Analysis of the Strange Career of Jim Crow

Topics: African American, American Civil War, C. Vann Woodward Pages: 3 (940 words) Published: September 14, 2008
Some critics say that C. V. Woodward’s novel “The Strange Career of Jim Crow” was simply a book about racism. Other critics also attack his style of writing in this very popular novel. However, I believe that Woodward’s novel is not just a book about racism. It is a book about history. I believe it is a book about race relations, not racism. Woodward shatters the stereotypical view of segregation through chronicling the history of America from reconstruction through the late 1960’s. The Strange Career of Jim Crow is not simply a book about racism. I believe it is a book about history and race relations. In spite of the way we would like to think of America, its history is one that is littered with various forms of racism. This cannot be overlooked. Woodward introduction centers on race relations. He begins by bringing the intimate interracial associations that occurred. He talks about the imbalances of sexes that existed among the races during this time period (16). Woodward’s novel does highlights a period of time that racism was prevalent, but that not all this novel does. I believe he highlights race relations. Throughout the novel, Woodward shatters what is typically thought of relationships between whites and blacks. When thinking of the post civil war America, I generally thought that the North was friendlier to blacks than the south, and that blacks fled the south for a better life in the north. Woodward makes the argument that the opposite was true. Woodward says that the career of Jim Crow began in the north and moved south. The author recounts a trip that a northern black editor took to the south. During his trip, he was surprised when he was not forced to give up his seat to white men as the car filled to capacity. He was even more surprised with the ease in which whites entered in conversation with him (39). He found that he could enjoy the finer restaurants and saloons in the south easier than he could in New England. Through telling...

Cited: Woodward, C. Vann. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974
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