40 pages 1 hour read

C. Vann Woodward

The Strange Career of Jim Crow

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1955

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Chapter 3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 3 Summary: “Capitulation to Racism”

Chapter 3 describes a “cumulative weakening of resistance to racism” (131) across the United States in the last decades of the 19th century. In particular, Woodward highlights a series of decisions by the US Supreme Court between 1873 and 1898; the racial justifications of American imperialism in the Philippines, Hawaii, and Cuba; and a growing acceptance of racism as a doctrine. This national shift coincided with internal resistance to racism relaxing in the South. Political parties gradually moved away from supporting African Americans. The conservatives—with their paternalistic support of African Americans—were weakened by financial scandals and an economic depression. As a result, the conservatives “raised the cry of ‘Negro domination’ and white supremacy” (144). The Populists also moved away from their appeal to class coalition across races. A combination of economic, political, and social crises in the South in this period “was the perfect cultural seedbed for aggression against the minority race” (147). In this polarized climate a scapegoat was needed, and “permissions-to-hate” African Americans became widely accepted (148).

The bitter divides between white conservatives and radicals in the South was not easily fixed. Woodward writes, “the only formula powerful enough to accomplish that was the magical formula of white supremacy” (150).

Related Titles

By C. Vann Woodward

SuperSummary Logo
Plot Summary
C. Vann Woodward
Guide cover placeholder