From the South's pageant queens to the importance of beauty parlors to African American communities, it is easy to see the ways beauty is enmeshed in southern culture. But as Blain Roberts shows in this incisive work, the pursuit of beauty in the South was linked to the tumultuous racial divides of the region, where the Jim Crow-era cosmetics industry came of age selling the idea of makeup that emphasized whiteness, and where, in the 1950s and 1960s, black-owned beauty shops served as crucial sites of resistance for civil rights activists. In these times of strained relations in the South, beauty became a signifier of power and affluence while it reinforced racial strife. Roberts examines a range of beauty products, practices, and rituals--cosmetics, hairdressing, clothing, and beauty contests--in settings that range from tobacco farms of the Great Depression to 1950s and 1960s college campuses. In so doing, she uncovers the role of female beauty in the economic and cultural modernization of the South. By showing how battles over beauty came to a head during the civil rights movement, Roberts sheds new light on the tactics southerners used to resist and achieve desegregation.
Cussing Dixie, Loving Dixie: Fifty Years of Commentary by H. Brandt Ayers collects in one volume the essential writing of the legendary publisher and editor of the Anniston Star. The decades-long ribbon of prose that spilled from Ayers's pen captured the epochal milestones of our times, such as the 1965 March on Washington, the civil rights movement, the rise and decay of the New South movement, the South's transformation from a bulwark of Democratic entropy to a heartland of irascible conservatism, and the election of the republic's first black president. Cussing Dixie, Loving Dixie: Fifty Years of Commentary by H. Brandt Ayers includes Ayers's unforgettable descriptions of the political giants of Alabama's turbulent twentieth century. Of George Wallace he wrote: “He lost his way in the swamp of racial politics, squandered his great talent for leadership, and, cruelly, has made his most devoted followers bear the consequences.” And Ayers memorably hymned Supreme Court justice Hugo Black as having “made of the Bill of Rights a trumpet which kept calling the nation back to its original purpose.” Ayers was so known for his passionate crusade for a fair deal for “the plain people of both races” of Alabama that enemies dubbed his family's newspaper “The Red Star.” A loyal son of Alabama who extolls Southern culture, Ayers unapologetically calls for Alabamians to cast off the moribund ideologies of the past. He jousts against obscurantism itself: “When fear and ignorance snuff out the brains of a man,” he thunders, “he is reduced to the level of a jungle predator—a flexed mass of instincts.” Writing from a generous heart, Ayers enlivens and enlightens. Eschewing the hifalutin, his artful writing is both accessible to the people and admired by the learned. Far from provincial, his far-ranging eye landed often on global events, and he persuasively frames the state and region as an active front on which key national issues hang. Ayers ranks among the most prolific and insightful chroniclers of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Alabama. Cussing Dixie, Loving Dixie: Fifty Years of Commentary by H. Brandt Ayers is a monument to his enduring legacy and relevance.
In this powerful memoir, Charles Dew, one of America's most respected historians of the South--and particularly its history of slavery--turns the focus on his own life, which began not in the halls of enlightenment but in a society unequivocally committed to segregation. Dew re-creates the midcentury American South of his childhood--in many respects a boy's paradise, but one stained by Lost Cause revisionism and, worse, by the full brunt of Jim Crow. Through entertainments and'educational'books that belittled African Americans, as well as the living examples of his own family, Dew was indoctrinated in a white supremacy that, at best, was condescendingly paternalistic and, at worst, brutally intolerant. The fear that southern culture, and the'hallowed white male brotherhood,'could come undone through the slightest flexibility in the color line gave the Jim Crow mindset its distinctly unyielding quality. Dew recalls his father, in most regards a decent man, becoming livid over a black tradesman daring to use the front, and not the back, door.The second half of the book shows how this former Confederate youth and descendant of Thomas Roderick Dew, one of slavery's most passionate apologists, went on to reject his racist upbringing and become a scholar of the South and its deeply conflicted history. The centerpiece of Dew's story is his sobering discovery of a price circular from 1860--an itemized list of humans up for sale. Contemplating this document becomes Dew's first step in an exploration of antebellum Richmond's slave trade that investigates the terrible--but, to its white participants, unremarkable--inhumanity inherent in the institution.Dew's wish with this book is to show how the South of his childhood came into being, poisoning the minds even of honorable people, and to answer the question put to him by Illinois Browning Culver, the African American woman who devoted decades of her life to serving his family:'Charles, why do the grown-ups put so much hate in the children?'
In Laying Claim: African American Cultural Memory and Southern Identity, Patricia Davis identifies the Civil War as the central narrative around which official depictions of southern culture have been defined. Because that narrative largely excluded African American points of view, the resulting southern identity was monolithically white. Davis traces how the increasing participation of black public voices in the realms of Civil War memory—battlefields, museums, online communities—has dispelled the mirage of “southernness” as a stolid cairn of white culture and has begun to create a more fluid sense of southernness that welcomes contributions by all of the region's peoples. Laying Claim offers insightful and penetrating examinations of African American participation in Civil War reenactments; the role of black history museums in enriching representations of the Civil War era with more varied interpretations; and the internet as a forum within which participants exchange and create historical narratives that offer alternatives to unquestioned and dominant public memories. From this evolving cultural landscape, Davis demonstrates how simplistic caricatures of African American experiences are giving way to more authentic, expansive, and inclusive interpretations of southernness. As a case-study and example of change, Davis cites the evolution of depictions of life at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Where visitors to the site once encountered narratives that repeated the stylized myth of Monticello as a genteel idyll, modern accounts of Jefferson's day offer a holistic, inclusive, and increasingly honest view of Monticello as the residents on every rung of the social ladder experienced it. Contemporary violence and attacks about or inspired by the causes, outcomes, and symbols of the Civil War, even one hundred and fifty years after its end, add urgency to Davis's argument that the control and creation of public memories of that war is an issue of concern not only to scholars but all Americans. Her hopeful examination of African American participation in public memory illuminates paths by which this enduring ideological impasse may find resolutions.
