This study is the first published in the Histories of Arkansas, a new series that will build a complete chronological history of the state from the colonial period through modern times. Under the general editorship of noted historian Elliott West, this series will include various thematic histories as well as the chronologically arranged core volumes.
In Arkansas and the New South, 1874–1929 Carl Moneyhon examines the struggle of Arkansas’s people to enter the economic and social mainstreams of the nation in the years from the end of Reconstruction to the beginning of the Great Depression. Economic changes brought about by development of the timber industry, exploitation of the rich coal fields in the western part of the state, discovery of petroleum, and building of manufacturing industries transformed social institutions and fostered a demographic shift from rural to urban settings.
Arkansans were notably successful in bringing the New South to their state, relying on individual enterprise and activist government as they integrated more fully into the national economy and society. But by 1929 persistent problems in the still dominant agricultural sector, the onset of the depression, and heightening social tensions arrested progress and dealt the state a major economic setback that would only be overcome in the years following World War II.
Expanding upon scholarly articles that merely touch on this era in Arkansas history and delving into pertinent primary sources, Moneyhon offers not only an overall look at the state but also an explanation for the singular path it took during these momentous years.
In 2013, the New York Times identified Nashville as America’s “it” city—a leading hub of music, culture, technology, food, and business. But long before, the Tennessee capital was known as the “Athens of the South,” as a reflection of the city’s reputation for and investment in its institutions of higher education, which especially blossomed after the end of the Civil War and through the New South Era from 1865 to 1930.
This wide-ranging book chronicles the founding and growth of Nashville’s institutions of higher education and their impressive impact on the city, region, and nation at large. Local colleges and universities also heavily influenced Nashville’s brand of modernity as evidenced by the construction of a Parthenon replica, the centerpiece of the 1897 Centennial Exposition. By the turn of the twentieth century, Vanderbilt University had become one of the country’s premier private schools, while nearby Peabody College was a leading teacher-training institution. Nashville also became known as a center for the education of African Americans. Fisk University joined the ranks of the nation’s most prestigious black liberal-arts universities, while Meharry Medical College emerged as one of the country’s few training centers for African American medical professionals. Following the agricultural-industrial model, Tennessee A&I became the state’s first black public college. Meanwhile, various other schools— Ward-Belmont, a junior college for women; David Lipscomb College, the instructional arm of the Church of Christ; and Roger Williams University, which trained black men and women as teachers and preachers—made important contributions to the higher educational landscape. In sum, Nashville was distinguished not only by the quantity of its schools but by their quality.
Linking these institutions to the progressive and educational reforms of the era, Mary Ellen Pethel also explores their impact in shaping Nashville’s expansion, on changing gender roles, and on leisure activity in the city, which included the rise and popularity of collegiate sports. In her conclusion, she shows that Nashville’s present-day reputation as a dynamic place to live, learn, and work is due in no small part to the role that higher education continues to play in the city’s growth and development.
This third edition of Knoxville, Tennessee: A Mountain City in the New South includes a new preface and a valuable new chapter covering the period from the death of Cas Walker to the end of the administration of Madeline Rogero, Knoxville’s first female mayor.
Wheeler argues that, until very recently, like Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (1925), Knoxvillians had fabricated for themselves a false history, portraying themselves and their city as the almost impotent victims of historical forces that they could neither alter nor control. The result of this myth has been a collective mentality of near-helplessness against the powerful forces of isolation, poverty, and even change itself. But Knoxville’s past is far more complicated than that, for the city contained abundant material goods and human talent that could have been used to propel Knoxville into the ranks of the premier cities of the New South—if those assets had not slipped through the fingers of both the leaders and the populace. In all, Knoxville’s history is the story of colliding forces—country and city, North and South, the poor and the elites as well as the story of colorful figures, including Perez Dickenson, Edward Sanford, George Dempster, Carlene Malone, Bill Haslam, and Madeline Rogero, among many, many more.
While challenges related to public health, income inequality, racism, and the environment remain, Wheeler detects the possibility that the myth Knoxvillians have clung to may finally be fading. Downtown development by vibrant local entrepreneurs, a government more responsive than ever before, and an economy that endured a severe economic downturn only to turn out brighter than expected are all symptoms of a Knoxville that may be ready to take its place in the rising urbanism of twenty-first-century America.
A groundbreaking study, Lynching in the New South is a classic portrait of the tradition of violence that poisoned American life.
An Old Creed for the New South:Proslavery Ideology and Historiography, 1865–1918 details the slavery debate from the Civil War through World War I. Award-winning historian John David Smith argues that African American slavery remained a salient metaphor for how Americans interpreted contemporary race relations decades after the Civil War.
Smith draws extensively on postwar articles, books, diaries, manuscripts, newspapers, and speeches to counter the belief that debates over slavery ended with emancipation. After the Civil War, Americans in both the North and the South continued to debate slavery’s merits as a labor, legal, and educational system and as a mode of racial control. The study details how white Southerners continued to tout slavery as beneficial for both races long after Confederate defeat. During Reconstruction and after Redemption, Southerners continued to refine proslavery ideas while subjecting blacks to new legal, extralegal, and social controls.
An Old Creed for the New South links pre– and post–Civil War racial thought, showing historical continuity, and treats the Black Codes and the Jim Crow laws in new ways, connecting these important racial and legal themes to intellectual and social history. Although many blacks and some whites denounced slavery as the source of the contemporary “Negro problem,” most whites, including late nineteenth-century historians, championed a “new” proslavery argument. The study also traces how historian Ulrich B. Phillips and Progressive Era scholars looked at slavery as a golden age of American race relations and shows how a broad range of African Americans, including Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, responded to the proslavery argument. Such ideas, Smith posits, provided a powerful racial creed for the New South.
This examination of black slavery in the American public mind—which includes the arguments of former slaves, slaveholders, Freedmen's Bureau agents, novelists, and essayists—demonstrates that proslavery ideology dominated racial thought among white southerners, and most white northerners, in the five decades following the Civil War.
In the wake of their defeat in the Civil War, many southern intellectuals recognized that their institutions had failed to supply antebellum graduates with the skills needed to compete with the North. Thus, educators who had previously served as Confederate officers led an effort to promote academic reform throughout the region.
In Thinking Confederates, Dan R. Frost details how these men set about transforming southern higher education, shifting their schools from a classical orientation to a new emphasis on science and engineering. Although they espoused a reverence for the past, they recognized that the eradication of slavery had been necessary for southern progress, and they upheld an idea of a New South that embraced beliefs both in the “Lost Cause” and in national reconciliation.
More than a description of this particular event, however, Who Killed John Clayton? traces patterns of political violence in this section of the South over a three-decade period. Using vivid courtroom-type detail, Barnes describes how violence was used to define and control the political system in the post-Reconstruction South and how this system in turn produced Jim Crow. Although white Unionists and freed blacks had joined under the banner of the Republican Party and gained the upper hand during Reconstruction, during these last decades of the nineteenth century conservative elites, first organized as the Ku Klux Klan and then as the revived Democratic Party, regained power—via such tactics as murdering political opponents, lynching blacks, and defrauding elections.
This important recounting of the struggle over political power will engage those interested in Southern and American history.
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