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Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women Cover

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Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women

Illegal Sex in Antebellum New Orleans

Judith Kelleher Schafer

Winner of the 2009 Gulf South Historical Association Book Award When a priest suggested to one of the first governors of Louisiana that he banish all disreputable women to raise the colony’s moral tone, the governor responded, “If I send away all the loose females, there will be no women left here at all.” Primitive, mosquito infested, and disease ridden, early French colonial New Orleans offered few attractions to entice respectable women as residents. King Louis XIV of France solved the population problem in 1721 by emptying Paris’s La Salpêtrière prison of many of its most notorious prostitutes and convicts and sending them to Louisiana. Many of these women continued to ply their trade in New Orleans. In Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women, Judith Kelleher Schafer examines case histories from the First District Court of New Orleans and tells the engrossing story of prostitution in the city prior to the Civil War. Louisiana law did not criminalize the selling of sex until the Progressive Era, although the law forbade keeping a brothel. Police arrested individual public women on vague charges, for being “lewd and abandoned” or vagrants. The city’s wealthy and influential landlords, some of whom made huge profits by renting their property as brothels, wanted their tenants back on the streets as soon as possible, and they often hired the best criminal attorneys to help release the women from jail. The courts, in turn, often treated these “public women” leniently, exacting small fines or sending them to the city’s workhouse for a few months. As a result, prosecutors dropped almost all prostitution cases before trial. Relying on previously unexamined court records and newly available newspaper articles, Schafer ably details the brutal and often harrowing lives of the women and young girls who engaged in prostitution. Some watched as gangs of rowdy men smashed their furniture; some endured beatings by their customers or other public women enraged by fits of jealousy; others were murdered. Schafer discusses the sexual exploitation of children, sex across the color line, violence among and against public women, and the city’s feeble attempts to suppress the trade. She also profiles several infamous New Orleans sex workers, including Delia Swift, alias Bridget Fury, a flaming redhead with a fondness for stabbing men, and Emily Eubanks and her daughter Elisabeth, free women of color known for assaulting white women. Although scholars have written much about prostitution in New Orleans’ Storyville era, few historical studies on prostitution in antebellum New Orleans exist. Schafer’s rich analysis fills this gap and offers insight into an intriguing period in the history of the “oldest profession” in the Crescent City.

Brown's Battleground Cover

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Brown's Battleground

Students, Segregationists, and the Struggle for Justice in Prince Edward County, Virginia

Jill Ogline Titus

In 1959, Prince Edward County, Virginia, abolished its public school system in opposition to the landmark decision against school segregation, Brown v. Board of Education. It took five years and another Supreme Court decision for the county to reopen public school doors. Titus explores the background of the crisis, the period in which the schools were closed, and the repercussions of this educational tragedy. She focuses on the years between 1951 (when black students walked out of the decrepit Moton High School) and 1969 (when black students staged a second strike), but also carries the story up to the present to demonstrate the consequences of the county's years of massive resistance to desegregation. Titus show that the Prince Edward County story is a vital chapter of America's civil rights story. While there have been journalistic, autobiographical, and fictional stories about the educational crisis, there has been no scholarly treatment of the subject. In 1965 the Press published journalist Bob Smith's They Closed Their Schools: Prince Edward County, Virginia, 1951-1964. However, Titus has a wealth of new archival material to draw upon and takes a broader perspective.

Builders of a New South Cover

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Builders of a New South

Merchants, Capital, and the Remaking of Natchez, 1865–1914

Aaron D. Anderson

Builders of a New South describes how, between 1865 and 1914, ten Natchez mercantile families emerged as leading purveyors in the wholesale plantation supply and cotton handling business, and soon became a dominant force in the social and economic Reconstruction of the Natchez District. They were able to take advantage of postwar conditions in Natchez to gain mercantile prominence by supplying planters and black sharecroppers in the plantation supply and cotton buying business. They parlayed this initial success into cotton plantation ownership and became important local businessmen in Natchez, participating in many civic improvements and politics that shaped the district into the twentieth century.

This book digs deep in countless records (including census, tax, property, and probate, as well as thousands of chattel mortgage contracts) to explore how these traders functioned as entrepreneurs in the aftermath of the Civil War, examining closely their role as furnishing merchants and land speculators, as well as their relations with the area's planters and freed black population. Their use of favorable laws protecting them as creditors, along with a solid community base that was civic-minded and culturally intact, greatly assisted them in their success. These families prospered partly because of their good business practices, and partly because local whites and blacks embraced them as useful agents in the emerging new marketplace. The situation created by the aftermath of the war and emancipation provided an ideal circumstance for the merchant families, and in the end, they played a key role in the district's economic survival and were the prime modernizers of Natchez.

