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Author's Forum Presents The Jim Crow Routine: Everyday Performances of Race and the End of Segregation in Mississippi : A Conversation with Stephen Berrey and Angela Dillard

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
12:00 AM
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, 913 S. University, Library Gallery, #100

Today's book signing and sale courtesy of Barnes & Noble in the Michigan Union.

The South's system of Jim Crow racial oppression is usually understood in terms of legal segregation that mandated the separation of white and black Americans. Yet, as Stephen A. Berrey shows, it was also a high-stakes drama that played out in the routines of everyday life, where blacks and whites regularly interacted on sidewalks and buses and in businesses and homes. Every day, individuals made, unmade, and remade Jim Crow in how they played their racial roleshow they moved, talked, even gestured. The highly visible but often subtle nature of these interactions constituted the Jim Crow routine.

In this study of Mississippi race relations in the final decades of the Jim Crow era, Berrey argues that daily interactions between blacks and whites are central to understanding segregation and the racial system that followed it. Berrey shows how civil rights activism, African Americans' refusal to follow the Jim Crow script, and national perceptions of southern race relations led Mississippi segregationists to change tactics. No longer able to rely on the earlier routines, whites turned instead to less visible but equally insidious practices of violence, surveillance, and policing, rooted in a racially coded language of law and order. Reflecting broader national transformations, these practices laid the groundwork for a new era marked by black criminalization, mass incarceration, and a growing police presence in everyday life.
About the Author

Stephen A. Berrey is assistant professor of American culture and history at the University of Michigan. His research explores the relationship between racial practices and everyday culture in the twentieth-century U.S.

Angela D. Dillard is the Earl Lewis Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and in the Residential College. She specializes in American and African-American intellectual history, particularly around issues of race, religion and politics—on both the Left and the Right sides of the political spectrum.

The Author's Forum is a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, & Ann Arbor Book Festival.

Additional support for this event provided by the departments of Afroamerican and African History, American Culture, History, and the Residential College.