American South and the Atlantic World
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University Press of Florida
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Preface: Understanding the South
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In 2008, the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the United Kingdom agreed to fund an international research network dedicated to the theme “Understanding the South, Understanding America: The American South in Regional, National and Global Perspectives.” The network was based at the University of Manchester, with the Universities of Copenhagen, Cambridge, and Florida as partners. Between May 2008 and...
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Individually and collectively, the essays in this volume showcase, but also interrogate, the value of Atlantic World frameworks for understanding the histories and cultures of the American South. Although the majority of the chapters are broadly historical in nature, several are from literary or cultural studies perspectives and others are avowedly interdisciplinary...
1. Caryl Phillips, David Armitage, and the Place of the American South in Atlantic and Other Worlds
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In 2000, the St. Kitts–born, British-raised, American-based writer Caryl Phillips published The Atlantic Sound, an account of his travels around the Atlantic World. Against the ineluctable backdrop of the transoceanic slave trade which had brought his ancestors from Africa to labor in the Caribbean, Phillips chronicled the complex circum-Atlantic mix of connection...
2. Early Southern Religions in a Global Age
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In 1831 an African-born slave in Fayetteville, North Carolina, put his life story to paper. Most slaves in the antebellum South could not read or write, but this author had been raised and schooled a Muslim, and his narrative ran to fifteen pages of Arabic script. Like any autobiography, it captures a piece of the world in miniature, but the world this narrator...
3. “A Most Unfortunate Divel . . . without the Prospect of Getting Anything”: A Virginia Planter Negotiates the Late Stuart Atlantic World
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In recent years, historians have increasingly sought to understand the connections between the British colonies established in the American South and those of the West Indies, and in particular to develop an explicitly Atlantic framework by which to link the histories of both of these regions to one another, as well as to Africa and the European imperial powers...
4. Revolutionary Refugees: Black Flight in the Age of Revolution
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As the American Revolution drew to a close, British Loyalists and their slaves fled the newly freed southern colonies to coastal cities. Looking out onto the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, the evacuating population must have felt apprehension facing a journey into an unfamiliar world. Unbeknownst to these revolutionary refugees awaiting ships on the edge...
5. The Case of Jean Baptiste, un Créole de Saint-Domingue: Narrating Slavery, Freedom, and the Haitian Revolution in Baltimore City
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It was November of 1796 when eight-year-old Jean Baptiste and the other members of the household of the widow Jeanne Drouillard de Volunbrun gathered on the waterfront of Saint-Domingue’s western capital, Portau- Prince. They were preparing to board the brig Mary and Elizabeth, a party of persons black, white, enslaved, free, adults but mostly children.1...
6. Ending with a Whimper, Not a Bang: The Relationship between Atlantic History and the Study of the Nineteenth-Century South
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There were manifold Atlantic connections that linked the antebellum South in the nineteenth century with the British Atlantic World of the eighteenth century. Yet Atlantic history as a field within our profession is very much a concept and a practice that is popular mostly within the confines of colonial America.1 Southern historians have shied away from...
7. Was U.S. Emancipation Exceptional in the Atlantic, or Other Worlds?
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On July 4, 1876, hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered throughout thirty-nine states to commemorate the centennial of the founding of the Republic. They listened to orations, speeches, songs, and poems. These public presentations covered numerous themes: the current economic crisis facing the nation, America’s providential roots, the inevitability of national progress, and the importance of reunion after a fractious...
8. The Textual Atlantic: Race, Time, and Representation in the Writings of AME Bishop Levi Jenkins Coppin
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Born on December 24, 1848, to a free family in Frederick Town, Maryland— which he proudly identifies as the birthplace of Frederick Douglass— Levi Jenkins Coppin was elected bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1900, at a time when it was solidifying its connection with the South African Ethiopian Church.1 As historian James T. Campbell...
9. Whose “Folk” Are They Anyway? Zora Neale Hurston and Lady Augusta Gregory in the Atlantic World
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The first epigraph to this essay marks an important moment in Irish and African American relations. It is now seen as a kind of textual “origin story” for how literary critics and cultural historians have developed comparisons between the Irish and Harlem Renaissances in the early twentieth century. The second epigraph, by contrast, allows us to understand the...
10. Princess Laura Kofey and the Reverse Atlantic Experience
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On March 8, 1928, Princess Laura Adorkor Kofey was assassinated while speaking at a Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) meeting in Miami. A Ghanaian-born royal priestess whose transatlantic journey to the U.S. South took in England, Panama, Detroit, and Canada, Kofey had initially been acclaimed within that organization for her ability to revive...
11. Dish-Washing in the Sea of Ndayaan: What We Make of Our Souths in Atlantic World Initiation
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For those of us studying the American South in the aftermath of the election of President Barack Obama (and the backlash from the right’s Tea Party), there is much to ponder in this scene from Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. I particularly like the geography lesson that Florida-born Michigan resident Guitar Baines gives to his friend Milkman Dead with his...
List of Contributors
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Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013