching.
Jen Well-Steered
Definitely not a fun summer beach read kind of book.
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