Driven by economics and the forces of history, the Italian, Irish, and Czech immigrants to this rich agricultural region were faced with the necessity of figuring out where they fit in a culture that had essentially two categories: white and black. In many ways, the newcomers realized, they belonged in neither position.
In the end, they found ways to resolve the ambiguity by taking advantage of and sometimes participating directly in the South’s most brutal form of racial domination. For each of the immigrant groups caught up in the violence, the deaths of black men helped to establish racial identity and to bestow the all-important privileges of whiteness.
This compelling and superbly written study will appeal to students and scholars of social and racial history, both regional and national.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press