Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Christopher Waldrep  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Audience: Adult;

Born: Oak Ridge, Tennessee


-- Website -- http://BSS.SFSU.EDU/WALDREP
-- Christopher Waldrep on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=christopher+waldrep


Illinois Connection

* Resided in McDonough and Coles Counties

Biographical and Professional Information

Christopher Waldrep was a professor of history at Eastern Illinois University. Currently he is Professor of History and Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Chair in American History at San Francisco State University.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Night Riders: Defending Community in the Black Patch, 1890–1915
ISBN: 0822313596

Duke University Press Books. 1993

In the late nineteenth century, industrialization was making its way into rural America. In an agricultural region of Kentucky and Tennessee called the Black Patch for the dark tobacco grown there, big business arrived with a vengeance, eliminating competition, manipulating prices, and undermining local control. The farmers fought back. Night Riders tells the story of the struggle that followed, and reveals the ambiguities and complexities of a drama that convulsed this community for over two decades.
Christopher Waldrep shows that, contrary to many accounts, these wealthy tobacco planters did not resist these new forces simply because of a nostalgia for a bygone time. Instead, many sought to become modern capitalists themselves--but on their own terms. The South's rural elite found their ability to hire and control black labor--the established racial practice of the community--threatened by the low prices offered by big companies for their raw materials. In response, farmers organized and demanded better prices for their tobacco. The tobacco companies then attempted to divide the farmers by offering higher prices to those willing to break with the others. When some cultivators succumbed, their betrayal awakened a deeply rooted vigilante tradition that called for the protection of community at all costs. Waldrep analyzes the spasm of violence that ensued in which horsemen, riding at night, destroyed tobacco barns and the warehouses where the companies stored their tobacco. But despite this fierce upheaval, the Black Patch community endured.
The most thorough treatment ever given to the Black Patch war, Night Riders illuminates a moment in history in which the traditional and the modern, the rural and the industrial, fought for the future--and past--of a community.

Roots of Disorder: Race and Criminal Justice in the American South, 1817-80
ISBN: 0252024257

University of Illinois Press. 1998

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.

The Many Faces of Judge Lynch: Extralegal Violence and Punishment in America
ISBN: 1403967113

Palgrave Macmillan. 2003

The U.S. is the most violent industrialized country in the world, and lynching - that is, murder endorsed by the community - may be a key to understanding America's heritage of violence and perhaps point to solutions that can eradicate it. While lynchings are predominantly racial in tone and motive, Christopher Waldrep's sweeping study of the meaning and uses of lynching from the colonial period to the present reveals that the definition of the term has shifted dramatically over time, and that the victims and perpetuators of lynching were as diverse as its many meanings. By examining lynching from a comparative and temporal perspective, Waldrep teaches us important lessons not only about racial violence in America, but about the ways in which communities define and justify crime and the punishment of its criminals.

Vicksburg's Long Shadow: The Civil War Legacy of Race and Remembrance (The American Crisis Series: Books on the Civil War Era)
ISBN: 0742548686

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2005

During the hottest days of the summer of 1863, while the nation's attention was focused on a small town in Pennsylvania known as Gettysburg, another momentous battle was being fought along the banks of the Mississippi. In the longest single campaign of the war, the siege of Vicksburg left 19,000 dead and wounded on both sides, gave the Union Army control of the Mississippi, and left the Confederacy cut in half.

In this highly-anticipated new work, Christopher Waldrep takes a fresh look at how the Vicksburg campaign was fought and remembered. He begins with a gripping account of the battle, deftly recounting the experiences of African-American troops fighting for the Union. Waldrep shows how as the scars of battle faded, the memory of the war was shaped both by the Northerners who controlled the battlefield and by the legacies of race and slavery that played out over the decades that followed.

Lynching in America: A History in Documents
ISBN: 0814793991

NYU Press. 2006

Whether conveyed through newspapers, photographs, or Billie Holliday’s haunting song “Strange Fruit,” lynching has immediate and graphic connotations for all who hear the word. Images of lynching are generally unambiguous: black victims hanging from trees, often surrounded by gawking white mobs. While this picture of lynching tells a distressingly familiar story about mob violence in America, it is not the full story. Lynching in America presents the most comprehensive portrait of lynching to date, demonstrating that while lynching has always been present in American society, it has been anything but one-dimensional.

Ranging from personal correspondence to courtroom transcripts to journalistic accounts, Christopher Waldrep has extensively mined an enormous quantity of documents about lynching, which he arranges chronologically with concise introductions. He reveals that lynching has been part of American history since the Revolution, but its victims, perpetrators, causes, and environments have changed over time. From the American Revolution to the expansion of the western frontier, Waldrep shows how communities defended lynching as a way to maintain law and order. Slavery, the Civil War, and especially Reconstruction marked the ascendancy of racialized lynching in the nineteenth century, which has continued to the present day, with the murder of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s contention that he was lynched by Congress at his confirmation hearings.

Since its founding, lynching has permeated American social, political, and cultural life, and no other book documents American lynching with historical texts offering firsthand accounts of lynchings, explanations, excuses, and criticism.

Jury Discrimination: The Supreme Court, Public Opinion, and a Grassroots Fight for Racial Equality in Mississippi (Studies in the Legal History of the South Ser.)
ISBN: 0820330027

University of Georgia Press. 2010

In 1906 a white lawyer named Dabney Marshall argued a case before the Mississippi Supreme Court demanding the racial integration of juries. He carried out a plan devised by Mississippi’s foremost black lawyer of the time: Willis Mollison. Against staggering odds, and with the help of a friendly newspaper editor, he won. How Marshall and his allies were able to force the court to overturn state law and precedent, if only for a brief period, at the behest of the U.S. Supreme Court is the subject of Jury Discrimination, a book that explores the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on America’s civil rights history.

Christopher Waldrep traces the origins of Americans’ ideas about trial by jury and provides the first detailed analysis of jury discrimination. Southerners’ determination to keep their juries entirely white played a crucial role in segregation, emboldening lynchers and vigilantes like the Ku Klux Klan. As the postbellum Congress articulated ideals of national citizenship in civil rights legislation, most importantly the Fourteenth Amendment, factions within the U.S. Supreme Court battled over how to read the amendment: expansively, protecting a variety of rights against a host of enemies, or narrowly, guarding only against rare violations by state governments. The latter view prevailed, entombing the amendment in a narrow interpretation that persists to this day.

Although the high court clearly denounced the overt discrimination enacted by state legislatures, it set evidentiary rules that made discrimination by state officers and agents extremely difficult to prove. Had these rules been less onerous, Waldrep argues, countless black jurors could have been seated throughout the nation at precisely the moment when white legislators and jurists were making and enforcing segregation laws. Marshall and Mollison’s success in breaking through Mississippi law to get blacks admitted to juries suggests that legal reasoning plausibly founded on constitutional principle, as articulated by the Supreme Court, could trump even the most stubbornly prejudiced public opinion.


Awards

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Speaking Engagements

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