African Americans at Mars Bluff, South Carolina by Amelia Wallace Vernon (review)

African Americans at Mars Bluff, South Carolina by Amelia Wallace Vernon (Louisiana State University Press, 1994)

ACCESS PURCHASE
Students and scholars can access articles for free via Project Muse.

African Americans at Mars Bluff, South Carolina by Amelia Wallace Vernon (review)

by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall
Southern Cultures, Vol. 1, No. 4: Southern Humor

Louisiana State University Press, 1994

This book, which documents the stories of African Americans in a small South Carolina community, is as valuable as it is charming. Written by retired nurse Amelia Wallace Vernon who was born and raised at Mars Bluff, it relies heavily upon interviews with elderly African American residents who tell their own experiences and stories passed down from ancestors. Vernon collected more than 1,000 notebook pages of interviews, some with Archie Waiters (1914-1990) whose father, Archie Gregg, was raised by his own grandfather, Alex Gregg (1845-1938), a former slave. Archie Waiters was a storehouse of family and community memories. With the help of such informants, Vemon traces the history of rice cultivation on small plots of land and establishes the spiritual significance of reclaiming land to cultivate this crop, which allowed for a degree of self-sufficiency when sharecropping dominated the economy of the region and the lives of its people.