Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Ain't Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil Rights Movement

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Ain't Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil Rights Movement

Article excerpt

Ain't Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil Rights Movement. By Zoe A. Colley. New Perspectives on the History of the South. (Gainesville and other cities: University Press of Florida, 2013. Pp. x, 158. $69.95, ISBN 978-0-8130-4241-1.)

As Michelle Alexander's best-selling work The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York, 2010) has shown, the history of the African American experience largely includes a history of black incarceration. In the ever-expanding literature on the civil rights movement, the jail experience has been marginalized in discussions of protest tactics. For better or worse, arrest and jail time were important parts of the activist experience. As Zoe A. Colley illustrates in her short but informative work, Ain't Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil Rights Movement, incarceration not only shaped how the movement progressed but also was a transformative experience for those imprisoned. Focusing mainly on the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Colley briefly touches on the history of black imprisonment during the Jim Crow era, arguing that the sit-ins in 1960 (and the Freedom Rides the following year) were a turning point in using the courts and jail to exert moral and economic pressure on southern communities targeted in the civil rights campaigns. Colley argues that both class and gender shaped the jail experience in significant and constructive ways. She further notes that just as there were generational and ideological divisions among civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and the direct action-oriented, younger activists in the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, so too existed generational and ideological divisions over using arrest and jail-no-bail as a movement strategy. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.