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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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“Give Me the Gat”

“Give Me the Gat”

(p.77) Chapter 4 “Give Me the Gat”
Murder in New Orleans

Jeffrey S. Adler

University of Chicago Press

Beginning in the late 1920s, rates of violence in New Orleans plummeted, and this chapter explains the complex set of factors that produced the decrease. Between 1925 and 1940, the local economy crumbled, poverty and racial segregation increased, racial conflict soared, and yet the city’s homicide rate plunged by nearly two-thirds. The chapter explores the ways in which shifts in the locations of social conflict and dramatic changes in the price and availability of handguns during the Great Depression contributed to tumbling levels on lethal violence. When African American violence moved from houses to streets, and when killers increasingly relied on knives rather than revolvers, fights became less deadly, and homicide plummeted, despite soaring levels of unemployment and racial inequality.

Keywords:   racial inequality, homicide, African American violence, handguns, Great Depression, poverty

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