The University Press of Kentucky

New Directions in Southern History

Peter S. Carmichael, Michele Gillespie, & William A. Link

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

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New Directions in Southern History

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Law and Society in the South

A History of North Carolina Court Cases

John W. Wertheimer

Law and Society in the South reconstructs eight pivotal legal disputes heard in North Carolina courts between the 1830s and the 1970s and examines some of the most controversial issues of southern history, including white supremacy and race relations, the teaching of evolution in public schools, and Prohibition. Finally, the book explores the various ways in which law and society interacted in the South during the civil rights era. The voices of racial minorities-some urging integration, others opposing it-grew more audible within the legal system during this time. Law and Society in the South divulges the true nature of the courts: as the unpredictable venues of intense battles between southerners as they endured dramatic changes in their governing values.

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The Lost State of Franklin

America's First Secession

Kevin T. Barksdale

In the years following the Revolutionary War, the young American nation was in a state of chaos. Citizens pleaded with government leaders to reorganize local infrastructures and heighten regulations, but economic turmoil, Native American warfare, and political unrest persisted. By 1784, one group of North Carolina frontiersmen could no longer stand the unresponsiveness of state leaders to their growing demands. This ambitious coalition of Tennessee Valley citizens declared their region independent from North Carolina, forming the state of Franklin. The Lost State of Franklin: America's First Secession chronicles the history of this ill-fated movement from its origins in the early settlement of East Tennessee to its eventual violent demise. Author Kevin T. Barksdale investigates how this lost state failed so ruinously, examining its history and tracing the development of its modern mythology. The Franklin independence movement emerged from the shared desires of a powerful group of landed elite, yeoman farmers, and country merchants. Over the course of four years they managed to develop a functioning state government, court system, and backcountry bureaucracy. Cloaking their motives in the rhetoric of the American Revolution, the Franklinites aimed to defend their land claims, expand their economy, and eradicate the area's Native American population. They sought admission into the union as America's fourteenth state, but their secession never garnered support from outside the Tennessee Valley. Confronted by Native American resistance and the opposition of the North Carolina government, the state of Franklin incited a firestorm of partisan and Indian violence. Despite a brief diplomatic flirtation with the nation of Spain during the state's final days, the state was never able to recover from the warfare, and Franklin collapsed in 1788. East Tennesseans now regard the lots state of Franklin as a symbol of rugged individualism and regional exceptionalism, but outside the region the movement has been largely forgotten. The Lost State of Franklin presents the complete history of this defiant secession and examines the formation of its romanticized local legacy. In reevaluating this complex political movement, Barksdale sheds light on a remarkable Appalachian insurrection and reminds readers of the extraordinary, fragile nature of America's young independence.

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Lum and Abner

Rural America and the Golden Age of Radio

Randal L. Hall

In the 1930s radio stations filled the airwaves with programs and musical performances about rural Americans -- farmers and small-town residents struggling through the Great Depression. One of the most popular of these shows was Lum and Abner, the brainchild of Chester "Chet" Lauck and Norris "Tuffy" Goff, two young businessmen from Arkansas.

Beginning in 1931 and lasting for more than two decades, the show revolved around the lives of ordinary people in the fictional community of Pine Ridge, based on the hamlet of Waters, Arkansas. The title characters, who are farmers, local officials, and the keepers of the Jot 'Em Down Store, manage to entangle themselves in a variety of hilarious dilemmas. The program's gentle humor and often complex characters had wide appeal both to rural southerners, who were accustomed to being the butt of jokes in the national media, and to urban listeners who were fascinated by descriptions of life in the American countryside.

Lum and Abner was characterized by the snappy, verbal comedic dueling that became popular on radio programs of the 1930s. Using this format, Lauck and Goff allowed their characters to subvert traditional authority and to poke fun at common misconceptions about rural life. The show also featured hillbilly and other popular music, an innovation that drew a bigger audience. As a result, Arkansas experienced a boom in tourism, and southern listeners began to immerse themselves in a new national popular culture.

