In the field of history, it is rare that an author actually comes to shape the events discussed in their writing. However, this was the case for C. Vann Woodward and his book, The Strange Career of Jim Crow. First published in 1955, it discusses this history of race relations in America, more specifically the Jim Crow laws he equates with the segregation of races. Woodward argues that segregation itself was a fairly new development within the South, and did not begin until after Reconstruction ended. He further argues that since the South has seen so much change, citing the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the development of the Jim Crow laws, it is possible for more changes to occur in a movement away from segregation. Though to a modern reader this seems like a logical argument following the events of history as they occurred, it must be remembered that Woodward was writing during the time period in which all of this was happening and nothing was certain. As William S. McFeely states in his afterword, what Woodward “so modestly stated, was, in fact, a call for the overthrow of what was perceived to be the very grounding of Southern society.” Unlike most historians, Woodward wrote about segregation and the Civil Rights Movement with such proximity that he came to affect public opinion of the time period as well as the final outcome of events. Furthermore, Woodward wrote with what we can now see to be accurate foresight as well as with a clear understanding of historical writing and the challenges it can pose.
In order to support his argument that Jim Crow laws were not developed during the era of slavery in the South, the traditional belief, but rather later in ...
... middle of paper ...
...ctive. But someone has to make a beginning.”
Making a beginning is exactly what C. Vann Woodward accomplished with the publication of The Strange Career of Jim Crow. A Southerner, he rebelled against other interpretations, unafraid of provoking anger or disagreement during his era. It is his work which laid the groundwork for future publications and in turn greatly influenced Americans’ opinions of his era and thereafter. Any criticisms of his interpretations would be due to his inability to see the future, and these were usually mistakes he attempted to remedy through revisions and later publications of the book, which, in a true testament to its importance, has yet to go out of print. When the rare occurrence of a historical work affecting the course of history occurs, such as this one, the importance of both the work and the historian becomes clear.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- C. Vann Woodward's The Strange Career Of Jim Crow C. Vann Woodward illuminates one of the “ugliest” aspects of American societal history in his book The Strange Career of Jim Crow. His book is an overview of the development of the Jim Crow system, a set of racist laws put in place around the turn of the nineteenth century. Interestingly his book tracks the evolution of racism throughout American history. He not only shows where and when racism is developing but the different ways that the racism manifested itself in the North and South.... [tags: Civil Rights Movement C. Vann Woodward Essays]
1505 words (4.3 pages)
- C. Vann Woodward's The Strange Career of Jim Crow In the field of history, it is rare that an author actually comes to shape the events discussed in their writing. However, this was the case for C. Vann Woodward and his book, The Strange Career of Jim Crow. First published in 1955, it discusses this history of race relations in America, more specifically the Jim Crow laws he equates with the segregation of races. Woodward argues that segregation itself was a fairly new development within the South, and did not begin until after Reconstruction ended.... [tags: Woodward Strange Career Jim Crow Essays]
1733 words (5 pages)
- C. Vann Woodward's The Strange Career of Jim Crow C. Vann Woodward’s book The Strange Career of Jim Crow is a close look at the struggles of the African American community from the time of Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement. The book portrays a scene where the Negroes are now free men after being slaves on the plantations and their adaptation to life as being seen as free yet inferior to the White race and their hundred year struggle of becoming equals in a community where they have always been seen as second class citizens.... [tags: Woodward Strange Jim Crow Essays]
1420 words (4.1 pages)
- C. Vann Woodward's The Strange Career of Jim Crow In the months following the Brown v. Board of Education decision C. Vann Woodward wrote a series of lectures that would provide the basis for one of the most historically significant pieces of nonfiction literature written in the 20th century. Originally, Woodward’s lectures were directed to a local and predominantly southern audience, but as his lectures matured into a comprehensive text they gained national recognition. In 1955 Woodward published the first version of The Strange Career of Jim Crow, a novel that would spark a fluid historical dialogue that would continue for the next twenty years.... [tags: Strange Career of Jim Crow Essays]
1227 words (3.5 pages)
- Vann Woodward's The Strange Career of Jim Crow Martin Luther King Jr. believed that The Strange Career of Jim Crow was, 'The historical bible of the civil rights movement.' Any book that graces a quote, of such intense backing etched across the cover has much to live up to. If an author can get the support of such a predominant figure in American society, like Martin Luther King Jr., the message behind the book will reach an ever growing population. When Martin Luther King Jr. put his stamp of approval on the book written by C.... [tags: Book Reviews Strange Career Jim Crow Essay]
1763 words (5 pages)
- Vann Woodward's The Strange Career of Jim Crow In 1955, C. Vann Woodward published the first edition of his book, The Strange Career of Jim Crow. The book garnered immediate recognition and success with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. eventually calling it, “the historical Bible of the civil rights movement.” An endorsement like this one from such a prominent and respect figure in American history makes one wonder if they will find anything in the book to criticize or any faults to point out. However, with two subsequent editions of the book, one in August 1965 and another in October 1973—each adding new chapters as the Civil Rights movement progressed—one wonders if Dr.... [tags: Segregation History Literature Papers]
2031 words (5.8 pages)
- A Review of The Strange Career of Jim Crow C. Vann Woodward’s most famous work, The Strange Career of Jim Crow, was written in 1955. It chronicles the birth, formation, and end of Jim Crow laws in the Southern states. Often, the Jim Crow laws are portrayed as having been instituted directly after the Civil War’s end, and having been solely a Southern brainchild. However, as Woodward, a native of Arkansas points out, the segregationist Jim Crow laws and policies were not fully a part of the culture until almost 1900.... [tags: C. Vann Woodward Civil Rights Essays]
1075 words (3.1 pages)
- Vann Woodward quite possibly could have been one of the most influential southern historians of the post WWII Era. He spent a great deal of time writing in his ninety-one years. Haled as an inspiration in the field of Southern history, Woodward lived a modest life. He was a great teacher in the classroom and author of fourteen books and over a dozen journal articles. A life well spent in the pursuit of historical truth and expansion of Southern scholarship. His contemporaries benefited from his work, and they wrote in appreciation of Woodward.... [tags: Biography]
1458 words (4.2 pages)
- C. Vann Woodward, who died in 1999 at the age of 91, was America's most Southern historian and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize, for Mary Chestnut's Civil War and he’s also a Bancroft Prize for The Origins of the New South. In honor to his long and adventurous career, Oxford is pleased to publish this special commemorative edition of Woodward's most influential work, The Strange Career of Jim Crow. The Strange Career of Jim Crow is one of the great works of Southern history. The book actually helped shape that historical curve of black liberation its not slowed movement it’s more like a rollercoaster.... [tags: Segregation, Civil Rights]
737 words (2.1 pages)
- The Strange Career of Jim Crow C. Vann Woodward’s book, The Strange Career of Jim Crow, has been hailed as a book which shaped our views of the history of the Civil Rights Movement and of the American South. Martin Luther King, Jr. described the book as “the historical Bible of the civil rights movement.” The argument presented in The Strange Career of Jim Crow is that the Jim Crow laws were relatively new introductions to the South that occurred towards the turn of the century rather than immediately after the end of Reconstruction after the Civil War.... [tags: Civil Rights Movement Essays Van Woodward]
1332 words (3.8 pages)