Don D. Rothman 's ' The Neighborhood '

1233 Words Dec 5th, 2014 5 Pages
Notorious in the Neighborhood (Sex and Families across the Color Line in Virginia, 1787-1861) by Joshua D. Rothman

In Notorious in the Neighborhood, Joshua D. Rothman represents the American society of the antebellum south and how race and sexuality operated in it. The books centers on how Virginians tried to retain 'white male supremacy ' while hundreds of men and women of both races crossed and altered the defined color line. It focuses on the importance given to law and how often it was used (or ignored) to control interracial sex and marriages. Using Case studies, Rothman traces the altering yet consistent positions given to people across color line over time, contextualizing them in different stories and scenarios.

The book focuses on the different kind of interracial sexual connections in Virginia from "1787, when Sally Hemings left Monticello for France..to 1861, when Civil War began and would destroy slavery and consequently change the racial regime of Virginia in fundamental ways" (p. 4). The first and the most important chapter of the book explores President Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings relationship. And how James Callender attempts to destroy the president 's political image by releasing the story in press which in turn "failed to have its intended impacts" (p. 49), while the white locals and elites who strongly objected and opposed such associations maintained a code of silent in this case even when many speculations seemed justifiable (like, the…
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