In Lum and Abner: Rural America and the Golden Age of Radio, historian Randal L. Hall explains the history and importance of the program, its creators, and its national audience. He also presents a treasure trove of twenty-nine previously unavailable scripts from the show's earliest period, scripts that reveal much about the Great Depression, rural life, hillbilly stereotypes, and a seminal period of American radio.

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Moonshiners and Prohibitionists

The Battle over Alcohol in Southern Appalachia

Bruce E. Stewart

Homemade liquor has played a prominent role in the Appalachian economy for nearly two centuries. The region endured profound transformations during the extreme prohibition movements of the nineteenth century, when the manufacturing and sale of alcohol—an integral part of daily life for many Appalachians—was banned. In Moonshiners and Prohibitionists: The Battle over Alcohol in Southern Appalachia, Bruce E. Stewart chronicles the social tensions that accompanied the region’s early transition from a rural to an urban-industrial economy. Stewart analyzes the dynamic relationship of the bootleggers and opponents of liquor sales in western North Carolina, as well as conflict driven by social and economic development that manifested in political discord. Stewart also explores the life of the moonshiner and the many myths that developed around hillbilly stereotypes. A welcome addition to the New Directions in Southern History series, Moonshiners and Prohibitionists addresses major economic, social, and cultural questions that are essential to the understanding of Appalachian history.

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Mountains on the Market

Industry, the Environment, and the South

Randal L. Hall

Manufacturing in the Northeast and the Midwest pushed the United States to the forefront of industrialized nations during the early nineteenth century; the South, however, lacked the large cities and broad consumer demand that catalyzed changes in other parts of the country. Nonetheless, in contrast to older stereotypes, southerners did not shun industrial development when profits were possible. Even in the Appalachian South, where the rugged terrain presented particular challenges, southern entrepreneurs formed companies as early as 1760 to take advantage of the region's natural resources.

In Mountains on the Market: Industry, the Environment, and the South, Randal L. Hall charts the economic progress of the New River Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, which became home to a wide variety of industries. By the start of the Civil War, railroads had made their way into the area, and the mining and processing of lead, copper, and iron had long been underway. Covering 250 years of industrialization, environmental exploitation, and the effects of globalization, Mountains on the Market situates the New River Valley squarely in the mainstream of American capitalism.

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My Brother Slaves

Friendship, Masculinity, and Resistance in the Antebellum South

Sergio A. Lussana

Trapped in a world of brutal physical punishment and unremitting, back-breaking labor, Frederick Douglass mused that it was the friendships he shared with other enslaved men that carried him through his darkest days.

In this pioneering study, Sergio A. Lussana offers the first in-depth investigation of the social dynamics between enslaved men and examines how individuals living under the conditions of bondage negotiated masculine identities. He demonstrates that African American men worked to create their own culture through a range of recreational pursuits similar to those enjoyed by their white counterparts, such as drinking, gambling, fighting, and hunting. Underscoring the enslaved men's relationships, however, were the sex-segregated work gangs on the plantations, which further reinforced their social bonds.

Lussana also addresses male resistance to slavery by shifting attention from the visible, organized world of slave rebellion to the private realms of enslaved men's lives. He reveals how these men developed an oppositional community in defiance of the regulations of the slaveholder and shows that their efforts were intrinsically linked to forms of resistance on a larger scale. The trust inherent in these private relationships was essential in driving conversations about revolution.

My Brother Slaves fills a vital gap in our contemporary understanding of southern history and of the effects that the South's peculiar institution had on social structures and gender expression. Employing detailed research that draws on autobiographies of and interviews with former slaves, Lussana's work artfully testifies to the importance of social relationships between enslaved men and the degree to which these fraternal bonds encouraged them to resist.

