ABOUT THIS BOOK
Every white southerner understood
what keeping African Americans "down" meant and what it did
not mean. It did not mean going to court; it did not mean relying on the
law. It meant vigilante violence and lynching.
Looking at Vicksburg, Mississippi,
Roots of Disorder traces the origins of these terrible attitudes
to the day-to-day operations of local courts. In Vicksburg, white exploitation
of black labor through slavery evolved into efforts to use the law to
define blacks' place in society, setting the stage for widespread tolerance
of brutal vigilantism. Fed by racism and economics, whites' extralegal
violence grew in a hothouse of more general hostility toward law and courts.
Roots of Disorder shows how the criminal justice system itself
plays a role in shaping the attitudes that encourage vigilantism.
"Delivers what no other
study has yet attempted. . . . Waldrep's book is one of the first systematically
to use local trial data to explore questions of society and culture."
-- Vernon Burton, author of "A Gentleman and an Officer":
A Social and Military History of James B. Griffin's Civil War