DEEP SOUTHS: Delta, Piedmont, and Sea Island Society in the Age of Segregation

J. William Harris, Author . Johns Hopkins Univ. $45 (496p) ISBN 978-0-8018-6563-3

This lucid, scholarly social history of three lower-South regions—the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta, the eastern Georgia Piedmont, and the Sea Islands and rice coast of Georgia—examines three generations after the Reconstruction (1876–1939). Using plantation records, county newspapers, census records, tax returns, oral histories, journals and diaries, Harris (Plain Folks and Gentry in a Slave Society) chronicles economic developments, culture and politics. A history professor at the University of New Hampshire, he challenges the conventional picture of the Deep South as a static and uniform society. "The ebbs and flows of capital and labor" form the bones of Harris's work, while the lives of real people give it vitality—women as well as men, poor farmers and wealthy land-owners, Pentecostals and politicians, sharecroppers and educators, lynchers and their victims, suffragists and blues singers, entrepreneurs and activists—often rendered in pertinent, vivid biographical detail in this absorbing work, which is based on more than a decade of research. The book concludes with an "Essay on Sources" that should be very useful to fellow researchers, as well as a highly intelligible appendix providing statistical data on population, lynchings, presidential votes, farm ownership, farm production, occupations, marriage and household status, and church membership. (June 13)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-8018-7310-2
Ebook - 495 pages - 978-0-8018-7581-6
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