Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Negotiated Affections: Prostitution in Mobile from 1702-1920
by Christopher, Raven, M.A., University of South Alabama, 2017, 115; 10267027
Abstract (Summary)

In 1888, Mobile city officials created a district where prostitution was legally tolerated. This thesis explores the influence of Mobile’s development on the rise of prostitution leading to the creation of the restricted district, including the French policy of importing women and prostitutes to build the colony, the city’s role as a military post during French, British and Spanish colonization, its prosperity during the antebellum period as a major cotton exporter, and its role as a military headquarters during the Civil War. In response to Mobile’s growing number of prostitutes and the national trend of segregating the “necessary evil” from daily life, Mobile created its restricted district. Over the next thirty years, the district served as a temporary home for hundreds of young, single, and childless southern women. Many of these women left prostitution after they married, moved with family, or found other means of support. In general, Mobilians supported the segregation of prostitution. The district was only closed after it interfered with the potential business from military contracts during World War One. An online exhibit was created as the public history component of this thesis to teach the public about the development of prostitution in Mobile, the geographic and demographic characteristics of the restricted district, and about the women who worked within it.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hamilton, Marsha L.
Commitee: Brazy, Martha J., DeVore, Donald E., Waselkov, Greg A.
School: University of South Alabama
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Alabama
Source: MAI 56/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, History
Keywords: Alabama, Mobile, Prostitution, Red-light district
Publication Number: 10267027
ISBN: 9781369707588
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