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Of Times and Race

Essays Inspired by John F. Marszalek

Michael B. Ballard

Publication Year: 2012

Of Times and Race contains eight essays on African American history from the Jacksonian era through the early twentieth century. Taken together, these essays, inspired by noted scholar John F. Marszalek, demonstrate the many nuances of African Americans' struggle to grasp freedom, respect, assimilation, and basic rights of American citizens.

Essays include Mark R. Cheathem's look at Andrew Jackson Donelson's struggle to keep his plantations operating within the ever-growing debate over slavery in mid-nineteenth century America. Thomas D. Cockrell examines Southern Unionism during the Civil War and wrestles with the difficulty of finding hard evidence due to sparse sources. Stephen S. Michot examines issues of race in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, and finds that blacks involved themselves in both armies, curiously clouding issues of slavery and freedom. Michael B. Ballard delves into how Mississippi slaves and Union soldiers interacted during the Vicksburg campaign. Union treatment of freedmen and of U. S. colored troops demonstrated that blacks escaping slavery were not always welcomed. Horace Nash finds that sports, especially boxing, played a fascinating role in blending black and white relations in the West during the early twentieth century. Timothy Smith explores the roles of African Americans who participated in the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the creation of the Shiloh National Military Park. James Scott Humphreys analyzes the efforts of two twentieth-century historians who wished to debunk the old, racist views of Reconstruction known as the Dunning school of interpretation. Edna Green Medford provides a concluding essay that ties together the essays in the book and addresses the larger themes running throughout the text.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vi-viii

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pp. ix-xii

This book is a tribute to John Marszalek by those who received their doctoral degrees at Mississippi State University under his tutelage. That factual statement does not scratch the surface of the relationship we developed with John during our time in graduate school, a strong relationship that continues to the present. ...

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1. Slavery, Plantation Life, and Debt in Tennessee and Mississippi: The Example of Andrew Jackson Donelson

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pp. 3-30

As Andrew Jackson Donelson walked along the Hushpuckena River bordering his plantation in Bolivar County, Mississippi, he contemplated suicide. It would be so easy to slide into the water, he thought to himself; Elizabeth and the children would undoubtedly be better off. ...

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2. Patriots or Traitors: Unionists in Civil War Mississippi

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pp. 31-54

After extensive study of most all other areas of the American Civil War, a small group of historians are giving more attention to the topic of Unionism and the activities of Unionists in the southern states. At present, there seems to be somewhat of a dearth of published information, ...

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3. The African American Experience in Louisiana’s Lafourche Region during the Civil War

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pp. 55-68

If the abundance of literature and popularity were the sole measure, the American Civil War was principally fought and won east of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Granted, new attention in recent years has been devoted to military operations west of the Appalachians, ...

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4. Union Soldiers React to Slaves, Slavery, Freedmen, and Colored U.S. Troops during the Vicksburg Campaign

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pp. 69-88

Many historians agree that by the end of the Civil War a large number of white Union soldiers had accepted freedom for slaves, and many had come to admire “colored” men as good combat soldiers. This generality is subject to debate, not because it lacks truth, but because it is difficult to know how widespread these attitudes were. ...

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5. Town and Sword: Black Boxers at Columbus, New Mexico, 1916–1922

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pp. 89-114

During the post–civil war years from reconstruction to the turn of the twentieth century, the nation struggled with the proper place for newly freed black Americans. This concern was especially evident in the important debate on the African American role in the postwar U.S. Army. ...

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6. Black Soldiers and the CCC at Shiloh National Military Park

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pp. 115-128

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp at Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee looked the same as any other camp of the era. The living quarters were neatly arranged. There were latrines, cooking areas, parking areas for wheeled vehicles, commissary, quartermaster, and medical facilities. ...

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7. Challenging the Dunning Orthodoxy: The Reconstruction Revisionism of Francis Butler Simkins and Robert Hilliard Woody

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pp. 129-146

“I am delighted to know that you are working with so much interest and pleasure in a new book,” the Brazilian scholar Gilberto Freyre wrote to Francis Butler Simkins in August 1927. The “new book” was a projected study of the Reconstruction era in South Carolina, a project Simkins had been researching since the previous summer. ...

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8. Confronting Race in American History

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pp. 147-160

In the acclaimed 1903 collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, the eminent African American scholar W. E. B. Du Bois suggested that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.”1 The pronouncement should have surprised no one; it was not as if some new condition had befallen black people. ...


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pp. 161-162


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pp. 163-164

E-ISBN-13: 9781621030522
E-ISBN-10: 1617036390
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617036392

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2012