What blood won't tell: a history of race on trial in America

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Harvard University Press,
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Is race something we know when we see it? In 1857, Alexina Morrison, a slave in Louisiana, ran away from her master and surrendered herself to the parish jail for protection. Blue-eyed and blond, Morrison successfully convinced white society that she was one of them. When she sued for her freedom, witnesses assured the jury that she was white, and that they would have known if she had a drop of African blood. Morrison’s court trial—and many others over the last 150 years—involved high stakes: freedom, property, and civil rights. And they all turned on the question of racial identity.

Over the past two centuries, individuals and groups (among them Mexican Americans, Indians, Asian immigrants, and Melungeons) have fought to establish their whiteness in order to lay claim to full citizenship in local courtrooms, administrative and legislative hearings, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Like Morrison’s case, these trials have often turned less on legal definitions of race as percentages of blood or ancestry than on the way people presented themselves to society and demonstrated their moral and civic character.

Unearthing the legal history of racial identity, Ariela Gross’s book examines the paradoxical and often circular relationship of race and the perceived capacity for citizenship in American society. This book reminds us that the imaginary connection between racial identity and fitness for citizenship remains potent today and continues to impede racial justice and equality.

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Grouped Work ID 751cc9ac-b8d7-2096-7008-7daec6f26a73
full_title what blood won t tell a history of race on trial in america
author gross ariela julie
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:35AM

Solr Details

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author Gross, Ariela Julie.
author-letter Gross, Ariela Julie.
author_additional Ariela J. Gross.
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oclc (OCoLC)213385000
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physical x, 368 p. ; 24 cm.
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primary_isbn 9780674031302
publishDate 2008
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publisher Harvard University Press,
rating 2.5
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subject_facet United States -- Race relations
table_of_contents The common sense of race -- Performing whiteness -- Race as association -- Citizenship of the "little races" -- Black Indian identity in the allotment era -- From nation to race in Hawai'i -- Racial science, immigration, and the "white races" -- Mexican Americans and the "Caucasian cloak".
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title What blood won't tell : a history of race on trial in America
title_display What blood won't tell : a history of race on trial in America
title_full What blood won't tell : a history of race on trial in America / Ariela J. Gross
title_short What blood won't tell :
title_sort what blood won't tell a history of race on trial in america
title_sub a history of race on trial in America