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Hostile HeartlandRacism, Repression, and Resistance in the Midwest$
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Brent M. S. Campney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042492

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042492.001.0001

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Black Families and Resistance in Kansas, 1880–1905

Black Families and Resistance in Kansas, 1880–1905

“There is nothing like reputation”

(p.74) 4 Black Families and Resistance in Kansas, 1880–1905
Hostile Heartland

Brent M. S. Campney

University of Illinois Press

Pioneering a new methodology, this chapter shows that whites targeted particular black families for disproportionate racist violence, justifying it through a complicit press that circulated defamatory stories designed to create negative reputations about them and through a criminal justice system that hounded them. It challenges the contemporary white-authored narrative by demonstrating that whites targeted these families not because of their “bad character” but because of their refusal to submit to white supremacy. Investigating sources centered on Kansas and its border states over several decades, this study demonstrates that historians may unearth more credible stories about these families and their experiences. In the final section, the chapter assesses the significance of this methodology for the scholarship on black resistance and border studies.

Keywords:   black families, racist violence, negative reputations, white-authored narrative, white supremacy, black resistance, border studies

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