Niedermeier 2012 Vergewaltigung

Title Information

Author: Silvan Niedermeier

Title: »I didn't rape that lady«

Subtitle: ›Rasse‹, Vergewaltigung und Zeugenschaft in den US-amerikanischen Südstaaten, 1930–1945

Translation: »I didn’t rape that lady«: ›Race›, Rape and Testimony in the American South, 1930–1945

Journal: WerkstattGeschichte

Volume: -

Issue: 59

Year: 2012

Pages: 55-78

ISSN: 0942-704X – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: German

Keywords: 20th Century | U.S. History | Cases: Offenders / Henry Daniels, Curtis Robinson; Cases: Victims / Zeola Armstrong; Prosecution: Trials; Types: Interracial Rape

Full Text

Link: WerkstattGeschichte (Free Access: 2 Years after Publication)

Additional Information

Author: Silvan Niedermeier, Historisches Seminar, Universität Erfurt

Abstract: »This paper examines the performative dimensions of rape trials against African American defendants in Southern courts during the 1930s and 1940s. As I show, these trials were used to reestablish the hegemonic race and gender order of the South that had been put into question by the alleged rape of white women by black men. Due to their symbolic meaning, African American defendants were expected to play an inferior role in those trials. The case of Robinson/Daniels from Alabama, however, shows that the process of truth-seeking in court was highly contested. It offered African American defendants multiple – although limited – possibilities to intervene. Their testimony in court can be interpreted as a form of self-assertion in the face of a highly discriminatory legal system. At the same time, the case accounts for the limits of African American testimony in court. The inability to make their torture allegations heard in court highlights the precarious state of African American defendants within the racist order of the South at the time.« (Source: WerkstattGeschichte)


  I. Transformationen der Gewalt: Von der Lynchpraxis zu den Prozeduren der Strafjustiz (p. 59)
  II. »[A] heinous and unspeakable crime«: Südstaatliche Vergewaltigungsprozesse als legal performances (p. 63)
  III. Taktiken der Intervention: Afroamerikanische Zeugenschaft im Fall Daniels/Robinson (p. 67)
  IV. Nach dem Prozess: Diskurse über Folter, Glaubwürdigkeit und die ›weiße‹ Frau (p. 71)
  V. Fazit (p. 77)

Added: February 8, 2014 – Last updated: February 8, 2014