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Riding Jane Crow


As segregation laws became more prevalent forcing Black Americans to “ride Jim Crow” on the rails, the train compartment became a contested space of leisure and work. Riding Jane Crow examines four instances of Black female railroad travel: the travel narratives of Black female intellectuals such as Anna Julia Cooper and Mary Church Terrell; Black middle-class women who sued to ride in first class ladies' cars; Black women railroad food vendors; and Black maids on Pullman trains. Thaggert argues that the railroad represented a technological advancement that was entwined with African American attempts to secure social progress. Black women's experiences on or near the railroad illustrate how American technological progress has often meant their ejection or displacement; and thus, it is the Black woman who most fully measures the success of American freedom and privilege, or progress, through her travel experiences.

Author Miriam Thaggert, soft cover 240 pages.

SKU: 1327