Most histories of the American South describe the conflict between evangelical religion and honor culture as one of the defining features of southern life before the Civil War. The story is usually told as a battle of clashing worldviews, but in this book, Robert Elder challenges this interpretation by illuminating just how deeply evangelicalism in Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches was interwoven with traditional southern culture, arguing that evangelicals owed much of their success to their ability to appeal to people steeped in southern honor culture. Previous accounts of the rise of evangelicalism in the South have told this tale as a tragedy in which evangelicals eventually adopted many of the central tenets of southern society in order to win souls and garner influence. But through an examination of evangelical language and practices, Elder shows that evangelicals always shared honor's most basic assumptions.Making use of original sources such as diaries, correspondence, periodicals, and church records, Elder recasts the relationship between evangelicalism and secular honor in the South, proving the two concepts are connected in much deeper ways than have ever been previously understood.
Current research on the history and evolution of moral standards and their role in Southern societyFor more than thirty years, the study of honor has been fundamental to understanding southern culture and history. Defined chiefly as reputation or public esteem, honor penetrated virtually every aspect of southern ethics and behavior, including race, gender, law, education, religion, and violence. In The Field of Honor: Essays on Southern Character and American Identity, editors John Mayfield and Todd Hagstette bring together new research by twenty emerging and established scholars who study the varied practices and principles of honor in its American context, across an array of academic disciplines. Following pathbreaking works by Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Dickson D. Bruce, and Edward L. Ayers, this collection notes that honor became a distinctive mark of southern culture and something that—alongside slavery—set the South distinctly off from the rest of the United States. This anthology brings together the work of a variety of writers who collectively explore both honor's range and its limitations, revealing a South largely divided between the demands of honor and the challenges of an emerging market culture—one common to the United States at large. They do so by methodologically examining legal studies, market behaviors, gender, violence, and religious and literary expressions. Honor emerges here as a tool used to negotiate modernity's challenges rather than as a rigid tradition and set of assumptions codified in unyielding rules and rhetoric. Some topics are traditional for the study of honor, some are new, but all explore the question: how different really is the South from America writ large? The Field of Honor builds an essential bridge between two distinct definitions of southern—and, by extension, American—character and identity.
Yellow Dogs, Hushpuppies, and Bluetick Hounds
Who lived at the P.O. in China Grove, Mississippi? What does NASCAR stand for? Where is the Redneck Riviera? When is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday? What are Yellow Mama and Old Sparky? Entertaining, fun, and educational, this quiz book covers every aspect of southern culture from alligators to melungeons to zydeco. More than 800 questions--most drawn from the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture--cover literature, music, entertainment, history, politics, the law, sports and recreation, science, medicine, business, industry, and religion. Test your southern I.Q.! Take a copy to parties and on road trips. Use it to settle supper-table squabbles. It's a guaranteed good time. Published in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi Answers to questions: Sister, who tells her story in Eudora Welty's 'Why I Live at the P.O.' National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. The Florida Panhandle January 15, 1929 Electric chairs in Alabama and Florida, respectively. Originally published in 1996. A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.
This volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture addresses the cultural, social, and intellectual terrain of myth, manners, and historical memory in the American South. Evaluating how a distinct southern identity has been created, recreated, and performed through memories that blur the line between fact and fiction, this volume paints a broad, multihued picture of the region seen through the lenses of belief and cultural practice.
Cobb, "surveys the remarkable story of southern identity and its persistence in the face of sweeping changes in the South's economy, society and political structure."--Jacket.
The front porch evokes cherished memories from across a lifetime for many southerners--recollections of childhood games, courtship, family visits, gossip with neighbors. In this book, Jocelyn Hazelwood Donlon offers an original appreciation of the significance of the porch to everyday life in the South. The porch, she reveals, is not a simple place after all, but a stage for many social dramas. She uses literature, folklore, oral histories, and photographs to show how southerners have used the porch to negotiate public and private boundaries--in ways so embedded in custom that they often go unrecognized. Her sources include writings by Dorothy Allison, William Faulkner, Ernest Gaines, Gloria Naylor, Zora Neale Hurston, and Lee Smith, as well as oral histories that provide varying racial, gender, class, and regional perspectives.
"As the first collection dedicated to the relationship between television and the U.S. South, Small-Screen Souths addresses the growing interest in how mass culture represents the region and influences popular perceptions of it. In sixteen essays divided into three thematic sections, scholars of southern culture analyze representations of the South in a variety of television shows spanning the history of the medium, from classic network programs such as The Andy Griffith Show and Designing Women to some of today's popular franchises like Duck Dynasty and The Walking Dead. The first section, 'Politics and Identity in the Televisual South, ' focuses on how television constructs understandings of race, gender, sexuality, and class, often adapting to changing configurations of community and identity. The next section, 'Caricatures, Commodities, and Catharsis in the Rural South, ' examines the tension between depictions of southern rural communities and assumptions about abject whiteness, particularly conceptions of poverty and profitized culture. The concluding section, '(Dis)Locating the South, ' considers the influence of postcolonialism, globalization, and cosmopolitanism in understanding television featuring the region. Throughout, the essays investigate the profuse, often contradictory ways that the U.S. South has been represented on television, seeking to expand and pluralize myopic perspectives of the region. By analyzing depictions of the South from the classical network era to the contemporary post-broadcast age, Small-Screen Souths offers a broad historical scope and a multiplicity of theoretical and interdisciplinary perspectives on what it means to see the South from the television screen."-- From publisher's description.