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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Reconstructing Appalachia

The Civil War's Aftermath

Andrew Slap

Families, communities, and the nation itself were irretrievably altered by the Civil War and the subsequent societal transformations of the nineteenth century. The repercussions of the war incited a broad range of unique problems in Appalachia, including political dynamics, racial prejudices, and the regional economy. Andrew L. Slap’s anthology Reconstructing Appalachia reveals life in Appalachia after the ravages of the Civil War, an unexplored area that has left a void in historical literature. Addressing a gap in the chronicles of our nation, this vital anthology explores little-known aspects of history with a particular focus on the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction periods. Acclaimed scholars John C. Inscoe, Gordon B. McKinney, and Ken Fones-Wolf are joined by up-and-comers like Mary Ella Engel, Anne E. Marshall, and Kyle Osborn in a unique collection of essays investigating postwar Appalachia with clarity and precision. Featuring a broad geographic focus, these compelling essays cover postwar events in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. This approach provides an intimate portrait of Appalachia as a diverse collection of communities where the values of place and family are of crucial importance. Highlighting a wide array of topics including racial reconciliation, tension between former Unionists and Confederates, the evolution of post–Civil War memory, and altered perceptions of race, gender, and economic status, Reconstructing Appalachia is a timely and essential study of a region rich in heritage and tradition.

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Remembering The Battle of the Crater

War as Murder

Kevin M. Levin

The Battle of the Crater is known as one of the Civil War's bloodiest struggles -- a Union loss with combined casualties of 5,000, many of whom were members of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) under Union Brigadier General Edward Ferrero. The battle was a violent clash of forces as Confederate soldiers fought for the first time against African American soldiers. After the Union lost the battle, these black soldiers were captured and subject both to extensive abuse and the threat of being returned to slavery in the South. Yet, despite their heroism and sacrifice, these men are often overlooked in public memory of the war.

In Remembering The Battle of the Crater: War is Murder, Kevin M. Levin addresses the shared recollection of a battle that epitomizes the way Americans have chosen to remember, or in many cases forget, the presence of the USCT. The volume analyzes how the racial component of the war's history was portrayed at various points during the 140 years following its conclusion, illuminating the social changes and challenges experienced by the nation as a whole. Remembering The Battle of the Crater gives the members of the USCT a newfound voice in history.

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Southern Farmers and Their Stories

Memory and Meaning in Oral History

Melissa Walker

The industrial expansion of the twentieth century brought with it a profound shift away from traditional agricultural modes and practices in the American South. The forces of economic modernity—specialization, mechanization, and improved efficiency—swept through southern farm communities, leaving significant upheaval in their wake. In an attempt to comprehend the complexities of the present and prepare for the uncertainties of the future, many southern farmers searched for order and meaning in their memories of the past. In Southern Farmers and Their Stories, Melissa Walker explores the ways in which a diverse array of farmers remember and recount the past. The book tells the story of the modernization of the South in the voices of those most affected by the decline of traditional ways of life and work. Walker analyzes the recurring patterns in their narratives of change and loss, filling in gaps left by more conventional political and economic histories of southern agriculture. Southern Farmers and Their Stories also highlights the tensions inherent in the relationship between history and memory. Walker employs the concept of “communities of memory” to describe the shared sense of the past among southern farmers. History and memory converge and shape one another in communities of memory through an ongoing process in which shared meanings emerge through an elaborate alchemy of recollection and interpretation. In her careful analysis of more than five hundred oral history narratives, Walker allows silenced voices to be heard and forgotten versions of the past to be reconsidered. Southern Farmers and Their Stories preserves the shared memories and meanings of southern agricultural communities not merely for their own sake but for the potential benefit of a region, a nation, and a world that has much to learn from the lessons of previous generations of agricultural providers.

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A Tour of Reconstruction

Travel Letters of 1875

J. Matthew Gallman and Anna Dickinson

Anna Dickinson’s career as an orator began in her teenage years, when she gave her first impassioned speech on women’s rights. By the age of twenty-one, she was spending at least six months per year on the road, delivering lectures on abolitionism, politics, and public affairs, and establishing herself as one of the nation’s first celebrities. In March 1875, Dickinson departed from Washington, D.C., for an extended tour of the South, curious to see how far the region had progressed in the decade after Appomattox. In A Tour of Reconstruction, editor J. Matthew Gallman compiles Dickinson’s commentary and observations to provide an honest depiction of the postwar South from the perspective of an outspoken radical abolitionist. She documents the continuing effects of the Civil War on the places she visited, and true to her inquisitive spirit, questions the societal developments she witnessed, seeking out black and white southerners to discuss issues of the day. Like many northern observers, she focuses on documenting race relations and the state of the southern economy, but she also details the public’s reactions to her appearances, providing some of her most telling commentary. A Tour of Reconstruction, punctuated with a wealth of historical observations and entertaining anecdotes, is the story of one woman’s experiences in the postbellum South.

