Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Two trains running: Capture and escape in the racialized train cars of the Jim Crow South, 1893–1930
by Robinson, Raleigh Mixon, M.A., The University of Mississippi, 2012, 114; 1515338
Abstract (Summary)

The role of the railroad in the modern American experience—and its role in making that experience modern—cannot be overstated. This thesis proposes to tell one of many possible railroad stories. By focusing on the historical and cultural relevance of a series of bodies in transit, I examine the implementation of railroad segregation law and the response by African-American performers. The thesis begins at the end of the nineteenth century with the Homer Plessy test case and continues across three decades, meeting along the way novelists Charles Chesnutt and James Weldon Johnson and musicians W. C. Handy, Henry "Ragtime Texas" Thomas, and Honeyboy Edwards. I find that by studying the train scenes and train sounds produced by these black men under the constraints of the Jim Crow South, we might come to a better understanding of the role of the railroad in American life, the role of segregation law in southern life, and the role of train experience in the expression of protest escaping from an African-American community caught in its "nadir."

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Watson, Jay
Commitee: Gussow, Adam, McKee, Kathryn
School: The University of Mississippi
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Mississippi
Source: MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: African American Studies, American studies, American history, American literature
Keywords: Chesnutt, Charles, Handy, W.C., Johnson, James Weldon, Modernism, Railroads, Thomas, Henry
Publication Number: 1515338
ISBN: 978-1-267-49650-8
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