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Cecelia and Fanny

The Remarkable Friendship Between an Escaped Slave and Her Former Mistress

Brad Asher

Cecelia was a fifteen-year-old slave when she accompanied her mistress, Frances “Fanny” Thruston Ballard, on a holiday trip to Niagara Falls. During their stay, Cecelia crossed the Niagara River and joined the free black population of Canada. Although documented relationships between freed or escaped slaves and their former owners are rare, the discovery of a cache of letters from the former slave owner to her escaped slave confirms this extraordinary link between two urban families over several decades. Cecelia and Fanny: The Remarkable Friendship between an Escaped Slave and Her Former Mistress is a fascinating look at race relations in mid-nineteenth-century Louisville, Kentucky, focusing on the experiences of these two families during the seismic social upheaval wrought by the emancipation of four million African Americans. Far more than the story of two families, Cecelia and Fanny delves into the history of Civil War–era Louisville. Author Brad Asher details the cultural roles assigned to the two women and provides a unique view of slavery in an urban context, as opposed to the rural plantations more often examined by historians.

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Challenge and Change

Right-Wing Women, Grassroots Activism, and the Baby Boom Generation

In the mid-twentieth century, a grassroots movement of women--mostly white, middle-class, and conservative--sought to shape the political, cultural, and social ideologies of the baby boomers in what they perceived was a quickly changing world poisoned by communism.

In Challenge and Change, June Melby Benowitz draws on a wide variety of primary sources to highlight the connections between the women of the Old Right, the New Right, and today's Tea Party. Through interviews, as well as through their letters to presidents, editors, and one another, Benowitz allows these women to speak for themselves. She examines the issues that stirred them to action--education, health, desegregation, moral corruption, war, patriotism, and the Equal Rights Amendment--and explores the development of the right-wing women’s movement and its growth from the mid-twentieth into the twenty-first century.

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Charleston and the Great Depression

A Documentary History, 1929-1941

Kieran W. Taylor

Charleston and the Great Depression tells many stories of the city during the 1930s—an era of tremendous want, hope, and change—through a collection of forty annotated primary documents. Included are letters, personal accounts, organizational reports, meeting minutes, speeches, photographs, oral history excerpts, and trial transcripts. Together they reveal the various ways in which ordinary lowcountry residents—largely excluded from formal politics—responded to the era’s economic and social crises and made for themselves a “New Deal.” Arranged in chronological order, the documents include Mayor Burnet R. Maybank’s 1931 inaugural address, in which the thirty-two-year-old merchant-turned-politician warned grimly of worsening hardship; the trial testimony of Benjamin Rivers, an African American worker executed by the state after being convicted of murdering a Charleston police officer; horror writer H. P. Lovecraft’s detailed walking tour of the city, in which the visiting New Englander painted a fascinating but romanticized portrait of Charleston that somehow managed to overlook the adversities facing the local population; and Susan Hamilton’s powerful and contradictory memories of her enslavement, gathered as part of the Federal Writers Project. The Great Depression was an era of economic crises and political change but was also a period of great hope and possibility as Americans from across the political spectrum persevered through hard times, driven by the conviction that government power could and should be used to alleviate suffering and create opportunities to better people’s lives. These documents capture the voices of diverse Charleston residents—from farmers and dockworkers to students, ministers, public officials, and social workers—as they struggled and strove for a better city and a better country.

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Charleston in Black and White

Race and Power in the South after the Civil Rights Movement

Steve Estes

Once one of the wealthiest cities in America, Charleston, South Carolina, established a society built on the racial hierarchies of slavery and segregation. By the 1970s, the legal structures behind these racial divisions had broken down and the wealth built upon them faded. Like many southern cities, Charleston had to construct a new public image. In this important book, Steve Estes chronicles the rise and fall of black political empowerment and examines the ways Charleston responded to the civil rights movement, embracing some changes and resisting others.

