Tag Archives: Masculinity

Stage Rights: Performing Masculinity in the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921

Scholars and history buffs have been experiencing a renewed interest in the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, which resulted in the deaths of as many as three hundred people and destroyed the wealthiest black community in America. This article is not intended to recite well-told histories of the ‘riot,’ or to reveal newly found information. Rather, this work is an attempt to layer into the analysis of the Tulsa Race Riot sociological considerations of gender, with a specific focus on how white men and black men performed their interpretations of masculinity. Attempting to defend and/or lay claim to the benefits of traditional American manhood, white and black male Tulsans engaged in a direct competition steeped in race, class, and gender. So far, studies have focused mostly on race and class. A gender analysis reveals a nuanced yet powerful display of the acquisition, acceptance, and assertion of historic notions of race, authority, strength, and manhood in the Jim Crow South.

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