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All Bound Up TogetherThe Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900$
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Martha S. Jones

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831526

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888902_jones

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Too Much Useless Male Timber

Too Much Useless Male Timber

The Nadir, the Woman's Era, and the Question of Women's Ordination

(p.173) 6 Too Much Useless Male Timber
All Bound Up Together

Martha S. Jones

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter is framed by both the “nadir” of race relations and the “woman's era. ” The tensions between these companion points of view on the 1890s led to new confrontations over gender and power. In churches, male activists looked to regain the measure of public authority they had formerly exercised in the political realm. Women's ambitions were once again tied to broader trends. The victories won in the preceding decades would come under assault, while their remaining aspirations, such as ordination to the ministry, would be thwarted as the optimism of Reconstruction was replaced by the disappointments of Jim Crow. Once again, ideas about manhood and womanhood were being constructed in relation to one another, and while men aggressively debated the woman question, they revealed their new anxieties about the nature of manhood in a world shaped by disfranchisement, segregation, and violence.

Keywords:   nadir, race relations, woman's era, male activists, public authority, political realm

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