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A Nomadic Utopia
Since 1972 the Rainbow Family of Living Light, a loosely organized and anarchistic nomadic community, has been holding large gatherings in remote forests to pray for world peace and create a model of a functioning utopian society. Michael I. Niman’s People of the Rainbow, originally published in 1997, was the first comprehensive study of this countercultural group and its eclectic philosophy of environmentalism, feminism, peace activism, group sharing, libertarianism, and consensus government. It is a book yet to be superseded. This second edition of Niman’s compelling and insightful work brings the Rainbow story up to date with a new introduction and two extensive new epilogues. While the big annual Rainbow “Gatherings” have drawn fewer numbers in recent years, Niman notes, the Rainbow ethos has in many ways migrated to the mainstream, as Rainbow notions about alternative medicine and environmental sustainability, for example, have gathered wider acceptance and influenced the national dialogue. Meanwhile, Rainbow movements in other regions, from Eastern Europe and the Middle East to Asia and Australia, are thriving. In addition to addressing changes within the Rainbow Family and its complex relationship to “Babylon” (what Rainbows call mainstream culture), the book’s new material explores the growing harassment Rainbows now face from U.S. law enforcement agencies—especially those associated with the National Forest Service. As Niman contends, this particular saga of a U.S. bureaucracy at war with its own citizens is a subplot in the larger—and disturbing—story of how the relationship between Americans and their government has changed during the first decade of the twenty-first century. In its nuanced portrait of an intriguing subculture, its successes, and its limitations, People of the Rainbow remains a significant contribution to the study of utopian communities in the United States and their ongoing legacy.
“This book very conclusively debunks the over two-hundred-year-old conventional wisdom that Wheatley owes her poetic sensibilities to Alexander Pope. . . . It will help rejuvenate the study of Wheatley and will be an exciting contribution to scholarly discourse on Wheatley’s poetry.” —Cedrick May, author of Evangelism and Resistance in the Black Atlantic, 1760–1835
Phillis Wheatley was the first African American to publish a book. Born in Gambia in 1753, she came to America aboard a slave ship, the Phillis. From an early age, Wheatley exhibited a profound gift for verse, publishing her first poem in 1767. Her tribute to a famed pastor, “On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield,” followed in 1770, catapulting her into the international spotlight, and publication of her 1773 Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral in London created her an international star.
Despite the attention she received at the time, history has not been kind to Wheatley. Her work has long been neglected or denigrated by literary critics and historians. John C. Shields, a scholar of early American literature, has tried to help change this perception, and Wheatley has begun to take her place among the elite of American writers.
In Phillis Wheatley and the Romantic Age, Shields contends that Wheatley was not only a brilliant writer but one whose work made a significant impression on renowned Europeans of the Romantic age, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who borrowed liberally from her works, particularly in his famous distinction between fancy and imagination. Shields shows how certain Wheatley texts, particularly her “Long Poem,” consisting of “On Recollection,” “Thoughts on the Works of Providence,” and “On Imagination,” helped shape the face of Romanticism in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Phillis Wheatley and the Romantic Age helps demolish the long-held notion that literary culture flowed in only one direction: from Europe to the Americas. Thanks to Wheatley’s influence, Shields argues, the New World was influencing European literary masters far sooner than has been generally understood.
John C. Shields is the editor of The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley and the author of The American Aeneas: Classical Origins of the American Self (named by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book and awarded honorable mention in competition for the American Comparative Literature Association’s HARRY LEVIN PRIZE) and of Phillis Wheatley’s Poetics of Liberation. He is Distinguished Professor of English and director of the Center for Classicism in American Culture at Illinois State University.
Race, Politics, and Religious Identity in Historical Perspective
This volume is the first comprehensive overview of North Carolina Presbyterians to appear in more than a hundred years. Drawing on congregational and administrative histories, personal memoirs, and recent scholarship—while paying close attention to the relevant social, political, and religious contexts of the state and region—Walter Conser and Robert Cain go beyond older approaches to denominational history by focusing on the identity and meaning of the Presbyterian experience in the Old North State from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries.
Conser and Cain explore issues as diverse as institutional development and worship experience; the patterns and influence of race, ethnicity, and gender; and involvement in education and social justice campaigns. In part 1 of the book, “Beginnings,” they trace the entrance of Presbyterians—who were legally considered dissenters throughout the colonial period—into the eastern, central, and western sections of the state. The authors show how the Piedmont became the nexus of Presbyterian organizational development and examine the ways in which political movements, including campaigns for American independence, deeply engaged Presbyterians, as did the incandescence of revivalism and agitation for reform, which extended into the antebellum period.
The book’s second section, “Conflict, Renewal, and Reunion,” investigates the denominational tensions provoked by the slavery debate and the havoc of the Civil War, the soul searching that accompanied Confederate defeat, and the rebuilding efforts that came during the New South era. Such important factors as the changing roles of women in the church and the decline of Jim Crow helped pave the way for the eventual reunion of the northern and southern branches of mainline Presbyterianism. By the arrival of the new millennium, Presbyterians in North Carolina were prepared to meet future challenges with renewed confidence.
