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Beyond the Rope is an interdisciplinary study that draws on narrative theory and cultural studies methodologies to trace African Americans' changing attitudes and relationships to lynching over the twentieth century. Whereas African Americans are typically framed as victims of white lynch mob violence in both scholarly and public discourses, Karlos K. Hill reveals that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries African Americans lynched other African Americans in response to alleged criminality, and that twentieth-century black writers envisaged African American lynch victims as exemplars of heroic manhood. By illuminating the submerged histories of black vigilantism and consolidating narratives of lynching in African American literature that framed black victims of white lynch mob violence as heroic, Hill argues that rather than being static and one dimensional, African American attitudes towards lynching and the lynched black evolved in response to changing social and political contexts.Read more
- Argues that African American attitudes toward lynching and the lynched black body have evolved in relationship to changing social and political contexts
- Draws on a wide variety of sources, including literature and oral histories, to explain African Americans' evolving attitudes toward lynching
- Documents the understudied history of black vigilantism and its relationship to broader trends in US society
Reviews & endorsements
"In Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory, Karlos K. Hill powerfully contributes to the movement among historians to reconstruct counter narratives of lynchings told from the perspective of [a] variety of African American actors pursuing very different goals. Perhaps better than has been done before, Hill has historicized African American counter narratives of lynching, situating them within their sociohistorical context and drawing out their specific political objects."
Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua, University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignSee more reviews
"Taking to heart Stuart Hall's admonition that representation is a part of material reality and lived experience, this deeply thoughtful, richly documented, and theoretically sophisticated study breaks exciting new ground in the much-studied history of lynching. As importantly, it illuminates the ways in which agency and victimhood coexist in the African American past and in how black thinkers, performers, creative writers, activists, and family members have remembered and narrated the experience of terror."
David Roediger, Foundation Professor of American Studies and History, University of Kansas
"In Beyond the Rope, Karlos K. Hill mines diverse archival sources and deploys a multidisciplinary approach to reveal the complexity of African Americans' responses to lynching and mob violence. By simultaneously showing black people's victimization and strength, Hill illuminates artists' and activists' creation of a usable past of this violence, which was critical to black people's fight against it. This exciting and welcomed book is an important work … that will [appeal] to scholars interested in African American history and studies."
Kidada E. Williams, Wayne State University, Michigan
'This slim volume investigates a view of lynching that is seldom found in the literature. … The book is annotated and has a wide-ranging bibliography … Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.' T. F. Armstrong, Choice
'… a short but rich volume … Hill has opened up some new avenues of exploration … Beyond the Rope demands that we tell the story of lynching from a far broader perspective, for we cannot approach any semblance of truth otherwise.' Guy Lancaster, Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies
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- Date Published: July 2016
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107044135
- length: 156 pages
- dimensions: 216 x 140 x 11 mm
- weight: 0.34kg
- contains: 4 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Black vigilantism
2. Resisting lynching
3. If we must die
4. Remembering lynching
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