No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity

Sarah Haley (Author)


In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries imprisoned black women faced wrenching forms of gendered racial terror and heinous structures of economic exploitation. Subjugated as convict laborers and forced to serve additional time as domestic workers before they were allowed their freedom, black women faced a pitiless system of violence, terror, and debasement. Drawing upon black feminist criticism and a diverse array of archival materials, Sarah Haley uncovers imprisoned women's brutalization in local, county, and state convict labor systems, while also illuminating the prisoners' acts of resistance and sabotage, challenging ideologies of racial capitalism and patriarchy and offering alternative conceptions of social and political life.

A landmark history of black women's imprisonment in the South, this book recovers stories of the captivity and punishment of black women to demonstrate how the system of incarceration was crucial to organizing the logics of gender and race, and constructing Jim Crow modernity.

Product Details

University of North Carolina Press
Publish Date
February 01, 2019
9.3 X 0.8 X 9.2 inches | 1.1 pounds
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About the Author

Sarah Haley is assistant professor of gender studies and African American studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Haley offers an important analysis of a particular group of women: prisoners in Georgia from 1868 to the early 20th century. Astutely mining archival records, the author offers no soft edge to chronicle the 'unrepresentable' violence against incarcerate women, especially those of color. Highly recommended.--Choice

Explores the fate of black women convicted in the southern United States and Georgia in particular. . . . Reconstructs the course of dozens of women.--Champ Penal

Contributes immensely to US southern, economic, gender, and political history.--Southern Spaces