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The New Southern University

Academic Freedom and Liberalism at UNC

Charles J. Holden

Established in 1789, the University of North Carolina is the oldest public university in the nation. UNC’s reputation as one of the South’s leading institutions has drawn some of the nation’s leading educators and helped it become a model of the modern American university. However, the school’s location in the country’s most conservative region presented certain challenges during the early 1900s, as new ideas of academic freedom and liberalism began to pervade its educational philosophy. This innovative generation of professors defined themselves as truth-seekers whose work had the potential to enact positive social change; they believed it was their right to choose and cultivate their own curriculum and research in their efforts to cultivate intellectual and social advancement. In To Carry the Truth: Academic Freedom at UNC, 1920–1941, Charles J. Holden examines the growth of UNC during the formative years between the World Wars, focusing on how the principle of academic freedom led to UNC’s role as an advocate for change in the South.

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The Political Career of W. Kerr Scott

The Squire from Haw River

Julian Pleasants

When W. Kerr Scott (1896--1958) began his campaign for the North Carolina gubernatorial seat in 1948, his opponents derided his candidacy as a farce. However, the plainspoken dairy farmer quickly gathered loyal supporters and mobilized a grassroots attack on the entrenched interests that had long controlled the state government, winning the race in a historic upset.

In this meticulously researched book, Julian M. Pleasants traces Scott's productive and controversial political career, from his years as North Carolina commissioner of agriculture, through his governorship (1949--1953), to his brief tenure as a U.S. senator (1954--1958). Scott was elected at a time when southern liberals were on the rise in post--World War II America. McCarthyism and civil rights agitation soon overwhelmed progressivism, but the trend lasted long enough for the straight-talking "Squire from Haw River" to enact major reforms and establish a reputation as one of the more interesting and influential southern politicians of the twentieth century.

Scott introduced groundbreaking legislation that placed the Tar Heel State at the forefront of the southern economy, improving roads, schools, and medical facilities while widening access to electric and phone service. Scott was also relatively socially progressive and made significant appointments of women, African Americans, and liberals to positions of influence and power. This long-overdue look at his political career illuminates the spirit that transformed an introspective, segregated society dependent on tobacco and textiles into a vibrant, diversified economy at the center of the industrial, banking, and information revolution in the South.

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Raising Racists

The Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South

Kristina DuRocher

White southerners recognized that the perpetuation of segregation required whites of all ages to uphold a strict social order—especially the young members of the next generation. White children rested at the core of the system of segregation between 1890 and 1939 because their participation was crucial to ensuring the future of white supremacy. Their socialization in the segregated South offers an examination of white supremacy from the inside, showcasing the culture’s efforts to preserve itself by teaching its beliefs to the next generation. In Raising Racists: The Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South, author Kristina DuRocher reveals how white adults in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries continually reinforced race and gender roles to maintain white supremacy. DuRocher examines the practices, mores, and traditions that trained white children to fear, dehumanize, and disdain their black neighbors. Raising Racists combines an analysis of the remembered experiences of a racist society, how that society influenced children, and, most important, how racial violence and brutality shaped growing up in the early-twentieth-century South.

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A Rape in the Early Republic

Gender and Legal Culture in an 1806 Virginia Trial

Alexander Smyth. edited by Randal L. Hall

On January 14, 1806, Sidney Hanson was raped by John Deskins on a rough gravel path in the woods in Tazewell County, Virginia. In the early nineteenth century, trials for rape were rare. Scanty court records typically lacked the detail needed to reconstruct the lives of those involved and evaluate the social and physical setting of the crime. Yet the events on that fateful day in 1806 would be the exception.

In A Rape in the Early Republic, Randal L. Hall reproduces the complete trial testimony of Alexander Smyth, the prosecutor for Hanson's trial. Smyth's detailed record offers a revealing glimpse into how early rape cases moved through the legal system, first at the local level and then in the state's recently created district court system. It also shows that Deskins was not the only one on trial -- Hanson's character was being scrutinized as well.

Hall's introduction, rather than offering an analysis of Smyth's documents, provides important context and highlights historical themes that Hanson's situation illustrates. Featuring classroom discussion ideas and a list of suggested reading, A Rape in the Early Republic will be a valuable resource for students and scholars as well as anyone interested in gender, law, and society in the early republic.

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