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Tourism and Southern History
Once upon a time, it was impossible to drive through the South without coming across signs to "See Rock City" or similar tourist attractions. From battlegrounds to birthplaces, and sites in between, heritage tourism has always been part of how the South attracts visitors--and defines itself--yet such sites are often understudied in the scholarly literature.
As the contributors to this volume make clear, the narrative of southern history told at these sites is often complicated by race, influenced by local politics, and shaped by competing memories. Included are essays on the meanings of New Orleans cemeteries; Stone Mountain, Georgia; historic Charleston, South Carolina; Yorktown National Battlefield; Selma, Alabama, as locus of the civil rights movement; and the homes of Mark Twain, Margaret Mitchell, and other notables.
Destination Dixie reveals that heritage tourism in the South is about more than just marketing destinations and filling hotel rooms; it cuts to the heart of how southerners seek to shape their identity and image for a broader touring public--now often made up of northerners and southerners alike.
Positioned along the legendary Southwest Trail, the town of Washington in Hempstead County in southwest Arkansas was a thriving center of commerce, business, and county government in the nineteenth century. Historical figures such as Davy Crockett and Sam Houston passed through, and during the Civil War, when the Federal troops occupied Little Rock, the Hempstead County Courthouse in Washington served as the seat of state government. A prosperous town fully involved in the events and society of the territorial, antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras, Washington became in a way frozen in time by a series of events including two fires, a tornado, and being bypassed by the railroad in 1874. Now an Arkansas State Park and National Historic Landmark, Washington has been studied by the Arkansas Archeological Survey over the past twenty-five years. Digging for History at Old Washington joins the historical record with archaeological findings such as uncovered construction details, evidence of lost buildings, and remnants of everyday objects. Of particular interest are the homes of Abraham Block, a Jewish merchant originally from New Orleans, and Simon Sanders from North Carolina, who became the town’s county clerk. The public and private lives of the Block and Sanders families provide a fascinating look at an antebellum town at the height of its prosperity.
Municipal Politics and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma
A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s
In the years following World War I, the New Orleans French Quarter attracted artists and writers with its low rents, faded charm, and colorful street life. By the 1920s Jackson Square had become the center of a vibrant if short-lived bohemia. A young William Faulkner and his roommate William Spratling, an artist who taught at Tulane University, resided among the “artful and crafty ones of the French Quarter.” In Dixie Bohemia John Shelton Reed introduces Faulkner’s circle of friends—ranging from the distinguished Sherwood Anderson to a gender-bending Mardi Gras costume designer—and brings to life the people and places of New Orleans in the Jazz Age. Reed begins with Faulkner and Spratling’s self-published homage to their fellow bohemians, “Sherwood Anderson and Other Famous Creoles.” The book contained 43 sketches of New Orleans artists, by Spratling, with captions and a short introduction by Faulkner. The title served as a rather obscure joke: Sherwood was not a Creole and neither were most of the people featured. But with Reed’s commentary, these profiles serve as an entry into the world of artists and writers that dined on Decatur Street, attended masked balls, and blatantly ignored the Prohibition Act. These men and women also helped to establish New Orleans institutions such as the Double Dealer literary magazine, the Arts and Crafts Club, and Le Petit Theatre. But unlike most bohemias, the one in New Orleans existed as a whites-only affair. Though some of the bohemians were relatively progressive, and many employed African American material in their own work, few of them knew or cared about what was going on across town among the city’s black intellectuals and artists. The positive developments from this French Quarter renaissance, however, attracted attention and visitors, inspiring the historic preservation and commercial revitalization that turned the area into a tourist destination. Predictably, this gentrification drove out many of the working artists and writers who had helped revive the area. As Reed points out, one resident who identified herself as an “artist” on the 1920 federal census gave her occupation in 1930 as “saleslady, real estate,” reflecting the decline of an active artistic class. A charming and insightful glimpse into an era, Dixie Bohemia describes the writers, artists, poseurs, and hangers-on in the New Orleans art scene of the 1920s and illuminates how this dazzling world faded as quickly as it began.
Inside a Buddhist Temple in the American South
Buddhism in the United States is often viewed in connection with practitioners in the Northeast and on the West Coast, but in fact, it has been spreading and evolving throughout the United States since the mid-nineteenth century. In ###Dixie Dharma#, Jeff Wilson argues that region is crucial to understanding American Buddhism. Through the lens of a multidenominational Buddhist temple in Richmond, Virginia, Wilson explores how Buddhists are adapting to life in the conservative evangelical Christian culture of the South, and how traditional Southerners are adjusting to these newer members on the religious landscape.
The Story of a Birmingham Jazz Man
The Politics of African American Medical Care
For enslaved and newly freed African Americans, attaining freedom and citizenship without health for themselves and their families would have been an empty victory. Even before emancipation, African Americans recognized that control of their bodies was a critical battleground in their struggle for autonomy, and they devised strategies to retain at least some of that control. In Doctoring Freedom, Gretchen Long tells the stories of African Americans who fought for access to both medical care and medical education, showing the important relationship between medical practice and political identity.
Republican Presidents and the First Southern Strategy, 1877-1933
How did the political party of Lincoln--of emancipation--become the party of the South and of white resentment? How did Jefferson Davis’s old party become the preferred choice for most southern blacks? Most scholars date these transformations to the administrations of Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan. Edward Frantz challenges this myopic view by closely examining the complex and often contradictory rhetoric and symbolism utilized by Republicans between 1877 and 1933.
Presidential journeys throughout the South were public rituals that provided a platform for the issues of race, religion, and Republicanism for both white and black southerners. Frantz skillfully notes the common themes and questions scrutinized during this time and finely crafts comparisons between the presidents’ speeches and strategies while they debated the power dynamics that underlay their society.
This fresh and fast-paced volume brings new voices to the forefront by utilizing the rich resources of the African American press during the administrations of Presidents Hayes, Harrison, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, and Hoover. Although these Republicans ultimately failed to build lasting coalitions in the states of the former Confederacy, their tours provided the background for future GOP victories.
Jewish Life in North Carolina
A sweeping chronicle of Jewish life in the Tar Heel State from colonial times to the present, this beautifully illustrated volume incorporates oral histories, original historical documents, and profiles of fascinating individuals. More than 125 historic and contemporary photographs complement Rogoff's engaging epic, providing a visual panorama of Jewish social, cultural, economic, and religious life in North Carolina.
The lower Mississippi River winds past the City of New Orleans between enormous levees and a rim of sand, mud, and trees called "the batture." On this remote and ignored piece of land thrives a humanity unique to the region-ramblers, artists, drinkers, fishers, rabbit hunters, dog walkers, sunset watchers, and refugees from Immigration, alimony, and other aspects of modern life. Author Oliver A. Houck has frequented this place for the past twenty-five years. Down on the Batture describes a life, pastoral, at times marginal, but remarkably fecund and surprising. From this place he meditates on Louisiana, the state of the waterway, and its larger environs. He describes all the actors that have played lead roles on the edge of the mightiest river of the continent, and includes in his narrative plantations, pollution, murder, land grabs, keelboat brawlers, slave rebellions, the Corps of Engineers, and the oil industry. Houck draws from his experience in New Orleans since the early 1970s in the practice and teaching of law. He has been a player in many of the issues he describes, although he does not undertake to argue them here. Instead, story by story, he uses the batture to explore the forces that have shaped and spell out the future of the region. The picture emerges of a place that---for all its tangle of undergrowth, drifting humanity, shifting dimensions in the rise and fall of floodwater---provides respite and sanctuary for values that are original to America and ever at risk from the homogenizing forces of civilization.