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The Fight over One of the South's Greatest Environmental Disasters
The discovery in the 1840s of copper deposits in southeastern Tennessee’s Ducktown Basin brought new industry and jobs to the mountainous region. But it also brought dire consequences for the surrounding environment. The mining industry that sprang up to harvest and smelt the newly discovered copper produced copious amounts of poisonous sulfur dioxide gases that, trapped by the surrounding mountains, created a fifty-square-mile desert wasteland, including portions of northern Georgia and western North Carolina, in the heart of Southern Appalachia’s hardwood forests. Beginning in 1896, the environmental destruction wrought by Ducktown copper mining spawned hundreds of private law suits, eventually culminating in the Supreme Court’s first air pollution case, Georgia v. Tennessee Copper Co., which was decided in 1904. In the decision, the Court first recognized the sovereign right of individual states to protect their natural resources from transborder pollution. In DUCKTOWN SMOKE, Maysilles provides the first book-length account of the devastation of the Ducktown copper basin and the subsequent court battles. Drawing on methods from environmental and legal history and using recently discovered archival materials in the possession of the Ducktown Basin Museum (home to a 300-acre monument where the effects of mine pollution can still be seen), Maysilles shows that the Supreme Court case brought together the disparate forces of agrarian populism, industrial logging, and the nascent forest conservation movement to transform the federal common law of nuisance and set a legal precedent that remains relevant to environmental law today.
The Jones Family Farm in the Arkansas Delta 1848–2006
In telling the story of five generations of her family and its farm in the Arkansas Delta, Margaret Jones Bolsterli brings together her own research, historical perspective, and family lore as it reaches her from the days of her great-grandfather down to her nephew. The result is a family saga that is at once universal and personal, historical and timeless. During Wind and Rain moves from the land’s acquisition in 1848 through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the 1927 Flood, the Great Depression, and the drought of 1930 to the modern considerations of mechanization, fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation. The transformation of dense swamp and forest to today’s commercial agriculture is the story of two hundred acres worked by people sowing their fate with sweat, ingenuity, and luck. From the hoes of Bolsterli’s great-grandfather Uriah’s time to her nephew Casey’s machinery capable of cultivating an acre in five minutes, During Wind and Rain poignantly portrays five generations of farmers motivated by dreams of “a crop so good that the memory of it can warm the drafty floors of adversity for the rest of one's life.”
A Southern Civil Rights Activist's Journey, 1959-1964
“A strong, uncompromising voice that dreams of a better America, Judge Bailey has experienced the ugliness of both racism and fear. Yet he has not stepped back. What a wonderful life to share.”—Nikki Giovanni, from her Foreword When four black college students refused to leave the whites-only lunch counter of a Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth’s on February 1, 1960, they set off a wave of similar protests among black college students across the South. Memphis native D’Army Bailey, the freshman class president at Southern University—the largest predominantly black college in the nation—soon joined with his classmates in their own battle against segregation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In The Education of a Black Radical, Bailey details his experiences on the front lines of the black student movement of the early 1960s, providing a rare firsthand account of the early days of America’s civil rights struggle and a shining example of one man’s struggle to uphold the courageous principles of liberty, justice, and equality. A natural leader, Bailey delivered fiery speeches at civil rights rallies, railed against school officials’ capitulation to segregation, joined a sit-in at the Greyhound bus station, and picketed against discriminatory hiring practices at numerous Baton Rouge businesses. On December 15, 1961, he marched at the head of two thousand Southern University students seven miles from campus to downtown Baton Rouge to support fellow students jailed for picketing. Baton Rouge police dispersed the peaceful crowd with dogs and tear gas and arrested many participants. After Bailey led a class boycott to protest the administration’s efforts to quell the lingering unrest on campus, Southern University summarily expelled him. After his ejection, Bailey continued his academic journey north to Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where liberal white students had established a scholarship for civil rights activists. Bailey sustained and expanded his activism in the North, and he provides invaluable eyewitness accounts of many major events from the civil rights era, including the protests in Washington D.C.’s financial district during the summer of 1963 and the gripping violence and arrests in Baltimore later that year. He sheds new light on the 1963 March on Washington by exploring the political forces that seized the march and changed its direction. Labeled “subversive” and a “black nationalist militant” by the FBI, Bailey crossed paths with many visionary activists. In riveting detail, Bailey recalls several days he spent hosting Malcolm X as a guest speaker at Clark, hanging out with Abbie Hoffman in the early days of the Worsester Student Movement, and personal interactions with other civil rights icons, including the Reverend Will D. Campbell, Anne Braden, James Meredith, Tom Hayden, and future congressmen Barney Frank, John Lewis, and Allard Lowenstein. D’Army Bailey gives voice to a generation of student foot soldiers in the civil rights movement. Moving, powerful, and intensely personal, The Education of a Black Radical offers an inspirational tale of hope and a courageous stand for social change. Moreover, it introduces an invigorating role model for a new generation of activists taking up the racial challenges of the twenty-first century.
