Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in by Tameka Bradley Hobbs

By Tameka Bradley Hobbs

“Hobbs finds 4 lynchings which are severe to the certainty of the origins of civil rights in Florida. The oral histories from the sufferers’ households and people within the groups make this a necessary contribution to African American, Florida, and civil rights history.”—Derrick E. White, writer of The problem of Blackness
“A compelling reminder of simply how troubling and violent the light State’s racial earlier has been. A needs to read.”—Irvin D.S. Winsboro, editor of Old South, New South, or Down South?
Florida is usually seen as an extraordinary southern state—more innovative and culturally diverse—but, whilst tested in share to the variety of African American citizens, it suffered extra lynchings than any of its Deep South pals in the course of the Jim Crow era.
Investigating this darkish interval of the state’s background and concentrating on a rash of anti-black violence that happened through the Forties, Tameka Hobbs explores the explanations why lynchings persisted in Florida once they have been beginning to wane somewhere else. She contextualizes the murders in the period of worldwide warfare II, contrasting the will of the U.S. to broadcast the advantages of its democracy in a foreign country whereas at domestic it struggled to supply criminal safeguard to its African American citizens.
As involvement within the international conflict deepened and rhetoric opposed to Axis powers heightened, the nation’s leaders grew to become more and more conscious of the blemish left through extralegal violence on America’s attractiveness. finally, Hobbs argues, the overseas implications of those 4 murders, besides different antiblack violence round the state, elevated strain not just on public officers in Florida to guard the civil rights of African american citizens within the kingdom but additionally at the federal executive to develop into extra energetic in prosecuting racial violence. 

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In the private sector, the war meant more defense industry contracts and new job opportunities. The demographic changes were just as radical, with the state’s population nearly doubling over the course of the 1940s, as well as the concomitant shift from rural areas to Florida’s cities. ”70 The United States ironically sought to fight a war for democracy using a Jim Crow army. Military bases became the sites of explosive confrontations between blacks and whites, as African Americans from the North were forced to contend with segregation both on and off base.

Each incident elicited varied responses of the local, state, and federal government, as well as the American public. S. war aims. Shifting priorities at the national level, especially achieving the moral authority necessary to command respect abroad, demanded that America directly address the issue of civil rights for all Americans. As a result, public servants and politicians attempted to balance the traditional acceptance of lynching and black oppression with the fascism the United States fought against in World War II.

During the first three decades of the twentieth century, Florida and other southern states contended with a massive out-migration of blacks from the region in pursuit of better jobs and an improved way of life in the North, destabilizing the South’s main source of cheap labor. For those blacks who remained in the South, implementation of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) negatively impacted many black sharecroppers, displacing them and making them more vulnerable 22 Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home to exploitation.

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