A model for modern denominational history, this book is an astute and sensitive portrayal of a prominent Protestant denomination in a southern context.
Walter H. Conser Jr. is professor of religion and professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. His books include A Coat of Many Colors: Religion and Society along the Cape Fear River of North Carolina and God and the Natural World: Religion and Science in the Natural World.
Before his retirement after thirty-two years of service, Robert J. Cain was head of the Colonial Records Branch at the North Carolina State Archives. He is the editor of The Colonial Records of North Carolina, second series.
Black Feminist Publics in the Era of Reform
Press, Platform, Pulpit examines how early black feminism goes public by sheding new light on some of the major figures of early black feminism as well as bringing forward some lesser-known individuals who helped shape various reform movements. With a perspective unlike many other studies of black feminism, Teresa Zackodnik considers these activists as central, rather than marginal, to the politics of their day, and argues that black feminism reached critical mass well before the club movement’s national federation at the turn into the twentieth century . Throughout, she shifts the way in which major figures of early black feminism have been understood.
The first three chapters trace the varied speaking styles and appeals of black women in the church, abolition, and women’s rights, highlighting audience and location as mediating factors in the public address and politics of figures such as Jarena Lee, Zilpha Elaw, Amanda Berry Smith, Ellen Craft, Sarah Parker Remond and Sojourner Truth. The next chapter focuses on Ida B. Wells’s anti-lynching tours as working within “New Abolition” and influenced by black feminists before her. The final chapter examines feminist black nationalism as it developed in the periodical press by considering Maria Stewart’s social and feminist gospel; Mary Shadd Cary’s linking of abolition, emigration, and woman suffrage; and late-nineteenth-century black feminist journalism addressing black women’s migration and labor. Early black feminists working in reforms such as abolition and women’s rights opened new public arenas, such as the press, to the voices of black women. The book concludes by focusing on the 1891 National Council of Women, Frances Harper, and Anna Julia Cooper, which together mark a generational shift in black feminism, and by exploring the possibilities of taking black feminism public through forging coalitions among women of color.
Press, Platform, Pulpit goes far in deepening our understanding of early black feminism, its position in reform, and the varied publics it created for its politics. It not only moves historically from black feminist work in the church early in the nineteenth century to black feminism in the press at its close, but also explores the connections between black feminist politics across the century and specific reforms.
Protest and Print Culture in the A.M.E. Church
Race Patriotism: Protest and Print Culture in the A.M.E. Church examines important nineteenth-century social issues through the lens of the AME Church and its publications. This book explores the ways in which leaders and laity constructed historical narratives around varied locations to sway public opinion of the day. Drawing on the official church newspaper, the Christian Recorder, and other denominational and rare major primary sources, Bailey goes beyond previously published works that focus solely on the founding era of the tradition or the eastern seaboard or post-bellum South to produce a work than breaks new historiographical ground by spanning the entirety of the nineteenth century and exploring new geographical terrain such as the American West.
Through careful analysis of AME print culture, Bailey demonstrates that far from focusing solely on the “politics of uplift” and seeking to instill bourgeois social values in black society as other studies have suggested, black authors, intellectuals, and editors used institutional histories and other writings for activist purposes and reframed protest in new ways in the postbellum period.
Adding significantly to the literature on the history of the book and reading in the nineteenth century, Bailey examines AME print culture as a key to understanding African American social reform recovering the voices of black religious leaders and writers to provide a more comprehensive and nuanced portrayal of the central debates and issues facing African Americans in the nineteenth century such as migration westward, selecting the appropriate referent for the race, Social Darwinism, and the viability of emigration to Africa. Scholars and students of religious studies, African American studies, American studies, history, and journalism will welcome this pioneering new study.
Julius H. Bailey is the author of Around the Family Altar: Domesticity in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1865–1900. He is an associate professor in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California.
Documenting and Challenging Death Penalty Cases in the Civil Rights Era
Large numbers of Civil War veterans remembered and reminisced about their war experiences, but only a relative few dedicated the rest of their lives to the task of commemorating their long-ago deeds. John S. Kountz was one of this latter group. Kountz joined the Thirty-seventh Ohio Infantry in September 1861 as a fifteen-year-old drummer boy and later, under General William T. Sherman, endured the long siege at Vicksburg before helping to win control of the city in July 1863. In 1899 the War Department appointed Kountz as the official historian at the newly designated Vicksburg National Military Park. As part of his duties, he produced two major works, an organizational chronicle of the armies that fought at Vicksburg and an unpublished narrative of the campaign and siege. This welcome volume presents both of these extremely rare documents together for the first time, providing a valuable resource for a new generation of scholars and enthusiasts. Record of the Organizations Engaged in the Campaign, Siege, and Defense of Vicksburg was published in a limited edition by the Government Printing Office in 1901 and offered visitors and historians a detailed examination of the various commands that fought at Vicksburg. The record has long been an essential but hard-to-find source for historians. Kountz’s impressive 116-page campaign overview is rarer still. Because of turnover at the park and Kountz’s death in 1909, the manuscript never saw publication and has, until now, lain buried in the archives at Vicksburg. Offering an unbiased account of both sides of the battle, it delves into the minds of the commanders, examines their decision-making processes, and articulates several opinions that have sparked debate ever since. With a new introduction by noted historian Timothy B. Smith, this significant work makes widely available an important history by a participant in the action and opens a fascinating window into the history of Civil War scholarship.