The Burden of Southern History Cover

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The Burden of Southern History

C. Vann Woodward

C. Vann Woodward's The Burden of Southern History remains one of the essential history texts of our time. In it Woodward brilliantly addresses the interrelated themes of southern identity, southern distinctiveness, and the strains of irony that characterize much of the South's historical experience. First published in 1960, the book quickly became a touchstone for generations of students. This updated third edition contains a chapter, "Look Away, Look Away," in which Woodward finds a plethora of additional ironies in the South's experience. It also includes previously uncollected appreciations of Robert Penn Warren, to whom the book was originally dedicated, and William Faulkner. This edition also features a new foreword by historian William E. Leuchtenburg in which he recounts the events that led up to Woodward's writing The Burden of Southern History, and reflects on the book's—and Woodward's—place in the study of southern history. The Burden of Southern History is quintessential Woodward—wise, witty, ruminative, daring, and as alive in the twenty-first century as when it was written.

Burley Cover

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Burley

Kentucky Tobacco in a New Century

Ann K. Ferrell

Once iconic American symbols, tobacco farms are gradually disappearing. It is difficult for many people to lament the loss of a crop that has come to symbolize addiction, disease, and corporate deception; yet, in Kentucky, the plant has played an important role in economic development and prosperity. Burley tobacco -- a light, air-cured variety used in cigarette production -- has long been the Commonwealth's largest cash crop and an important aspect of regional identity, along with bourbon, bluegrass music, and Thoroughbred horses.

In Burley: Kentucky Tobacco in a New Century, Ann K. Ferrell investigates the rapidly transforming process of raising and selling tobacco by chronicling her conversations with the farmers who know the crop best. She demonstrates that although the 2004 "buyout" ending the federal tobacco program is commonly perceived to be the most significant change that growers have had to negotiate, it is, in reality, only one new factor among many. Burley reveals the tangible and intangible challenges tobacco farmers face today, from the logistics of cultivation to the growing stigma against the crop.

Ferrell uses ethnography, archival research, and rhetorical analysis to tell the complex story of burley tobacco production in twenty-first-century Kentucky. Not only does she give a voice to the farmers who persevere in this embattled industry, but she also sheds light on their futures, contesting the widely held assumption that they can easily replace the crop by diversifying their opera-tions with alternative crops. As tobacco fades from both the physical and economic landscapes, this nuanced volume documents and explores the culture and practices of burley production today.

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The Cana Sanctuary

History, Diplomacy, and Black Catholic Marriage in Antebellum St. Augustine, Florida

Frank Marotti

The Cana Sanctuary uses the collective testimony from more than two hundred Patriot War claims, previously believed to have been destroyed, to offer insight into the lesser-known Patriot War of 1812 and to constitute an intellectual history of everyday people caught in the path of an expanding American empire.
 
In the late seventeenth century a group of about a dozen escaped African slaves from the English colony of Carolina reached the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine. In a diplomatic bid for sanctuary, to avoid extradition and punishment, they requested the sacrament of Catholic baptism from the Spanish Catholic Church. Their negotiations brought about their baptism and with it their liberation. The Cana Sanctuary focuses on what author Frank Marotti terms “folk diplomacy”—political actions conducted by marginalized, non-state sectors of society—in this instance by formerly enslaved African Americans in antebellum East Florida. The book explores the unexpected transformations that occurred in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century St. Augustine as more and more ex-slaves arrived to find their previously disregarded civil rights upheld under sacred codes by an international, nongovernmental, authoritative organization.
 
With the Catholic Church acting as an equalizing, empowering force for escaped African slaves, the Spanish religious sanctuary policy became part of popular historical consciousness in East Florida. As such, it allowed for continual confrontations between the law of the Church and the law of the South. Tensions like these survived, ultimately lending themselves to an “Afro-Catholicism” sentiment that offered support for antislavery arguments.

Cecelia and Fanny Cover

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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.

Choctaw Resurgence in Mississippi Cover

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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.

 

 

Christian Reconstruction Cover

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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

Citizens More than Soldiers Cover

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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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