Archive for October, 2005

The One-Drop Rule Arrives in the Postbellum Lower South

October 1st, 2005

This essay presents three topics. Florida and Georgia shows two societies in transition. At mid-century, Florida was still in the process of adopting an endogamous color line. By Reconstruction, one was firmly in place and moving towards invisible Blackness. Similarly, the color line in Tidewater Georgia hardened between 1860 and 1880, but had not yet become a one-drop rule. Louisiana describes a post-war struggle between the old aristocracy, who strove unsuccessfully to preserve their biracial French culture and, on the other hand, an alliance of Yankee occupiers and Anglo-American Louisianans who crushed Colored Creole society out of existence by merging it with freed Blacks. South Carolina depicts a third society in transition. It describes the nation’s second attempt to write a one-drop law. The second attempt, like the first in 1853 Virginia, failed when lawmakers realized that it would penalize elite South Carolina families.