Legal-Miller 2011 Jailhouse

Title Information


Author: Althea Legal-Miller

Title: "The Unmentionable Ugliness of the Jailhouse"

Subtitle: Sexualized Violence, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Leesburg Stockade Imprisonment of 1963

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, King's College London

Year: 2011

Pages: 548pp.

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | U.S. History | Society: Civil Rights Movement; Types: Interracial Rape, Prison Rape



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Additional Information


Author: Althea Legal-Miller, Institute of the Americas, University College London

Abstract: »This dissertation argues that jailhouse sexualized violence, as perpetrated by southern white male law enforcers against black female activists, was a prevalent and pervasive tool of white oppression during the postwar black freedom movement. Racial violence against civil rights protesters has been popularly characterised by scenes of fire hoses, dogs, club wielding law enforcers, and vicious white mobs. Yet civil rights suppression was also sexualized. As thousands of black female activists committed to going to jail for civil disobedience, white male police officers and jailers attempted to undermine their political identities through sexualized verbal abuse, beatings, objectification, threats, strippings, punitive medical examinations, molestations, and rape. However, empowered by the politicised climate of the movement, women and girls on an unprecedented scale used their bold denunciations of sexualized violence to reclaim their bodies and hold their white oppressors accountable. -- Sexualized violence figures prominently in the principal historical incident around which this thesis is organised - the 1963 Leesburg Stockade imprisonment involving approximately thirty-six adolescent female civil rights workers from Americus, Georgia. Through placing black girls from Americus at the centre of analysis, I illuminate the particularities of adolescent female activism, and unearth varied forms of jailhouse sexualized violence and modes of resistance. This study utilises the papers of major civil rights organisations, newspapers and periodicals, photographs, documentary films, and oral histories to recover the resistance and resilience of black women and girls who fought for bodily integrity.« (Source: Google Books)

Wikipedia: African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954–68)


Added: January 10, 2015 – Last updated: January 10, 2015