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Star Creek Papers

Horace Mann Bond and Julia W. Bond Edited by Adam Fairclough Foreword by Julian

Publication Year: 1997

The Star Creek Papers is the never-before-published account of the complex realities of race relations in the rural South in the 1930s.

When Horace and Julia Bond moved to Louisiana in 1934, they entered a world where the legacy of slavery was miscegenation, lingering paternalism, and deadly racism. The Bonds were a young, well-educated and idealistic African American couple working for the Rosenwald Fund, a trust established by a northern philanthropist to build schools in rural areas. They were part of the "Explorer Project" sent to investigate the progress of the school in the Star Creek district of Washington Parish. Their report, which decried the teachers' lack of experience, the poor quality of the coursework, and the students' chronic absenteeism, was based on their private journal, "The Star Creek Diary," a shrewdly observed, sharply etched, and affectionate portrait of a rural black community.

Horace Bond was moved to write a second document, "Forty Acres and a Mule," a history of a black farming family, after Jerome Wilson was lynched in 1935. The Wilsons were thrifty landowners whom Bond knew and respected; he intended to turn their story into a book, but the chronicle remained unfinished at his death. These important primary documents were rediscovered by civil rights scholar Adam Fairclough, who edited them with Julia Bond's support.

Published by: University of Georgia Press


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pp. vii-x

Hanging on a wall of my study are a framed photograph and handmade certificate, both fifty-five years old. In the picture, three men in academic regalia stand behind two young children; the accompanying fading testimonial, neatly typed, announces to "ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS" the consecration of the children to "the high and noble ...

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pp. xi-xvi

Editing the Star Creek Papers has been a fascinating and moving experience. Coming across these long-forgotten manuscripts seemed at first sheer serendipity, but, in retrospect, it was more than pure chance. I had long been interested in the Wilson family of Washington Parish. In 1987, wading through the NAACP's lynching files in connection ...

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pp. xvii-xxx

In 1934 Horace Mann Bond was in the early years of a distinguished career as a historian, educationist, and university president. Already, at age twenty-nine, a professor at Fisk University with an armful of publications, his expertise as an authority on black education took him to Washington Parish, a corner of southeastern Louisiana bordered by ...

Genealogical Charts

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pp. xxxi-xxxiv

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Portrait of Washington Parish

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pp. 1-17

More than fourteen hundred Negroes have been lynched since 1904, the date of my birth. I remember the month of June, 1913, because of a recurrent nightmare that left me, night after night, screaming with a terrible fear. The nightmare faithfully reproduced, night after night, a cartoon which I had seen in a Negro magazine, The Crisis. In the drawing, and in the ...

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Star Creek Diary

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pp. 17-84

Mr. Travis is a white man, a renter who has a farm of sixty acres just beyond Mr. Ernest Magee's place. While we were working on the house today, Mr. Travis showed up with four dogs, two hounds, a bird dog, and a poodle. Mr. Travis has deep set eyes, with an expression almost exactly like the saturnine countenance displayed in the older prints of Andrew ...

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The Lynching

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pp. 75-84

Horace and I announced our plan of going back to Star Creek for the day at the breakfast table. Dr. [Burbridge] told very lugubrious tales of what would happen to us if we did go. He repeated the story of his being run out of Monroe, Louisiana, many years ago and told us many discouraging anecdotes.4 I was not afraid at all (so I thought) but these ...

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Forty Acres and a Mule

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pp. 85-130

Isom Wilson was just a shirt-tailed boy when they brought him to Washington Parish. The year must have been close to 1835, for Isom was a grown man when the surrender came in 1865. His father's real name, if he had one, was Will Ward, because Ward was the name of the Virginia planter who started out from St. James ...

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pp. 131-136

While John Wilson was in New Orleans, visiting his wife in Charity Hospital and talking with Horace Mann Bond at Dillard University, he left Alexzine, the eldest daughter, in charge of the younger children.1 The day soon came, however, when a white neighbor, Jim King—the man who had bought the old Wilson farm—told Alexzine that ...


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pp. 137-150


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pp. 151-154


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pp. 155-160

E-ISBN-13: 9780820340234
E-ISBN-10: 0820340235
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820319049
Print-ISBN-10: 082031904X

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 1997

OCLC Number: 712059577
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Star Creek Papers

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Washington Parish (La.) -- Race relations.
  • Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972 -- Diaries.
  • Lynching -- Louisiana -- Washington Parish -- History -- 20th century.
  • African American farmers -- Louisiana -- Washington Parish -- Biography.
  • African Americans -- Louisiana -- Washington Parish -- Social conditions.
  • Rural schools -- Louisiana -- Washington Parish -- History -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Louisiana -- Washington Parish -- Social life and customs.
  • Wilson family.
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