Based on detailed archival research and more than fifty oral history interviews, Charleston in Black and White addresses the complex roles played not only by race but also by politics, labor relations, criminal justice, education, religion, tourism, economics, and the military in shaping a modern southern city. Despite the advances and opportunities that have come to the city since the 1960s, Charleston (like much of the South) has not fully reckoned with its troubled racial past, which still influences the present and will continue to shape the future.

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Choctaw Resurgence in Mississippi

Race, Class, and Nation Building in the Jim Crow South, 1830-1977

Katherine M. B. Osburn

When the Choctaws were removed from their Mississippi homeland to Indian Territory in 1830, several thousand remained behind, planning to take advantage of Article 14 in the removal treaty, which promised that any Choctaws who wished to remain in Mississippi could apply for allotments of land. When the remaining Choctaws applied for their allotments, however, the government reneged, and the Choctaws were left dispossessed and impoverished. Thus begins the history of the Mississippi Choctaws as a distinct people.

 

Despite overwhelming poverty and significant racial prejudice in the rural South, the Mississippi Choctaws managed, over the course of a century and a half, to maintain their ethnic identity, persuade the Office of Indian Affairs to provide them with services and lands, create a functioning tribal government, and establish a prosperous and stable reservation economy. The Choctaws’ struggle against segregation in the 1950s and 1960s is an overlooked story of the civil rights movement, and this study of white supremacist support for Choctaw tribalism considerably complicates our understanding of southern history. Choctaw Resurgence in Mississippi traces the Choctaw’s remarkable tribal rebirth, attributing it to their sustained political and social activism.

 

 

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Christian Reconstruction

The American Missionary Association and Southern Blacks, 1861-1890

"Joe Richardson's Christian Reconstruction is a solid addition to historical scholarship on the work of Yankee missionaries among the freedmen during the Civil War and Reconstruction. . . . Without question, this is the most comprehensive history of the American Missionary Association (AMA), and no one has uncovered as much detailed information on any other Northern aid society. Rich in detail and strongly recommended, the book argues that the AMA struggled to prepare the liberated slaves for civil and political equality by freeing them of the shackles of ignorance, superstition and sin.This book ought to be read by all those interested in Northern educational and social reformers in the Reconstruction South."
--The Journal of American History

"In an extraordinarily balanced study Richardson has synthesized a wealth of sources and research to produce a thoroughly convincing interpretation of the AMA and southern blacks. Besides exploring relations between the two, his main objective has been to assess the AMA's effectiveness in bringing blacks into the American mainstream. Because of his successful labors, we now have a much-needed comprehensive study of that most influential missionary organization. Whether addressing conflicts between the AMA and the US military over the treatment of contrabands, charges of racism among black and white missionaries, or the quality of association colleges, Richardson does not allow his obvious admiration for the AMA to interfere. . . . With bold logic and considerable subtlety Richardson has made an impressive contribution.
--The Journal of Southern History

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Cities in the Commonwealth

Two Centuries of Urban Life in Kentucky

Allen J. Share

From the 1780s, when Louisville and Lexington were tiny clusters of houses in the wilderness, to the 1980s, when more than half of all Kentuckians live in urban areas, the growth of cities has affected nearly all aspects of life in the Commonwealth. These urban centers have led the state in economic, social, and cultural change.

Cities in the Commonwealth examines the crises that have shaped the history of Kentucky's cities and sheds light on such continuing concerns as urban competition, provision of essential services, the importance of the arts, and the struggle for racial justice.

By allowing contemporaries to tell much of the story in their own words, Allen J. Share conveys a sense of the exuberance and dynamism of urban life and thought in Kentucky.

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Citizen-Officers

The Union and Confederate Volunteer Junior Officer Corps in the American Civil War

Andrew S. Bledsoe

From the time of the American Revolution, most junior officers in the American military attained their positions through election by the volunteer soldiers in their company, a tradition that reflected commitment to democracy even in times of war. By the outset of the Civil War, citizen-officers had fallen under sharp criticism from career military leaders who decried their lack of discipline and efficiency in battle. Andrew S. Bledsoe’s Citizen­-Officers explores the role of the volunteer officer corps during the Civil War and the unique leadership challenges they faced when military necessity clashed with the antebellum democratic values of volunteer soldiers.

