More than fifty years after its initial publication, C. Vann Woodward’s landmark work, The Burden of Southern History, remains an essential text on the southern past. Today, a “southern burden” still exists, but its shape and impact on southerners and the world varies dramatically from the one envisioned by Woodward. Recasting Woodward’s ideas on the contemporary South, the contributors to The Ongoing Burden of Southern History highlight the relevance of his scholarship for the twenty-first-century reader and student.
This interdisciplinary retrospective tackles questions of equality, white southern identity, the political legacy of Reconstruction, the heritage of Populism, and the place of the South within the nation, along with many others. From Woodward’s essays on populism and irony, historians find new insight into the burgeoning Tea Party, while they also shed light on the contemporary legacy of the redeemer Democrats. Using up-to-date election data, scholars locate a “shrinking” southern identity and point to the accomplishments of the recent influx of African American voters and political candidates. This penetrating analysis reinterprets Woodward’s classic for a new generation of readers interested in the modern South.
Contributors: Josephine A. V. Allen, Charles S. Bullock III, James C. Cobb, Donald R. Deskins Jr., Leigh Anne Duck, Angie Maxwell, Robert C. McMath, Wayne Parent, Sherman C. Puckett, Todd Shields, Hanes Walton Jr., Jeannie Whayne, Patrick G. Williams.