Race, Crime, and Policing in the Jim Crow South
Southern police departments modernized and expanded during the early 20th century in response to the surge of African Americans moving into urban spaces. As departments grew, officers assumed responsibility for policing and maintaining Jim Crow laws and customs.
While scholars have mostly focused on law enforcement’s use of aggression and brutality as a means of maintaining African American subordination, Black citizens of that time have often come off as powerless in their encounters with law enforcement.
The new book, “Race, Crime, and Policing in the Jim Crow South” explores the various ways African Americans responded to the expansion of police departments in the early 20th-century South, including thousands of examples of African Americans seemingly working with law enforcement in order to, in some sense, take advantage of the only government institution they had access to: the police department.
Dr. Brandon Jett is a history professor at Florida Southwestern State College