Abstract

In 1954, the Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education eradicated the “separate, but equal” mentality that confined African Americans to the menial state of oppression and exploitation that had plagued their people since they arrived in America. However, this decision did little to neutralize the proclivity to segregation nor did it quell the surmounting racial tensions between black people and the upper echelon of Southern society. Conversely, the federal mandate to integrate public schools roused white supremacists to interpose desegregation through resistance, violence, and fear-mongering propaganda. The most flagrant organization of white supremacists was known as the White Citizen’s Council, affectionately called the “Uptown Klan”, and was composed of the most powerful men in the South. The Council’s rhetoric to oppose integration was fixated on the possibility of a sexual relationship between black men and white women, which would lead to the “mongrelization” of society by creating a mixed population. They justified white supremacy by vilifying black men as “black beast rapists” who threatened the sanctity of white women. Contrary to the Council’s arguments, miscegenation was perpetuated in their society most often through white on black interracial rape, which was permissible by society and the legal system in the cases of Recy Taylor (1947) and Betty Jean Owens (1959). The black victims of rape were often exploited, discredited, and ostracized by the same white men who fought to maintain segregation to prevent black men from raping white women.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-11-2017

Mentor

Carolyn Renee Dupont

Department/Professional Affiliation

History

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level

Bachelor's

Department

History

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