Brandon T. Jett

May 27, 2022

Race, Crime, and Policing in the Jim Crow South

African Americans and Law Enforcement in Birmingham, Memphis, and New Orleans, 1920–1945

Louisiana State University Press 2021

In this groundbreaking work, Professor Brandon T. Jett unearths how police departments evolved with the urbanization of the Jim Crow South, to target African Americans through a variety of mechanisms of control and violence, such as violent interactions, unjust arrests, and the enforcement of segregation laws and customs. Race, Crime, and Policing in the Jim Crow South, published by Louisiana State University in July 2021, provides explanation and context to show the way that modern institution of policing in the United States has evolved from, but clings to historical patterns and attitudes that situate African Americans in positions of relative vulnerability in their interactions with police. 

Still, what surprises in Jett's work is the way that Black residents co-operated and even manipulated the police in aid of crime reduction and to extract services in the urban spaces that they lived. Vivid examples and rich detail provides the reader with a thorough understanding of criminal justice and the way that policing reinforced segregation during the Jim Crow era. 

Brandon T. Jett is a professor of history at Florida South Western State College. In 2017, he was awarded a William Nelson Cromwell Foundation Early Career Scholar Fellowship. You can listen to him host on New Books in The American South. Race, Crime Policing in the Jim Crow South was the Silver Medal Winner of the Florida Book Award in 2021.

Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK

Listen to more episodes on:

Your Host

Jane Richards

Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK

Learn More