Jennifer D. Jones
My dissertation, “‘The Fruits of Mixing’: Homosexuality and the Politics of Racial Empowerment in the South, 1945-1975,” chronicles the manner in which characterizations of gay men and lesbians were an important aspect of southern-based campaigns for and conflicts over Black racial equality. Advocates and opponents of racial equality used these characterizations to delineate who should have access to the full benefits of national citizenship and race-defined communal belonging. My talk will highlight the portion of the project which analyzes how segregationists characterized African Americans and racial liberals as more prone to homosexuality in their attempts to counter challenges to white supremacy. This rhetoric appeared with increasing frequency during the 1960s and 1970s, co-existing alongside older and more prominent narratives of Black sexual depravity and the proliferation of interracial marriage.
In 1835, fire destroyed nearly all of Manhattan’s mercantile district, causing losses totaling approximately $500 million in today’s dollars. My project examines the relief debates that followed, both in Congress and in the courts: who, if anyone, bore responsibility for bailing out the sufferers? That the victims were nearly all wealthy merchants with credit relationships around the country complicated the question: just as a storehouse fire in a crowded port could quickly spread to consume dozens of city blocks, a credit crunch in the nation’s commercial center could easily bring low small-town merchants in the nation’s remotest regions. Who, in a world of such highly contagious misfortune, deserved relief, and who should pay for it? What was the appropriate balance between private right and public need? Drawing on Congressional archives and court records, I argue that the fire precipitated the first instance of a federal bailout premised on the idea that some financial institutions are too big to fail.