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Corra Harris (1869-1935) was one of the most widely published and nationally popular women writers in the United States. A Circuit Rider's Wife (1910) was Georgia's most celebrated novel for nearly three decades. Now little read and almost forgotten, Harris's life offers a fascinating glimpse into a world nearly unimaginable to us today.
In her writing, Harris poignantly and often humorously captured the paradoxes characteristic of the New South, a time and place of radically divergent goals. Pressed by national and economic demands to modernize, and regional desire to hold on to the past, leaders struggled at the turn of the century to reconcile competing goals. Issues of race, class, and gender found in Harris's writing were at the heart of the struggle.
In depicting the complexities of Harris's era, her life, and her personality, historian Catherine Oglesby offers a remarkable insight into early twentieth-century literature and culture. She demonstrates the ways Harris's work and life both differed from and were the same as other southern women writers, and reveals the ways time and place intersect with race, class, gender, and other variables in the forging of identity.
The 26th North Carolina Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg
Covered with Glory tells the story of the 26th North Carolina Infantry at Gettysburg, which joined James J. Pettigrew’s brigade at Gettysburg as reinforcement for Henry Heth’s division. As Lee ordered Confederate attack, the 26th was positioned at the well defended Herbst Woods, where it was charged with the task of taking on the Union’s Iron Brigade—one of the most experienced, hard-nosed combat groups in the Army of the Potomac. Fighting through deadly fire from two Iron Brigade regiments, the 26th advanced with great precision against the Union line, forcing the northerners back and achieving the strategic advantage of breaking the line; but the cost was great, as approximately 3/4s of the regiment’s troops were killed or wounded on the first day. The 26th did, however, inflict its own damage, causing two Iron Brigade regiments comparable losses. Despite heavy casualties, the regiment responded to play a part in the events two days later at Cemetery Ridge, in the culminating attack against the Union line. On that day, the surviving men of the 26th displayed the same precision they had two days earlier. In the end, the Union line did not break, but having fought valiantly while suffering the highest casualty rate of any unit in the three days, the group from North Carolina left its mark on the battlefield at Gettysburg. The 26th went on to fight with distinction at other battles, including the Wilderness and Cold Harbor, and was one of the last Confederate units to surrender at Appomattox.
African American Artisans in New Bern, North Carolina, 1770-1900
From the colonial period onward, black artisans in southern cities--thousands of free and enslaved carpenters, coopers, dressmakers, blacksmiths, saddlers, shoemakers, bricklayers, shipwrights, cabinetmakers, tailors, and others--played vital roles in their communities. Yet only a very few black craftspeople have gained popular and scholarly attention. Catherine W. Bishir remedies this oversight by offering an in-depth portrayal of urban African American artisans in the small but important port city of New Bern. In so doing, she highlights the community's often unrecognized importance in the history of nineteenth-century black life.
Drawing upon myriad sources, Bishir brings to life men and women who employed their trade skills, sense of purpose, and community relationships to work for liberty and self-sufficiency, to establish and protect their families, and to assume leadership in churches and associations and in New Bern's dynamic political life during and after the Civil War. Focusing on their words and actions, Crafting Lives provides a new understanding of urban southern black artisans' unique place in the larger picture of American artisan identity.
Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community
A small neighborhood in northern Frankfort, Kentucky, Crawfish Bottom was located on fifty acres of swampy land along the Kentucky River. “Craw’s” reputation for vice, violence, moral corruption, and unsanitary conditions made it a target for urban renewal projects that replaced the neighborhood with the city’s Capital Plaza in the mid-1960s. Douglas A. Boyd’s Crawfish Bottom: Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community traces the evolution of the controversial community that ultimately saw four-hundred families displaced. Using oral histories and firsthand memories, Boyd not only provides a record of a vanished neighborhood and its culture but also demonstrates how this type of study enhances the historical record. A former Frankfort police officer describes Craw’s residents as a “rough class of people, who didn’t mind killing or being killed.” In Crawfish Bottom, the former residents of Craw acknowledge the popular misconceptions about their community but offer a richer and more balanced view of the past.
