Photo of the Week: The Discomfiture of Southern Culture

Southeastern Fair, Atlanta, 1955

Significant subjects in photographs are not always apparent at first glance.  This crowd scene at the fair appears rather mundane.  A closer inspection reveals the attendees are all African-American and and the vendors are Caucasian.  Southern fairs would typically hold a “Negro Day” in order to conform to Jim Crow laws.

In The Politics of Whiteness, Georgia State University history professor Michelle Brattain reveals how working-class whites, and not just elites, actively supported segregated institutions.  This blue-collar bigotry eventually fed resistance to the civil rights movement.

What memories do you have of the segregated South?

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2 Responses to Photo of the Week: The Discomfiture of Southern Culture

  1. Ellen Johnston says:

    Thank you for adding the links in your blog, and pointing out the details in the photograph.

  2. Rob Richardson says:

    During the late 1960s, Gooding’s Million Dollar Midways, the carnival that played the fair, would provide two so-called girlie shows. The Star and Garter Revue featured white strippers. The Gay (before the word was hijacked) New Orleans Revue had black performers. But many white men would quietly pay to get into the Gay New Orleans Revue, on the long-standing rumor that the black girls “would show more.” But all hell would break loose if black men tried to get into the white strip show. Much to the dismay of all male customers, neither show had much actual nudity. The carnies had the last laugh.