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Manners and Southern History

Ted Ownby

Publication Year: 2007

The concept of southern manners may evoke images of debutantes being introduced to provincial society or it might conjure thoughts of the humiliating behavior white supremacists expected of African Americans under Jim Crow. The essays in Manners and Southern History analyze these topics and more. Scholars here investigate the myriad ways in which southerners from the Civil War through the civil rights movement understood manners.

Contributors write about race, gender, power, and change. Essays analyze the ways southern white women worried about how to manage anger during the Civil War, the complexities of trying to enforce certain codes of behavior under segregation, and the controversy of college women's dating lives in the raucous 1920s. Writers study the background and meaning of Mardi Gras parades and debutante balls, the selective enforcement of antimiscegenation laws, and arguments over the form that opposition to desegregation should take. Concluding essays by Jane Dailey and John F. Kasson summarize and critique the other articles and offer a broader picture of the role that manners played in the social history of the South.

Essays by Catherine Clinton, Joseph Crespino, Jane Dailey, Lisa Lindquist Dorr, Anya Jabour, John F. Kasson, Jennifer Ritterhouse, and Charles F. Robinson II

Ted Ownby teaches history and southern studies at the University of Mississippi.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xiv

The topic of manners is immediately interesting to most scholars in southern history, but the question of how to study manners—or even how to define the term—is not so clear. The literature on manners and southern history is small, with just a few important works showing the potential of investigating manners, if we ask the right questions. ...

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Southern Ladies and She-Rebels; or, Femininity in the Foxhole: Changing Definitions of Womanhood in the Confederate South

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pp. 1-19

Tennesseean Ellen Renshaw House exploded with rage against the "blue devils'' who occupied her hometown, Knoxville, in Fall 1863, shortly after House's twentieth birthday. Despite repeated resolves to "behave as a lady," House, who described herself as "a very violent rebel," soon discovered that her new identity as a "She Rebel" ...

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The Etiquette of Race Relations in the Jim Crow South

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pp. 20-44

In July 1939, an African American domestic servant named Eloise Blake was fined fifteen dollars by the recorder's court of Columbia, South Carolina. Her crime was "disorderly conduct over the telephone." As the Associated Negro Press reported, Blake had asked to speak to "Mrs. Pauline Clay," rather than simply "Pauline," ...

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Fifty Percent Moonshine and Fifty Percent Moonshine: Social Life and College Youth Culture in Alabama, 1913–1933

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pp. 45-76

"The only time a girl does not want the spotlight on her is when she is on a wild party," remarked a short entry in the first edition of the Rammer Jammer, the University of Alabama's new student humor magazine. Introduced in 1924 during Prohibition, the Rammer Jammer confirmed the connection between alcohol and the social relationships between men and women.1 ...

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Scepter and Masque: Debutante Rituals in Mardi Gras New Orleans

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pp. 76-96

In the efforts of full disclosure, I must confess I was not a debutante. When I was coming of age in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, the practice of being introduced into "society" through a series of parties culminating in formal presentation at a ball following your first year of college was far from tempting.1 ...

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What's Sex Got to Do with It? Antimiscegenation Law and Southern White Rhetoric

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pp. 97-113

In January of 1929, the Arkansas Supreme Court reviewed a case involving an alleged violation of the state's antimiscegenation law. Martha Wilson, a white woman, and Ulysses Mitchell, a black man, both residents of Fort Smith, had been convicted of unlawful cohabitation. ...

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Civilities and Civil Rights in Mississippi

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pp. 114-136

In the 1950s and 1960s, during African Americans' historic confrontation with southern white supremacy, nonviolent civil rights protests dramatized the shortcomings of any number of white southerners' political and moral commitments: their fealty to formal declarations of democratic government; ...

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pp. 137-151

There are two broad areas of intersection among these papers. Three of them speak explicitly of gendered ideals of manners, three of them speak of raced codes of manners, and one crosses those boundaries to consider, at some points, gendered aspects of what the author calls racial etiquette. ...

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Taking Manners Seriously

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pp. 152-162

Manners and southern history: the terms nestle as sweetly together as honey and biscuits. To speak of manners and southern history seems so unproblematic that we might begin to pry open the subject by considering how comparatively unlikely it would be to have a symposium on manners and midwestern history, to take my own native region as an example. ...

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pp. 163-164

Catherine Clinton teaches history at Queen's University, Belfast. She is the author of numerous works, including Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom (2004), Civil War Stories (1998), Tara Revisited (1997), and The Plantation Mistress (1982), and editor or coeditor of several collections of scholarly essays ...


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pp. 165-169

E-ISBN-13: 9781604736410
E-ISBN-10: 1578069793
Print-ISBN-13: 9781578069798

Publication Year: 2007