2007, 2008, 2012
Andrew W. Kahrl
- Assistant Professor
- Marquette University
Navigating an Aqueous Color Line: Race and Recreation at Bodies of Water in the US South, 1890-1965
This dissertation traces the culture of racial segregation along bodies of water and the history of African American beaches, swimming pools, and resorts in the American South from the 1890s through the 1950s. Water recreation constituted a formative element in whites’ racialized metaphors of purity and contamination, civility and disorder. “Behind the veil,” leisure spaces emerged as a key arena in African Americans’ broader strategies for circumventing exclusions and mitigating humiliating conventions. Through a series of case studies, this project unpacks the meaning and practice of leisure in a racially hierarchical society, and examines how class and gender informed blacks’ debates over its perceived ties to social and economic mobility and impact on ideas about race and difference.
On the Beach: Race and Leisure in the Jim Crow South
This project traces the history of African American beaches and the culture of racial segregation at bodies of water in the Jim Crow South (ca. 1890-1965). Through a series of case studies, it examines how the politics of leisure shaped racial oppression and resistance, and explores the strategies blacks developed to circumvent exclusions, mitigate humiliating conventions, and secure outdoor space conducive to communal health. In so doing, the project unpacks the meaning and practice of leisure in a racially hierarchical society, and the class, gender, and generational dimensions of blacks’ debates over its ties to social and economic mobility, respectability, and reform.
Lien on Me: Race, Power, and the Property Tax in Twentieth-Century America
The sharp decline of black landownership in the twentieth century remains one of the most important—and least understood—chapters in modern American history. As they achieved monumental victories in the struggle for justice and equality, black Americans increasingly struggled to hold onto their land or build wealth through homeownership. While stories of real estate inequality are familiar and ongoing, the roots of inequality in property ownership run much deeper. This project uncovers the history of discriminatory assessment and collection of property taxes, examines the use of tax liens in the expropriation and redevelopment of black-owned land in appreciating real estate markets, and traces the evolution of legal practices and investment strategies that exploit economically distressed landowners.