Gender Matters pp 177-192 | Cite as

Love, Hate, Rape, Lynching: Rebecca Latimer Felton and the Gender Politics of Racial Violence

  • LeeAnn Whites


In the long, hot summer of 1897, the headlines of the southern press screamed out the news of seemingly ever escalating incidents of violence, mayhem, and race hatred. Front-page headlines of the Atlanta Constitution read, “In Hot Pursuit. Clayton County Men Will Lynch. The Negro Is Caught.” The Atlanta Journal added, “Hunting Him to Death. Several Counties Are Up in Arms to Avenge the Crime of the Negro Oscar Smith.” And only days later, the headlines read, “This Black Brute Will Be Burned. Anthony Williams, Who Murdered Miss Williams at West Point, Tenn. Caught in Alabama. Will Be Taken to the Scene.” Wrapped around this lurid reportage was a running commentary on the innocence and vulnerability of white women, the looming threat posed by black men, and the apparently uncontrollable mob violence of white men.1


White Woman Black Woman White Supremacy Gender Matter Gender Politics 
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  1. 7.
    On Rebecca Latimer Felton, see John E. Talinadge, Rebecca Latimer Felton: Nine Stormy Decades (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1960)Google Scholar
  2. Josephine Bone Floyd, “Rebecca Latimer Felton: Political Independent,” Georgia Historical Quarterly 30 (March 1946): 14–34Google Scholar
  3. 26.
    See H. Leon Prather, We Have Taken a City: The Wilmington Racial Massacre and Coup of 1898 (Cranbury, NJ, Associated University Presses, 1984)Google Scholar
  4. 33.
    Rebecca Latimer Felton, The Romantic Story of Georgias’ Women (Atlanta, Atlanta Georgian and Sunday American, 1930), 45Google Scholar

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© LeeAnn Whites 2005

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  • LeeAnn Whites

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