Race, Riot, and Rebellion: A Bibliography

protesting-stamp-actThis morning on the other side of the Atlantic, I woke up early in preparation for a seminar on William Otter, whose History of My Own Times closes the list of our readings in my Revolutionary America class. Essentially, Otter was a brawling, violent, white man in the 1800s, living variously in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. He jumped from job to job while engaging in various aggressive “sprees” against African Americans, Irishmen, and anyone else who seemed a likely candidate before becoming a burgess of Emmitsburg, Maryland.[1] And instead of getting up to prep this morning, I remained in bed, glued to the #BaltimoreUprising and #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on Twitter, as, I’m sure, were many of you during the late hours of the night. During times like these, it’s part of our jobs as historians to acknowledge that different types of violence have specific meanings that change over time. And so Juntoists have compiled a bibliography for our mutual education.

This is a hastily-compiled, incomplete list. Please add additions in the comments.

Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Press, 2012.

Allison, Robert J. The Boston Massacre. Beverly, MA: NE Remembers, 2006.

Anthony, Kaye E. “Neighborhoods and Nat Turner: The Making of a Slave Rebel and the Unmaking of a Slave Rebellion,” Journal of the Early Republic 27, no. 4 (Winter 2007): 705-20.

Aptheker, Herbert. American Negro Slave Revolts. New York: International Publishers, 1969.

Bohstedt, John. Riots and Community Politics in England and Wales, 1790-1810. Cambridge, Mass., 1983.

———. The Politics of Provisions: Food Riots, Moral Economy, and Market Transition in England, c. 1550-1850. Surrey, UK, 2010.

Bouton, Cynthia A. The Flour War: Gender, Class, and Community in Late Ancien Régime French Society. University Park, PA, 1993.

Boyle, Kevin. Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age. New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2004.

Brown, Christopher Leslie, and Morgan, Philip D., eds. Arming Slaves: From Classical Times to the Modern Age. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.

Davidson, James West. “They Say”: Ida B. Wells and the Reconstruction of Race. Oxford University Press, 2008.

Dennis, Matthew, Simon P. Newman, and William Pencak. Crowds and Celebrations: Riot, Rough Music, and Revelry in Early America. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002.

Egerton, Douglas R. Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press, 2008.

Feagin, Joe. Systemic Racism: A Theory of Oppression. London: Routledge, 2006.

Feldberg, Michael. The Turbulent Era: Riot and Disorder in Jacksonian America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Frederickson, George. The Arrogance of Race: Historical Perspectives on Racism, Slavery, and Social Inequality. Wesleyan University Press, 1989.

Freund, David. Colored Property: State Policy & White Racial Politics in Suburban America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Frey, Sylvia R. Water from the Rock: Black Resistance in a Revolutionary Age. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Genovese, Eugene D. From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979.

Gilje, Paul A. The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987.

———. Rioting in America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

Griffin, Patrick, Ingram, Robert G., Onuf, Peter S, and Schoen, Brian Schoen, eds. Between Sovereignty and Anarchy. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015.

Hirsch, James S. Riot and Remembrance: America’s Worst Race Riot and Its Legacy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002.

Hoerder, Dirk. Crowd Action in Revolutionary Massachusetts, 1765-1780. New York: Academic Press, 1977.

James, C.L.R. A History of Negro Revolt. Research Associates School Times Publications, 1991.

———. Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Overture and the Haitian Revolution. New York: Vintage, 1989.

Jones, Howard. Mutiny on the Amsted: the Saga of a Slave Revolt and its Impact on American Abolition, Law, and Diplomacy. New York: Oxford, 1997.

Klooster, Wim. “Slave Revolts, Royal Justice, and a Ubiquitous Rumor in the Age of Revolutions,” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 71, no. 3 (July 2014): 401-24.

Lassiter, Matthew D. The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Lee, Wayne E. Crowds and Soldiers in Revolutionary North Carolina. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001.

Liebmann, Matthew. Revolt: An Archaeological History of Pueblo Resistance and Revitalization in 17th Century New Mexico. Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 2012.

Maier, Pauline. “Popular Uprisings and Civil Authority in Eighteenth-Century America,” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 27, no. 1 (Jan. 1970): 3-35.

McConville, Brendan. These Daring Disturbers of the Public Peace: The Struggle for Property and Power in Early New Jersey. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.

Muhammad, Khalil. The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America. Harvard University Press, 2011.

Pencak, William, Newman, Simon, and Dennis, Matthew, eds. Riot and Revelry in Early America. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002.

Price, Richard. Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

Pybus, Cassandra. Epic Journeys of Freedom: Runaway Slaves of the American Revolution and their Global Quest for Liberty. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006.