Reform in World War I-era South Carolina
Despite its significance in world and American history, the World War I era is seldom identified as a turning point in southern history, as it failed to trigger substantial economic, political, or social change in the South. Yet in 1917, black and white reformers in South Carolina saw their world on the brink of momentous change. In a state politically controlled by a white minority, the war era incited oppositional movements. As South Carolina’s economy benefited from the war, white reformers sought to use their newfound prosperity to better the state’s education system and economy and to provide white citizens with a better standard of living. Black reformers, however, channeled the feelings of hope instilled by a war that would “make the world safe for democracy” into efforts that challenged the structures of the status quo. In Entangled by White Supremacy: Reform in World War I–era South Carolina, historian Janet G. Hudson examines the complex racial and social dynamics at play during this pivotal period of U.S. history. With critical study of the early war mobilization efforts, public policy debates, and the state’s political culture, Hudson illustrates how the politics of white supremacy hindered the reform efforts of both white and black activists. The World War I period was a complicated time in South Carolina—an era of prosperity and hope as well as fear and anxiety. As African Americans sought to change the social order, white reformers confronted the realization that their newfound economic opportunities could also erode their control. Hudson details how white supremacy formed an impenetrable barrier to progress in the region. Entangled by White Supremacy explains why white southerners failed to construct a progressive society by revealing the incompatibility of white reformers’ twin goals of maintaining white supremacy and achieving progressive reform. In addition, Hudson offers insight into the social history of South Carolina and the development of the state’s crucial role in the civil rights era to come.
A Fiftieth Anniversary Retrospective on the Central High Crisis
This collection of essays mines the Arkansas Historical Quarterly from the 1960s to the present to form a body of work that represents some of the finest scholarship on the crisis, from distinguished southern historians Numan V. Bartley, Neil R. McMillen, Tony A. Freyer, Roy Reed, David L. Chappell, Lorraine Gates Schuyler, John A. Kirk, Azza Salama Layton, and Ben F. Johnson III. A comprehensive array of topics are explored, including the state, regional, national, and international dimensions of the crisis as well as local white and black responses to events, gender issues, politics, and law. Introduced with an informative historiographical essay from John A. Kirk, An Epitaph for Little Rock is essential reading on this defining moment in America's civil rights struggle.
Race, Loyalty, and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community, 1861-1865
On December 18, 1863, just north of Elizabeth City in rural northeastern North Carolina, a large group of white Union officers and black enlisted troops under the command of Brigadier General Edward Augustus Wild executed a local citizen for his involvement in an irregular resistance to Union army incursions along the coast. Daniel Bright, by conflicting accounts either a Confederate soldier home on leave or a deserter and guerrilla fighter guilty of plundering farms and harassing local Unionists, was hanged inside an unfinished postal building. The initial fall was not mortal, and according to one Union soldier’s account, Bright suffered a slow death by “strangulation, his heart not ceasing to beat for twenty minutes.” Until now, Civil War scholars considered Bright and the Union incursion that culminated in his gruesome death as only a historical footnote. In Executing Daniel Bright, Barton A. Myers uses these events as a window into the wider experience of local guerrilla conflict in North Carolina’s Great Dismal Swamp region and as a representation of a larger pattern of retaliatory executions and murders meant to coerce appropriate political loyalty and military conduct on the Confederate homefront. Race, political loyalties, power, and guerrilla violence all shaped the life of Daniel Bright and the home he died defending, and Myers shows how the interplay of these four dynamics created a world where irregular military activity could thrive. Myers opens with an analysis of antebellum slavery, race relations, slavery debates, and the role of the environment in shaping the antebellum economy of northeastern North Carolina. He then details the emergence of a rift between Unionist and Confederate factions in the area in 1861, the events in 1862 that led to the formation of local guerrilla bands, and General Wild’s 1863 military operation in Pasquotank, Camden, and Currituck counties. He explores the local, state, regional, and Confederate Congress’s responses to the events of the Wild raid and specifically to Daniel Bright’s hanging, revealing the role of racism in shaping those responses. Finally, Myers outlines the outcome of efforts to negotiate neutrality and the state of local loyalties by mid-1864. Revising North Carolina’s popular Civil War mythology, Myers concludes that guerrilla violence such as Bright’s execution occurred not only in the highlands or Piedmont region of the state’s homefront; rather, local irregular wars stretched from one corner of the state to the other. He explains how violence reshaped this community and profoundly affected the ways loyalties shifted and manifested themselves during the war. Above all, Myers contends, Bright’s execution provides a tangible illustration of the collapse of social order on the southern homefront that ultimately led to the downfall of the Confederacy. Microhistory at its finest, Executing Daniel Bright adds a thought-provoking chapter to the ever-expanding history of how Americans have coped with guerrilla war.
