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Murder in New OrleansThe Creation of Jim Crow Policing$
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Jeffrey S. Adler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226643311

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226643458.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 08 May 2021

“If You Hit Me Again I Will Stick You with This Knife”

“If You Hit Me Again I Will Stick You with This Knife”

(p.32) Chapter 2 “If You Hit Me Again I Will Stick You with This Knife”
Murder in New Orleans

Jeffrey S. Adler

University of Chicago Press

Chapter Two examines the fastest-increasing form of lethal violence in the city during the crime wave, which was African American spouse murder. Drawing from homicide reports, trial testimony, and other sources, the chapter explores the social and cultural forces that roiled gender roles and shattered family life in African American homes. It devotes particular attention to the impact of uneven sex ratios and the ways in which traditions of common-law marriage undermined patriarchal authority and encouraged women to be strong and independent. As a result of this tangle of pressures, African American husbands in the city struggled to establish dominance in their households, and African American wives refused to submit, resulting in soaring rates of family violence with women committing the lion’s share of spouse killings.

Keywords:   common-law marriage, homicide, African American spouse murder, patriarchal authority, gender roles

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