Richards, Leonard L. Gentlemen of Property and Standing; Anti-Abolition Mobs in Jacksonian America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.

Rockman, Seth. “Mobtown U.S.A.: Baltimore,” Common-Place, 3, no. 4 (July 2003). Available online: http://www.common-place.org/vol-03/no-04/baltimore/

———. Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

Roediger, David. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. Verso, 1991.

Sidbury, James. Ploughshares into Swords: Race, Rebellion, and Identity in Gabriel’s Virginia, 1730-1810. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Smith, Barbara Clark. “Food Rioters and the American Revolution,” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 51, no. 1 (Jan. 1994): 3-38.

Sugrue, Thomas J. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Taylor, Alan. Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Thompson, E. P. “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century,” Past & Present, no. 50 (Feb. 1971): 76-136

Tilly, Louise A. “The Food Riot as a Form of Political Conflict in France,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2, no. 1 (Summer 1971): 23-57.

Young, Alfred F., ed., The American Revolution: Explorations in the History of American Radicalism. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1976.


[1] Richard B. Stott, ed., History of My Own Times, or, the Life and Adventures of William Otter, Sen. Comprising a Series of Events, and Musical Incidents Altogether Original (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

16 responses

  1. Taylor, William. Drinking, Homocide and Rebellion in Colonial Mexican Villages (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1979)

    Serulnikov, Sergei. Subverting Colonial Authority: Challenges to Spanish Rule in Eighteenth-Century Southern Andes (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003)

    McFarlane, Anthony. “Rebellions in Late Colonial Spanish America: A Comparative Perspective” Bulletin of Latin American Research 14: 3 (Sept., 1995): 313-338

    Van Young, Eric. The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology, and the Mexican Struggle for Independence, 1810-1821 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002)

  2. Great resource, thanks!

    An additional entry (and a great read for general audiences as well):
    Jill Lepore’s _New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan_ (2006).

  3. Horne, Gerald. The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America. New York: New York University Press, 2014.

  4. A great resource on the Astor Place Riots is Peter Buckley, “To the Opera House: Culture and Society in New York City, 1820-1860,” Ph.D. Diss (SUNY-Stony Brook, 1984).

    Also David Montgomery, “The Shuttle and the Cross: Weavers and Artisans in the Kensington Riots of 1844,” Journal of Social History 5:4 (Summer 1972).

  5. Nash, Gary “The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America”

    Holton, Woody “Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia”

    Carp, Benjamin “Rebels Rising: Cities and the American Revolution” (particularly the section dealing with Boston)

    Raphael, Ray “Revolutionary Founders: Rebels, Radicals, and Reformers in the Making of the Nation”

    Breen, T.H. “American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People”

    • I wonder if Pauline Maier’s “From Resistance to Revolution” would also fit this category. There more particularly deals with the Whig political theory of extra-legal resistance to authority, but I think it’s thematically appropriate to this topic, no?

  6. They deal rather with England than early America proper, but plenty of works owe them a debt of gratitude:

    George Rude, Wilkes and Liberty: A Social Study of 1763-1774 (1962)

    George Rude, The Crowd in History: A Study of Popular Disturbances in France and England, 1730-1848 (1964)

    David Underdown, Revel, Riot, & Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England, 1603-1660 (1985)

  7. I would also recommend a collection of primary sources compiled by Richard Hofstadter and Michael Wallace, AMERICAN VIOLENCE (1970). It has documents regarding attacks on Loyalists, the Boston Massacre, Shays’s Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion, as well as slave rebellions, violence targeting Abolitionists, labor union violence, and racial violence. As I recall, the last set of documents are titled “The Murder of Malcolm X.” If violence in America is a topic of interest for you this is an excellent resource.

  8. I don’t if this is relevant, but as a teacher of the Civil Rights movement for high school students in France, I am trying to reconsider with them the narrative ML = non-violence = good guy v. MX = violence = bad guy.

    I’m trying to find reading resources to de-construct both the narrative on MX and then Black Power and the narrative on MLK.

    On Black Power, it seems this book is a must-read: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/177400.Waiting_Til_the_Midnight_Hour. What do you think?

    On MLK, I have a recent French reference to share here (for those who read French): Sylvie Laurent, Martin Luther King. Biographie intellectuelle et politique, Paris, Le Seuil, 2015 (http://www.seuil.com/livre-9782021166217.htm).

  9. Pingback: This Week’s New York History Web Highlights | The New York History Blog

  10. Pingback: Science Fiction and the Urban Crisis | s-usih.org

  11. Pingback: Mid Week Roundup! | Brief and Wondrous


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