Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kate Côté Gillin's "Shrill Hurrahs"

Kate Côté Gillin holds a Ph.D. in American history from the College of William and Mary and works at the Hun School of Princeton. She was awarded the Caroline Ray Hovey 1967 Master Teachership and the Award for Teaching Excellence from the Madeira School in McLean, Virginia. She has also been honored with the Recognition for Teaching Excellence from the National Society of High School Scholars.

Gillin applied the “Page 99 Test” to her latest book, Shrill Hurrahs: Women, Gender, and Racial Violence in South Carolina, 1865--1900, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Shrill Hurrahs details the origins of the Ellenton Riot of 1876 and puts a woman by the name of Mrs. Alonzo Harley at the center of it. Mrs. Harley claimed to have fended off a home invasion by black intruders. When a mob of white men captured one of the alleged assailants, a man named Peter Williams, they brought him before her. Mrs. Harley positively identified him, at which point he was beaten and shot by the white mob, although accounts differ as to whether or not he survived. When blacks retaliated for Williams' capture, the most violent racial conflict of Reconstruction era South Carolina began.

Overall, page 99 captures much of what the book argues about the power of women and their deliberate use of it to influence the racial and gendered landscape of the post-war South. Women, black and white, came into their own following emancipation, and both engaged actively in the often violent negotiations of the Reconstruction, Redemption, and early Jim Crow periods. Although their goals varied, their participation--direct and indirect--was consistent and crucial to determining southern power structures.
Learn more about Shrill Hurrahs at the University of South Carolina Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue