Legal segregation: racial violence and the long term implications
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This thesis explores the research questions: How did African Americans cope with the oppressive system of legal segregation? How did they survive and raise their families? What were African AmericansÃ¢ÂÂ everyday interactions with whites like during legal segregation? What coping and resistance strategies did they utilize to survive? Using case studies from nearly 100 in-depth interviews with elderly African Americans between the ages of 50-90 in the Southeast and Southwest, I use qualitative methods to detail and analyze the experiences of elderly African Americans. This thesis explores how the exploitation and oppression of African Americans during legal segregation were enshrined by means of racial violence and discrimination in every aspect of American society. Much of the racial violence was legitimized and essential to the routine operation of legal segregation in the United States. Building on the work of Jackman(2002), Blee(2005), and Feagin (2006) for this thesis, I conceptualize racial violence as physical violence, written violence, and/or spoken violence, including being called Ã¢ÂÂnigger,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂboy,Ã¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂuncle.Ã¢ÂÂ The racial violence can be individual or collective which, intentionally or unintentionally, inflicts or threatens to inflict physical, psychological, social, or material injury on African Americans who often resist. In addition, the racial violence can occur in any public or private geographical location including, the street, workplace, and home. Lastly, an individual does not have to witness or personally experience the racial violence to be psychologically injured or affected by it. During legal segregation the respondents faced actual everyday racial violence or the threat of racial violence in the form of lynchings, sexual abuse, house burnings, imprisonment, rape, and being incessantly called Ã¢ÂÂnigger.Ã¢ÂÂ I argue that the psychological traumatic experiences of fear, anxiety, stress, anguish, humiliation, stigmatization and shame can affect a personÃ¢ÂÂs life for a very long time. Every one of these injuries is apparent in the interviews with elderly African Americans who survived legal segregation. Thus, I suggest the important idea of a Ã¢ÂÂsegregation stress syndrome,Ã¢ÂÂ for the chronic, enduring, extremely painful responses to official segregation that are indicated by the respondents.
Thompson-Miller, Ruth K. (2003). Legal segregation: racial violence and the long term implications. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from