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The American South Series

This series is devoted to publishing innovative work on the American South. Its goal is to reach across conventional boundaries of discipline, geography, and chronology to foster fresh perspectives on the region. The series welcomes historians, literary scholars, anthropologists, geographers, photographers, folklorists, journalists, and others whose work focuses on the southeastern United States during any period of the past or present. The Press encourages interdisciplinary and comparative studies as well as those that examine the place of the region in national or international contexts.

Series Editors: Elizabeth R. Varon


A Strife of Tongues

Stephen E. Maizlish

Near the end of a nine-month confrontation preceding the Compromise of 1850, Abraham Venable warned his fellow congressmen that "words become things." Indeed, in politics—then, as now—rhetoric makes reality. But while the legislative maneuvering, factional alignments, and specific measures of the... More


Facing Freedom

Daniel B. Thorp

The history of African Americans in southern Appalachia after the Civil War has largely escaped the attention of scholars of both African Americans and the region. In Facing Freedom, Daniel Thorp relates the complex experience of an African American community in southern Appalachia as it negotiated... More


Capital and Convict

Henry Kamerling

Both in the popular imagination and in academic discourse, North and South are presented as fundamentally divergent penal systems in the aftermath of the Civil War, a difference mapped onto larger perceived cultural disparities between the two regions. The South’s post Civil War embrace of chain... More


The Uplift Generation

Clayton McClure Brooks

Offering a fresh look at interracial cooperation in the formative years of Jim Crow, The Uplift Generation examines how segregation was molded, not by Virginia’s white political power structure alone but rather through the work of a generation of Virginian reformers across the color line who from... More


The Risen Phoenix

Luis-Alejandro Dinnella-Borrego

The Risen Phoenix charts the changing landscape of black politics and political culture in the postwar South by focusing on the careers of six black congressmen who served between the Civil War and the turn of the nineteenth century: John Mercer Langston of Virginia, James Thomas Rapier of Alabama... More


Designing Dixie

Reiko Hillyer

Although many white southerners chose to memorialize the Lost Cause in the aftermath of the Civil War, boosters, entrepreneurs, and architects in southern cities believed that economic development, rather than nostalgia, would foster reconciliation between North and South. In Designing Dixie, Reiko... More


A Deed So Accursed

Terence Finnegan

From the end of Reconstruction to the onset of the civil rights era, lynching was prevalent in developing and frontier regions that had a dynamic and fluid African American population. Focusing on Mississippi and South Carolina because of the high proportion of African Americans in each state... More


Radical Reform

Deborah Beckel

Radical Reform describes a remarkable chapter in the American pro-democracy movement. It portrays the largely unknown leaders of the interracial Republican Party who struggled for political, civil, and labor rights in North Carolina after the Civil War. In so doing, they paved the way for the... More


What Reconstruction Meant

Bruce E. Baker

A great deal has been written about southern memory centering on the Civil War, particularly the view of the war as a valiant lost cause. In this challenging new book Bruce Baker looks at a related, and equally important, aspect of southern memory that has been treated by historians only in passing... More


Religion and the Making of Nat Turner's Virginia

Randolph Ferguson Scully

Religion and the Making of Nat Turner's Virginia provides a new interpretation of the rise of evangelical Christianity in the early American South by reconstructing the complex, biracial history of the Baptist movement in southeastern Virginia. This region and its religious history became a... More


From Yeoman to Redneck in the South Carolina Upcountry, 1850-1915

Stephen A. West

In From Yeoman to Redneck in the South Carolina Upcountry, Stephen A. West revises understandings of the American South by offering a new perspective on two iconic figures in the region’s social landscape. "Yeoman," a term of praise for the small landowning farmer, was commonly used during the... More


Black, White, and Olive Drab

Andrew H. Myers

One of the first Army bases to implement on a large scale President Truman’s call for racial integration of the armed forces, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, quickly took its place in the Defense Department’s official history of the process. What reporters, and later on, historians, overlooked was... More


Murder, Honor, and Law

Richard F. Hamm

In 1868 a scion of one of the leading families of Richmond, Virginia, ambushed and killed the city’s most controversial journalist over an article that had dishonored the killer’s family. In 1892 a Democratic politician killed a crusading Danville minister after a dispute at the polls. In 1907 a... More


South by Southwest

James D. Miller

Between 1815 and 1861 thousands of planters formed a unique emigrant group in American history. A slaveholding, landholding elite, southerners from Georgia and South Carolina uprooted themselves from their communities and headed for their society’s borderlands with a frequency and intensity... More


A Way Out of No Way

Dianne Swann-Wright

An African American folk saying declares, "Our God can make a way out of no way.... He can do anything but fail." When Dianne Swann-Wright set out to capture and relate the history of her ancestors—African Americans in central Virginia after the Civil War—she had to find that way, just as her... More


The Lynching of Emmett Till

Christopher Metress

At 2:00 A.M. on August 28, 1955, fourteen-year-old Emmett Till, visiting from Chicago, was abducted from his great-uncle’s cabin in Money, Mississippi, and never seen alive again. When his battered and bloated corpse floated to the surface of the Tallahatchie River three days later and two local... More


Ladies and Gentlemen on Display

Charlene M. Boyer Lewis

Each summer between 1790 and 1860, hundreds and eventually thousands of southern men and women left the diseases and boredom of their plantation homes and journeyed to the healthful and entertaining Virginia Springs. While some came in search of a cure, most traveled over the mountains to enjoy the... More


Forgotten Time

John C. Willis

Although it came to epitomize the Cotton South in the twentieth century, the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta emerged as a distinct entity in the decades following the Civil War. As other southerners confronted the need to rebuild, the Delta remained mostly wilderness in 1865. Elsewhere, planters struggled... More


Bloody Promenade

Stephen Cushman

On 5 and 6 May 1864, the Union and Confederate armies met near an unfinished railroad in central Virginia, with Lee outmanned and outgunned, hoping to force Grant to fight in the woods. The name of the battle—Wilderness—suggests the horror of combat at close quarters and an inability to see the... More


Slave in A Box

Maurice M. Manring

The figure of the mammy occupies a central place in the lore of the Old South and has long been used to ullustrate distinct social phenomena, including racial oppression and class identity. In the early twentieth century, the mammy became immortalized as Aunt Jemima, the spokesperson for a line of... More


Haunted Bodies

Anne Goodwyn Jones and Susan V. Donaldson, eds.

In Haunted Bodies, Anne Goodwyn Jones and Susan V. Donaldson have brought together some of our most highly regarded southern historians and literary critics to consider race, gender, and texts through three centuries and from a wealth of vantage points. Works as diversive as eighteenth-century... More