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December 7, 2009
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v2.1 Reference

Entangled by White Supremacy

Reform in World War I-era South Carolina

Despite its significance in world and American history, the World War I era is seldom identified as a turning point in southern history, as it failed to trigger substantial economic, political, or social change in the South. Yet in 1917, black and white reformers in South Carolina saw their world on the brink of momentous change. In a state politically controlled by a white minority, the war era incited oppositional movements. As South Carolina's economy benefited from the war, white reformers sought to use their newfound prosperity to better the state's education system and economy and to provide white citizens with a better standard of living. Black reformers, however, channeled the feelings of hope instilled by a war that would "make the world safe for democracy" into efforts that challenged the structures of the status quo. In Entangled by White Supremacy: Reform in World War I–era South Carolina, historian Janet G. Hudson examines the complex racial and social dynamics at play during this pivotal period of U.S. history. With critical study of the early war mobilization efforts, public policy debates, and the state's political culture, Hudson illustrates how the politics of white supremacy hindered the reform efforts of both white and black activists. The World War I period was a complicated time in South Carolina—an era of prosperity and hope as well as fear and anxiety. As African Americans sought to change the social order, white reformers confronted the realization that their newfound economic opportunities could also erode their control. Hudson details how white supremacy formed an impenetrable barrier to progress in the region. Entangled by White Supremacy explains why white southerners failed to construct a progressive society by revealing the incompatibility of white reformers' twin goals of maintaining white supremacy and achieving progressive reform. In addition, Hudson offers insight into the social history of South Carolina and the development of the state's crucial role in the civil rights era to come.

About the Author

Janet G. Hudson, assistant professor of history in the department of continuing education at the University of South Carolina, is the author of several articles on South Carolina history. This is her first book.


"Winner of the George C. Rogers Jr. Award."

"Entangled by White Supremacy" is a carefully researched and exhasutive work. Its writing is largely clear and the argumentation effective. The book is a worthy addition to the historiography of South Carolina politics." —Marko Maunula, Georgia Historical Quarterly"

"Returning to World War I-era South Carolina, historian Janet Hudson explores the complex nature of white supremacy and the impact of World War I on white supremacist organizing in South Carolina." —The University of Manchester"

"In this clear-eyed, carefully told, and compelling book, Janet Hudson adds a crucial early chapter to the long history of the civil rights movement and white resistance to change in the South.—Bryant Simon, author of A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948"

"Hudson's book is well written and it offers excellent insight into the complexities of white supremacy in World War I – era South Carolina." —North Carolina Historical Review"

"Entangled by White Supremacy takes a unique look at how the war reshaped social processes and the racial dynamic, and at the impact of the war on reform. I know of no other study that accomplishes these things in the existing literature."—William A. Link, Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History, University of Florida"

"Successfully brings to light new and valuable information on the challenges to reform in South Carolina." —Charles J. Holden, author of In the Great Maelstrom: Conservatives in Post-Civil War South Carolina"

"'Hudson tells an important story, albeit a story that is replicated in other southern states. The book is rich in detail, and the supporting documentation is strong." —Social & Behavioral Sciences"—

"Hudson's interesting book provides further examples of the power of localism to frustrate progressive reform in the early twentieth-century South." —American Historical Review"

"Entangle by White Supremacy is a clearly written and well-organized exploration of the politics of race in a state with a black majority. Like Frederick Olmsted and the rural sociologists of the early twentieth century, Hudson reminds us of the cost that society pays for the relentless subordination of any of its constituent parts." —The Journal of American History"

"Examines the opportunities for reform World War II created in South Carolina and the limits imposed by the dominant system of white supremacy.... Adds much to the historical debate and will help historians understand the efficacy of white supremacy in the New South."—Southern Historian"

""A serious contribution to the history of the Progressive Era South. The details derive from impressive research in state government files, period newspapers, and politicians' archived papers." —South Carolina Historical Magazine"—

9780813192932 : entangled-by-white-supremacy-hudson
Paperback / softback
400 Pages
$50.00 USD

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