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Jim Crow CapitalWomen and Black Freedom Struggles in Washington, D.C., 1920-1945$
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Mary-Elizabeth B. Murphy

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469646725

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469646725.001.0001

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Jim Crow Capital

(p.1) Introduction
Jim Crow Capital

Mary-Elizabeth B. Murphy

University of North Carolina Press

This introduction contextualizes black women’s politics within the historical and social landscape of political culture in black Washington. While African American women’s political activism stretched back to the seventeenth century, it was during the 1920s and 1930s that their political campaigns gained more visibility, and Washington, D.C. was a key location for this process. Inspired by the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment and emboldened by World War I’s message of democracy, black women formed partisan organizations, testified in Congress, weighed in on legislation, staged protest parades, and lobbied politicians. But in addition to their formal political activities, black women also waged informal politics by expressing workplace resistance, self-defense toward violence, and performances of racial egalitarianism, democracy, and citizenship in a city that very often denied them all of these rights. Jim Crow Capital connects black women’s formal and informal politics to illustrate the complexity of their activism.

Keywords:   African American Women, political culture, congress, formal politics, informal politics, Washington, D.C

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