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Vol. 4, No. 2: Summer 1998

  //  summer 1998

Sharecropper Myrtle Lawrence and the Southern Tenant Farmer’s Union. Scottish heritage, southern style. Southern food, German style. The Sally Hemmings story. Why Appalachians are mountains and a people. Songs of the Gastonia Textile Strike. Soul food. And history, privilege, and forgetting in the next generation of students. Dig in to Summer 1998!

Table of Contents

Race, Sex, and Reputation: Thomas Jefferson and the Sally Hemings Story

by Robert M. S. McDonald
By August 1802, the image of Thomas Jefferson had not yet been carved in stone, but it had at least been molded in wax. The likeness of the third president stood alongside twenty-four other famous figures on display in Georgetown. Adults handed over fifty cents to view the traveling exhibit; children paid half-price. Had this »

The Great Wagon Road, or How History Knocked the Professor Cold, or A Storyteller’s Story, or Why Appalachians Are Mountains and a People

by Michael Chitwood
In “The Great Wagon Road,” published in the Spring 1997 issue of Southern Cultures, historian T.H. Breen told of his encounters and adventures while attempting to trace the route of the great migration of German and Scots–Irish settlers from lands north into the Carolinas. Breen’s essay set Michael Chitwood thinking…

The Power of the Porch: The Storyteller’s Craft in Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Naylor, and Randall Kenan by Trudier Harris (Review)

by Margaret D. Bauer
University of Georgia Press, 1996 In her preface to this collection of her 1995 Lamar Memorial Lectures, Harris explains that, upon first being invited to give the lectures, she knew immediately that she wanted to speak on the “orality” of Zora Neale Hurston’s work. Her selection of Hurston’s Mules and Men points to the value »

Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de Soto and the South’s Ancient Chiefdoms by Charles Hudson (Review)

by Peter H. Wood
University of Georgia Press, 1997 In 1847 while debate over the controversial War with Mexico raged in Congress, the decoration of Charles Bulfinch’s U.S. Capitol Building was nearing completion. John Trumbull’s four epic scenes of the revolutionary era had graced one side of the massive Rotunda for several decades, and three paintings featuring Columbus, Pocahontas, »

John Stuart and the Struggle for Empire on the Southern Frontier by J. Russell Snapp (Review)

by Robert M. Weir
Louisiana State University Press, 1996 J. Russell Snapp’s volume joins a rapidly lengthening list of new studies of the southern frontier in the eighteenth century—all intent on enlarging our understanding of Native Americans, Indian-white relations, and/or the American Revolution in the region. Insofar as it shares these aims, Snapp’s volume is not unique, but to »

Country People in the New South: Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland by Jeanette Keith (Review)

by Michael Lienesch
University of North Carolina Press, 1995 As southern cultures go, we may know least about the largest: the millions of rural white people, many of them poor, whom Frank Owsley called “plain folk.” Historically they have been an elusive population: celebrated by Jeffersonians as sturdy and virtuous yeomen, denigrated by conservative elites as “crackers” or »

The South as an American Problem Edited by Larry J. Griffin and Don H. Doyle (Review)

by Peter A. Coclanis
University of Georgia Press, 1995 In writing this review, I promised myself I would not start by alluding to a collection of essays on the South written almost seventy years ago by a dozen intellectuals associated with Vanderbilt University. Just because the new collection, The South as an American Problem, is the work of a »

Erskine Caldwell: The Journey from Tobacco Road by Dan B. Miller, and: The People’s Writer: Erskine Caldwell and the South by Wayne Mixon (Review)

by Bryant Simon
Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. University Press of Virginia, 1995. Last year, I assigned Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road to my upper-level twentieth-century U.S. history class. On the first day of the quarter, as the students scanned the syllabus, one of them asked, “Who is this Erskine Caldwell guy?” I answered with a question, “Have any of »

In Search of Elvis: Music, Race, Art, Religion Edited by Vernon Chadwick (Review)

by William McCranor Henderson
Westview Press, 1997 In 1995 the highly publicized First International Conference on Elvis Presley sent a clear message: Elvis was entering the academy with all the eclectic fanfare that had made him King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Though controversial, academic status for Elvis seemed appropriate, since his presence had long been felt everywhere else. But »

Hillbillyland: What the Movies Did to the Mountains and What the Mountains Did to the Movies by J. W. Williamson (review)

by James C. Wann
University of North Carolina Press, 1995 Some dozen years in the making, this thoroughly researched (800 films) yet highly readable treatise draws on J. W. Williamson’s long-time fascination with hillbilliana, and on the long-running “Hollywood Appalachia” class he teaches at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He knows his subject.

Re-Searching Black Music by Jon Michael Spencer (Review)

by Michael Taft
The University of Tennessee Press, 1996 Jon Michael Spencer’s latest book may be taken as an extended introductory essay to his theory of theomusicology. His title invites us to “re-search” the subject and nature of black music; that is, Spencer asks his readers to begin again their consideration of African American musical traditions from a »

Standing Before the Shouting Mob: Lenoir Chambers and Virginia’s Massive Resistance to Public-School Integration by Alexander S. Leidholdt (Review)

by Carl Tobias
University of Alabama Press, 1997 Alexander Leidholdt’s Standing Before the Shouting Mob is primarily a biographical account of Lenoir Chambers, the editorial page editor of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. The book emphasizes the role that Chambers and the newspaper played in shaping public opinion during the half-decade period when Virginia practiced “massive resistance” to the desegregation of public schools. The »

The New Crusades, the New Holy Land: Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention, 1969-1991 by David T. Morgan (Review)

by James L. Peacock
The University of Alabama Press, 1996 As though following a kind of Gresham’s law in the religious realm, fundamentalisms of various kinds have surged throughout the world at the expense of moderate or liberal perspectives. This is obviously true for Islam, reportedly true for Judaism, and apparently also for Christianity. In fact, the trend is »

Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks by Walt Wolfram and Natalie Schilling-Estes (Review)

by Bruce Southard
University of North Carolina Press, 1997 Separated from the mainland by some twenty miles, Ocracoke Island is the site of one of the oldest villages in the inhabited islands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Founded in 1715, when the North Carolina Assembly passed a bill providing for settling and maintaing pilots at Ocracoke Inlet, an »

Soul Food

by John Shelton Reed
Lisa Howorth has observed that southerners can be distinguished by what goes into their mouths and what comes out of them. Many of the questions on the twice-yearly Southern Focus Poll deal with one or another of these aspects of the South. In the spring of 1995, 907 residents of the southern states and 506 »

Wie Geht’s, Y’all?: German Influences in Southern Cooking

by Fred R. Reenstjerna
Because Germans have been in the South for over 250 years, they have blended more completely into southern culture than, say, Germans in Pittsburgh or Detroit. While a great deal has been made about Celtic and English influences in southern culture, less attention has been paid to other significant European influences. Most especially, German culinary »

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

by Lauren F. Winner
My students last summer had never heard of Jim Crow. U.S. Government is not an area in which I can claim expertise, but when I applied for a summer job with Duke University’s Talent Identification Program—a camp for academically gifted middle- and high-school students—someone in hiring thought my few years’ study of American history and »
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