In the Shadow of a Kentucky Patriarch
Known as the Great Compromiser, Henry Clay earned his title by addressing sectional tensions over slavery and forestalling civil war in the United States. Today he is still regarded as one of the most important political figures in American history. As Speaker of the House of Representatives and secretary of state, Clay left an indelible mark on American politics at a time when the country’s solidarity was threatened by inner turmoil, and scholars have thoroughly chronicled his political achievements. However, little attention has been paid to his extensive family legacy. In The Family Legacy of Henry Clay: In the Shadow of a Kentucky Patriarch, Lindsey Apple explores the personal history of this famed American and examines the impact of his legacy on future generations of Clays. Apple’s study delves into the family’s struggles with physical and emotional problems such as depression and alcoholism. The book also analyzes the role of financial stress as the family fought to reestablish its fortune in the years after the Civil War. Apple’s extensively researched volume illuminates a little-discussed aspect of Clay’s life and heritage, and highlights the achievements and contributions of one of Kentucky’s most distinguished families.
The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music
In industry circles, musicians from Kentucky are known to possess an enviable pedigree -- a lineage as prized as the bloodline of any bluegrass-raised Thoroughbred. With native sons and daughters like Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Loretta Lynn, the Everly Brothers, Joan Osborne, and Merle Travis, it's no wonder that the state is most often associated with folk, country, and bluegrass music.
But Kentucky's contribution to American music is much broader: It's the rich and resonant cello of Ben Sollee, the velvet crooning of jazz great Helen Humes, and the famed vibraphone of Lionel Hampton. It's exemplified by hip-hop artists like the Nappy Roots and indie folk rockers like the Watson Twins. It goes beyond the hallowed mandolin of Bill Monroe and banjo of the Osborne Brothers to encompass the genres of blues, jazz, rock, gospel, and hip-hop.
A Few Honest Words explores how Kentucky's landscape, culture, and traditions have influenced notable contemporary musicians. Featuring intimate interviews with household names (Naomi Judd, Joan Osborne, and Dwight Yoakam), emerging artists, and local musicians, author Jason Howard's rich and detailed profiles reveal the importance of the state and the Appalachian region to the creation and performance of music in America.
Essays on the Travels of William Bartram
A classic work of history, ethnography, and botany, and an examination of the life and environs of the 18th-century south.
What Happened When Little Rock Closed Its Public Schools
Much has been written about the Little Rock School Crisis of 1957, but very little has been devoted to the following year—the Lost Year, 1958–59—when Little Rock schools were closed to all students, both black and white. Finding the Lost Year is the first book to look at the unresolved elements of the school desegregation crisis and how it turned into a community crisis, when policymakers thwarted desegregation and challenged the creation of a racially integrated community and when competing groups staked out agendas that set Arkansas’s capital on a path that has played out for the past fifty years. In Little Rock in 1958, 3,665 students were locked out of a free public education. Teachers’ lives were disrupted, but students’ lives were even more confused. Some were able to attend schools outside the city, some left the state, some joined the military, some took correspondence courses, but fully 50 percent of the black students went without any schooling. Drawing on personal interviews with over sixty former teachers and students, black and white, Gordy details the long-term consequences for students affected by events and circumstances over which they had little control.