Roots of Disorder: Race and Criminal Justice in the American South, 1817-80
- List Price: $45.00
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: University of Illinois Press
- Publish date: 01/01/2007
Every white southerner understood what keeping African Americans "down" meant and what it did not mean. It did not mean going to court; it did not mean relying on the law. It meant vigilante violence and lynching.
Looking at Vicksburg, Mississippi, Roots of Disorder traces the origins of these terrible attitudes to the day-to-day operations of local courts. In Vicksburg, white exploitation of black labor through slavery evolved into efforts to use the law to define blacks' place in society, setting the stage for widespread tolerance of brutal vigilantism. Fed by racism and economics, whites' extralegal violence grew in a hothouse of more general hostility toward law and courts. Roots of Disorder shows how the criminal justice system itself plays a role in shaping the attitudes that encourage vigilantism.