Bledsoe’s innovative evaluation of the lives and experiences of nearly 2,600 Union and Confederate company-grade junior officers from every theater of operations across four years of war reveals the intense pressures placed on these young leaders. Despite their inexperience and sometimes haphazard training in formal military maneuvers and leadership, citizen-officers frequently faced their first battles already in command of a company. These intense and costly encounters forced the independent, civic-minded volunteer soldiers to recognize the need for military hierarchy and to accept their place within it. Thus concepts of American citizenship, republican traditions in American life, and the brutality of combat shaped, and were in turn shaped by, the attitudes and actions of citizen-officers.

Through an analysis of wartime writings, post-war reminiscences, company and regimental papers, census records, and demographic data, Citizen­-Officers illuminates the centrality of the volunteer officer to the Civil War and to evolving narratives of American identity and military service.

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Citizen-Scholar

Essays in Honor of Walter Edgar

Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr.

Citizen-Scholar comprises essays written in honor of Walter Edgar, South Carolina’s preeminent historian and founding director of the University of South Carolina (USC) Institute for Southern Studies. In the opening overview of Edgar’s impressive academic career, editor Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr., discusses Edgar’s role as the Palmetto State’s omnipresent public historian, radio program host, author of the landmark South Carolina: A History, and editor of The South Carolina Encyclopedia. The former George Washington Distinguished Professor of History, Claude Henry Neuffer Chair of Southern Studies, and Louise Fry Scudder Professor, Edgar has been recognized with inductions into the South Carolina Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Higher Education Hall of Fame and has received the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto and the South Carolina Governor’s Award in the Humanities. The first section of Citizen-Scholar features personal essays about Edgar and his legacy from author and historian Winston Groom, USC vice president Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, USC president Harris Pastides, and historian Mark M. Smith. The essays that follow are written by some of the nation’s most renowned scholars of southern history and culture including Charles Joyner, Andrew H. Meyers, Barbara L. Bellows, John M. Sherrer III, Orville Vernon Burton, Bernard E. Powers Jr., Peter A. Coclanis, John McCardell, James C. Cobb, Amy Thompson McCandless, and Lacy K. Ford, Jr. The second section of the collection includes essays spanning a range of regional, national, and international topics, all associated with Edgar’s research. These essays were written as a tribute to Edgar, both as a historian and as a public scholar, a man actively involved in his profession as well as in his community, both locally and statewide.

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Citizens More than Soldiers

The Kentucky Militia and Society in the Early Republic

Harry S. Laver

Historians typically depict nineteenth-century militiamen as drunken buffoons who stumbled into crooked lines, poked each other with cornstalk weapons, and inevitably shot their commander in the backside with a rusty, antiquated musket. Citizens More than Soldiers demonstrates that, to the contrary, the militia remained an active civil institution in the early nineteenth century, affecting the era’s great social, political, and economic transitions. In fact, given their degree of community involvement, militiamen were more influential in Kentucky’s maturation than any other formal community organization.
 
Citizens More than Soldiers reveals that the militia was not the atrophied remnant of the Revolution’s minutemen but an ongoing organization that maintained an important presence in American society. This study also shows that citizen-soldiers participated in their communities by establishing local, regional, and national identities, reinforcing the social hierarchy, advancing democratization and party politics, keeping the public peace, encouraging economic activity, and defining concepts of masculinity. A more accurate understanding of the militia’s contribution to American society extends our comprehension of the evolutionary processes of a maturing nation, showing, for example, how citizen-soldiers promoted nationalism, encouraged democratization, and maintained civil order. Citizens More than Soldiers is not a traditional military history of campaigns and battles but rather the story of citizen-soldiers and their contribution to the transformation of American society in the nineteenth century.

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