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The U.S. South and Europe

Transatlantic Relations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

edited by Cornelis A. van Minnen and Manfred Berg

The U.S. South is a distinctive political and cultural force -- not only in the eyes of Americans, but also in the estimation of many Europeans. The region played a distinctive role as a major agricultural center and the source of much of the wealth in early America, but it has also served as a catalyst for the nation's only civil war, and later, as a battleground in violent civil rights conflicts. Once considered isolated and benighted by the international community, the South has recently evoked considerable interest among popular audiences and academic observers on both sides of the Atlantic.

In The U.S. South and Europe, editors Cornelis A. van Minnen and Manfred Berg have assembled contributions that interpret a number of political, cultural, and religious aspects of the transatlantic relationship during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The contributors discuss a variety of subjects, including European colonization, travel accounts of southerners visiting Europe, and the experiences of German immigrants who settled in the South. The collection also examines slavery, foreign recognition of the Confederacy as a sovereign government, the lynching of African Americans and Italian immigrants, and transatlantic religious fundamentalism. Finally, it addresses international perceptions of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement as a framework for understanding race relations in the United Kingdom after World War II. Featuring contributions from leading scholars based in the United States and Europe, this illuminating volume explores the South from an international perspective and offers a new context from which to consider the region's history.

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The View from the Ground

Experiences of Civil War Soldiers

edited by Aaron Sheehan-Dean

Civil War scholars have long used soldiers’ diaries and correspondence to flesh out their studies of the conflict’s great officers, regiments, and battles. However, historians have only recently begun to treat the common Civil War soldier’s daily life as a worthwhile topic of discussion in its own right. The View from the Ground reveals the beliefs of ordinary men and women on topics ranging from slavery and racism to faith and identity and represents a significant development in historical scholarship—the use of Civil War soldiers’ personal accounts to address larger questions about America’s past. Aaron Sheehan-Dean opens The View from the Ground by surveying the landscape of research on Union and Confederate soldiers, examining not only the wealth of scholarly inquiry in the 1980s and 1990s but also the numerous questions that remain unexplored. Chandra Manning analyzes the views of white Union soldiers on slavery and their enthusiastic support for emancipation. Jason Phillips uncovers the deep antipathy of Confederate soldiers toward their Union adversaries, and Lisa Laskin explores tensions between soldiers and civilians in the Confederacy that represented a serious threat to the fledgling nation’s survival. Essays by David Rolfs and Kent Dollar examine the nature of religious faith among Civil War combatants. The grim and gruesome realities of warfare—and the horror of killing one’s enemy at close range—profoundly tested the spiritual convictions of the fighting men. Timothy J. Orr, Charles E. Brooks, and Kevin Levin demonstrate that Union and Confederate soldiers maintained their political beliefs both on the battlefield and in the war’s aftermath. Orr details the conflict between Union soldiers and Northern antiwar activists in Pennsylvania, and Brooks examines a struggle between officers and the Fourth Texas Regiment. Levin contextualizes political struggles among Southerners in the 1880s and 1890s as a continuing battle kept alive by memories of, and identities associated with, their wartime experiences. The View from the Ground goes beyond standard histories that discuss soldiers primarily in terms of campaigns and casualties. These essays show that soldiers on both sides were authentic historical actors who willfully steered the course of the Civil War and shaped subsequent public memory of the event.

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Willis Duke Weatherford

Race, Religion, and Reform in the American South

Andrew McNeill Canady

At the turn of the twentieth century, few white, southern leaders would speak out in favor of racial equality for fear of being dismissed as too progressive. Willis Duke Weatherford (1875--1970), however, defied convention as one of the first prominent white southern liberals to dedicate his life to reforming the South's social system, eliminating violence and injustice through education, and opening a dialogue among the affected groups. His energetic efforts led to a rise in progressive action in the region, though at times his own beliefs prevented him from advocating for absolute racial equality. As a result, historians debate Weatherford's legacy: Was he a forward-thinking supporter of human rights or merely a moderate paternalist?

In this comprehensive biography, Andrew McNeill Canady offers a reassessment of the influential educator's life and work. Canady surveys Weatherford's work with institutions such as the YMCA, Berea College, and Fisk University and illuminates his many efforts to foster dialogue among southerners of all races about religion, race relations, and Appalachia. He also examines Weatherford's reluctance to challenge Jim Crow laws and the capitalist economy that contributed to the poverty of African Americans and the people of Appalachia, revealing the limitations that southern reformers faced and the often-difficult compromises they were forced to make.

During a career that spanned from the Progressive Era to the civil rights movement, Weatherford was involved in virtually every significant southern liberal effort of his time. Past research has focused primarily on Weatherford's early work, but Canady's study is the first to investigate the full trajectory of his life and career. This overdue biography makes a significant contribution to literature on the long civil rights movement and the development of southern liberalism.

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