The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State
Rather than focusing exclusively on postwar political and economic factors, ###Creating a Confederate Kentucky# looks over the longer term at Kentuckians' activities--public memorial ceremonies, dedications of monuments, and veterans organizations' events--by which they commemorated the Civil War and fixed the state's remembrance of it for sixty years following the conflict. Marshall traces the development of a Confederate identity in Kentucky between 1865 and 1925 that belied the fact that Kentucky never left the Union and that more Kentuckians fought for the North than for the South. Following the Civil War, the people of Kentucky appeared to forget their Union loyalties, embracing the Democratic politics, racial violence, and Jim Crow laws associated with formerly Confederate states.
Proprietary Era Histories
The essays in Creating and Contesting Carolina shed new light on how the various peoples of the Carolinas responded to the tumultuous changes shaping the geographic space that the British called Carolina during the Proprietary period (1663–1719). In doing so, the essays focus attention on some of the most important and dramatic watersheds in the history of British colonization in the New World. These years brought challenging and dramatic changes to the region, such as the violent warfare between British and Native Americans or British and Spanish, the no-less dramatic development of the plantation system, and the decline of proprietary authority. All involved contestation, whether through violence or debate. The very idea of a place called Carolina was challenged by Native Americans, and many colonists and metropolitan authorities differed in their visions for Carolina. The stakes were high in these contests because they occurred in an early American world often characterized by brutal warfare, rigid hierarchies, enslavement, cultural dislocation, and transoceanic struggles for power. While Native Americans and colonists shed each other’s blood to define the territory on their terms, colonists and officials built their own version of Carolina on paper and in the discourse of early modern empires. But new tensions also provided a powerful incentive for political and economic creativity. The peoples of the early Carolinas reimagined places, reconceptualized cultures, realigned their loyalties, and adapted in a wide variety of ways to the New World. Three major groups of peoples—European colonists, Native Americans, and enslaved Africans—shared these experiences of change in the Carolinas, but their histories have usually been written separately. These disparate but closely related strands of scholarship must be connected to make the early Carolinas intelligible. Creating and Contesting Carolina brings together work relating to all three groups in this unique collection.
Explores the politics and meanings of citizenry and citizens’ rights in the nineteenth-century American South: from the full citizenship of some white males to the partial citizenship of women with no voting rights, from the precarious position of free blacks and enslaved African American anti-citizens, to postwar Confederate rebels who were not “loyal citizens” according to the federal government but forcibly asserted their citizenship as white supremacy was restored in the Jim Crow South.
Life and Learning at Montgomery's Black University
Tourism and Society in Western North Carolina
A sophisticated inquiry into tourism's social and economic power across the South.
In the early 19th century, planter families from South Carolina, Georgia, and eastern North Carolina left their low-country estates during the summer to relocate their households to vacation homes in the mountains of western North Carolina. Those unable to afford the expense of a second home relaxed at the hotels that emerged to meet their needs. This early tourist activity set the stage for tourism to become the region's New South industry. After 1865, the development of railroads and the bugeoning consumer culture led to the expansion of tourism across the whole region.
Richard Starnes argues that western North Carolina benefited from the romanticized image of Appalachia in the post-Civil War American consciousness. This image transformed the southern highlands into an exotic travel destination, a place where both climate and culture offered visitors a myriad of diversions. This depiction was futher bolstered by partnerships between state and federal agencies, local boosters, and outside developers to create the atrtactions necessary to lure tourists to the region.
As tourism grew, so did the tension between leaders in the industry and local residents. The commodification of regional culture, low-wage tourism jobs, inflated land prices, and negative personal experiences bred no small degree of animosity among mountain residents toward visitors. Starnes's study provides a better understanding of the significant role that tourism played in shaping communities across the South.
Indians, Settlers, and Slaves and the Making of the American South
Hudson examines travel within and between southeastern Indian nations and the southern states from the founding of the United States until the forced removal of southeastern Indians in the 1830s. She focuses particularly on the creation and mapping of boundaries between Creek Indian lands and the states that grew up around themthe development of roads, canals, and other internal improvements within these territoriesand the ways that Indians, settlers, and slaves understood, contested, and collaborated on these boundaries and transit networks.