“White Women, Black Men”

“White Women, Black Men” focuses on the relationship between white women and black men from the antebellum era up till reconstruction. White women were not allowed to marry or have sexual encounters with black men. If a white woman had a child with a black man,  because of the one-drop rule, the child would be considered black and if the father was enslaved then the child would become enslaved too. Often the woman would become enslaved as well and be labeled a woman of “low character”. The Klu Klux Klan would often get involved if an interracial couple was outed. This often resulted in both the man and woman being beating to death or close to it. More vile acts happened as well that resulted in many black men murdered. If a white woman was caught with a black man she could say he raped her which would result in the case going to trial much like the plot of “To Kill a Mocking Bird”. Public lynchings were very popular around this time period. I believe that they were used as a fear tactic to dehumanize black men and scary them away from white women. I personally liked that the author included examples of scenarios with different couples such as Nell Butler and Charles in the 2nd chapter and Ida Abercrombie and Peter Stamps in the 8th chapter. Nell and Charles were married and this raised many eyebrows. Nell and Charles argued for freedom because Nell was a free woman but Charles was an enslaved man. Nell’s and Charles’ story crossed so many borders with race and the definition of free and enslaved. In the story of Ida and Peter, the two met up one night and seven months later Ida was pregnant. Allegedly Peter poisoned her right before his arrest and she passed within hours.  To me these were the most compelling stories because of the differences between them Nell and Charles were married and fought for their freedom as a couple, whereas Ida and Peter has a better representation of a possible fling gone wrong.