The Wartime Recollections, Grave and Gay, of Constance Cary Harrison
In the expansive canon of Civil War memoirs, relatively few accounts from women exist. Among the most engaging and informative of these rare female perspectives is Constance Cary Harrison’s Recollections Grave and Gay, a lively, first-person account of the collapse of the Confederacy by the wife of President Jefferson Davis’s private secretary. Although equal in literary merit to the well-known and widely available diaries of Mary Boykin Chesnut and Eliza Frances Andrews, Harrison’s memoir failed to remain in print after its original publication in 1916 and, as a result, has been lost to all but the most diligent researcher. In Refugitta of Richmond, Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes Jr. and S. Kittrell Rushing resurrect Harrison’s work, reintroducing an especially insightful perspective on the Southern high command, the home front, and the Confederate elite. Born into an old, aristocratic Virginia family in 1843, Constance Cary fled with her family from their estate near Alexandria, Virginia, to Richmond in 1862. There, the nineteen-year-old met Burton Norvell Harrison, a young math professor from the University of Mississippi who had come to the Confederate capital to work for Davis. The pair soon became engaged and joined the inner circle of military, political, and social leaders at the Confederate White House. Under the pen name “Refugitta,” Constance also wrote newspaper columns about the war and became a respected member of Richmond’s literary community. Fifty years later, Constance used her wartime diaries and letters to pen her recollections of her years in Richmond and of the confusing months immediately after the war. She offers lucid, insightful, and detailed observations of the Confederate home front even as she reflects on the racial and class biases characteristic of her time and station. With an informative introduction and thorough annotations by Hughes and Rushing, Refugitta of Richmond provides a highly readable, often amusing, occasionally troubling insider’s look at the Confederate nerve center and its ultimate demise.
Preserving the Past as Landscape and Place
The use of cars and trucks over the past century has remade American geography—pushing big cities ever outward toward suburbanization, spurring the growth of some small towns while hastening the decline of others, and spawning a new kind of commercial landscape marked by gas stations, drive-in restaurants, motels, tourist attractions, and countless other retail entities that express our national love affair with the open road. By its very nature, this landscape is ever changing, indeed ephemeral. What is new quickly becomes old and is soon forgotten. In this absorbing book, John Jakle and Keith Sculle ponder how “Roadside America” might be remembered, especially since so little physical evidence of its earliest years survives. In straightforward and lively prose, supplemented by copious illustrations—historic and modern photographs, advertising postcards, cartoons, roadmaps—they survey the ways in which automobility has transformed life in the United States. Asking how we might best commemorate and preserve this part of our past—which has been so vital economically and politically, so significant to the cultural aspirations of ordinary Americans, yet so often ignored by scholars who dismiss it as kitsch—they propose the development of an actual outdoor museum that would treat seriously the themes of our roadside history. Certainly, museums have been created for frontier pioneering, the rise of commercial agriculture, and the coming of water- and steam-powered industrialization and transportation, especially the railroad. Is now not the time, the authors ask, for a museum forcefully exploring the automobile’s emergence and the changes it has brought to place and landscape? Such a museum need not deny the nostalgic appeal of roadsides past, but if done properly, it could also tell us much about what the authors describe as “the most important kind of place yet devised in the American experience.”
Judge Garnett Andrews
The old judge enjoyed swapping tales and sharing company with other lawyers, politicians, and family members. A true aristocrat of the Old South, Garnett Andrews (1798–1873) so enjoyed hearing and telling good yarns that he decided late in his life to preserve them for posterity. The judge wrote down a collection of his stories, including tales of men with whom he had worked—and some whom he had worked against—and in 1870, about three years before he died, he had his booklet printed and circulated among friends. He titled it Reminiscences of an Old Georgia Lawyer. This new volume reprises Andrews’s work, and features a new introduction by S. Kittrell Rushing. In recounting a lawyer’s life from the frontier period through the Civil War and into the Reconstruction era, Andrews’s recollections provide rare and fascinating details, particularly about pre–Civil War Georgia, the state of the judiciary in the early national period—about which little has been written—and the larger political and social milieu of antebellum and postbellum America. This is an eclectic mixture of tall tales, humorous anecdotes, and keen observations about southern society and the practice of law. In his introduction, Rushing places Andrews’s writings in a broad context. He addresses Andrews’s racial views head on, confronting and probing the racism, sexism, and classism of Andrews and his times. In addition, Rushing provides biographical and genealogical information about the judge and his family, including his daughter, the noted diarist and novelist Eliza Frances Andrews. This volume also includes other pieces by Andrews, among them letters, speeches, and his acceptance of the 1855 gubernatorial nomination. Highly readable and lively, Reminiscence of an Old Georgia Lawyer will enlighten and entertain both scholars and general readers interested in the history of Georgia, the Old South, and American legal history.