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The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow Juvenile Justice

(p.1) Introduction
The Black Child-Savers
Geoff K. Ward
University of Chicago Press

This book brings together findings from the author's years spent pondering the questions related to black adults' experience and how they have shaped the development of American juvenile justice, and the legacies or lessons today of this racial history. It details the sociohistorical origins and organization of Jim Crow juvenile justice as well as the social movement by generations of black Americans to replace the white supremacist parental state with an idealized racial structure of democratic social control. The anticipated racially democratic juvenile justice system was thought to provide for equal black youth opportunity and black adult representation or authority in the administration of liberal rehabilitative ideals, enlisting the supposed manufactory of citizens in the production of a racially inclusive liberal democracy. Over a century after the birth of Jim Crow juvenile justice, this book offers a detailed account of this peculiar institution and how it collided with black freedom dreams to spawn a long movement on behalf of that entity W. E. B. DuBois called “the immortal child,” in a veiled reference to group fate. This book argues that this racial history of juvenile justice helps fill the research gaps in the historical literature and challenges much of what has been established as general institutional history.

Keywords:   American juvenile justice, Jim Crow, black youth, black community, civil rights, rehabilitation, black freedom

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