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Writing ReconstructionRace, Gender, and Citizenship in the Postwar South$
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Sharon D. Kennedy-Nolle

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469621074

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621074.001.0001

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Sewing on the Badges of Servitude

Sewing on the Badges of Servitude

Albion Tourgée v. North Carolina

(p.76) Chapter 2 Sewing on the Badges of Servitude
Writing Reconstruction

Sharon D. Kennedy-Nolle

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter analyzes the novels of Albion Winegar Tourgée, who unlike Constance Woolson, was a leading actor in the Reconstruction’s violent drama as it played out. Being a combat veteran, a carpetbag jurist, and a politician, Tourgée’s commitment to social justice helped shape the course of the Reconstruction in the Second Military District. The chapter examines how Tourgée enabled many Americans, especially the freedpeople, to imagine a truly new birth of freedom. Throughout his works, he portrayed Reconstruction’s “incidents” in a way that would show the promise of citizenship for African Americans. His debut novel Toinette (1874) set forth Reconstruction themes that would become the basis of his later works. The novel dramatizes Reconstruction’s issues by focusing on the suffering of a freedwoman. Toinette serves as Tourgée’s most thorough exploration of the legal treatment of property rights and the issue of bodily ownership.

Keywords:   Albion Winegar Tourgée, Reconstruction, carpetbag jurist, Second Military District, freedpeople, African Americans, Toinette, property rights, bodily ownership

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