Society and Culture in the Slave South (Rewriting Histories)

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Neo-Confederates sentimentalize the stories and assert that it was economic and cultural issues that drove the Confederate states out of the Union, but all of the arguments lead to the same place: Preserving slavery was the motivating issue for secession and war. Any other reading of history is disingenuous, deceitful and odious. In time, it was not considered genteel in the South to defend slavery, so it had to be explained in other ways — ways like heroism.


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The Lost Cause became the force behind the instruments of white supremacy, expressed by the naming of parks and streets and the erection of statues and monuments honoring heroes of the Confederacy. The message to African Americans was unequivocal: We may not have won the war, but we will not abandon the core beliefs that sent us to battle. The Lost Causers saw the Confederacy as engaged in a noble cause and African Americans as a necessary evil required to support a commodities economy focused on selling products at the lowest price and paying workers as little as possible.

What land former slaves had was often taken to pay debts to the store. If the Confederate veterans marching through the streets and parks named in their honor were not enough to underscore this message, there were lynchings that continued well into the 20th century with one as late as , often accompanied by modest, if any, newspaper coverage. The present silence about the Lost Cause movement in Memphis suggests that the city was immune to the message from groups like the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy, but there is a direct connection between the Lost Cause and the relocation of the grave and construction of a statue of slave trader, Ku Klux Klan founder and Confederate Gen.

Nathan Bedford Forrest. It moved from historic Elmwood Cemetery to a prominent park on a major city street and the dedication in was attended by 30, people. It was a major civic event in Memphis — at least for whites. For African Americans, it was a potent reminder that while Beale Street might be tolerated, they lived in a community where lynchings — a formidable form of community control — were not uncommon, where the offices of anti-lynching journalist Ida B.

Wells were destroyed before she was ultimately forced to flee the city for her life, and where their limited opportunities were laced with subservience and obsequiousness. Nathan Bedford Forrest had died in and 10 years after his death, with the turn of a new century approaching, a fundraising campaign headed by former Confederate officers was mounted in Memphis to erect a statue in his honor. The city was festooned with 15, Confederate flags and bunting and parades by 15, Confederate veterans with their ribbons, medals and banners.

Other national reunions for the Rebel soldiers were held in Memphis in and in Other pages in the special edition honored Confederate Gen.

Slavery and plantation capitalism in Louisiana's sugar country

Robert E. The celebrations overlooked the fact that Memphis was largely unscathed by the Civil War and was under Union control for most of it.

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The first was one of the briefest naval battles in history, lasting about two hours in the early morning of June 5, , and witnessed by thousands of Memphians who watched from the river bluff in a carnival atmosphere. By noon that day, after essentially destroying the Confederate presence on the Mississippi River, federal forces took charge of Memphis. The second Battle of Memphis on August 21, , at 4 a. It consisted of a raid by Forrest that achieved none of its military objectives. Its primary result was that it led to the Union beefing up its forces in Memphis until military rule ended on July 3, Cadwallader C.

Washburn from his home wearing only his nightshirt to take refuge in a nearby Fort Pickering. Union Gen. This project will focus on issues of Blackness; the construction of oppositional identities; and the transnational exchanges that inform these constructions. My research will contextualize how Blackness and the practicing of Yoruba-derived religions are related. Moreover, I will examine the different socio-historical trajectories of the development of Yoruba religion in Bahia as opposed to its development in the United States.

For the Brooklyn group, the Black Nationalist Movement of the 's and 70's was integral to its formation. In practicing the Orisa tradition, this community of African-descended practitioners found an "authentic African" spiritual system that was consistent with the ideology of Black Nationalism.

Life Aboard a Slave Ship - History

Given this history, I would like to explore the underlying political motivations of the religious practices of each group. Within the African Diasporic framework, my project seeks to determine whether the manifestation of Yoruba religion occurred in the same politicized manner in Bahia as it does in New York. Answers to these questions may reveal why and how the Brooklyn-Bahia alliance has been maintained.

Slavery and Memory in Charleston, South Carolina

My dissertation will explore embodied ritual practices among the Mina-Jeje peoples in northeastern Brazil. The term Mina-Jeje describes the Afro-Brazilian descendents of the vodun-worshipping peoples identified with the Allada town and kingdom of present-day Benin.

I will address the following questions in my research: What stories are being re enacted through these dances? How are ritual and political power manifested, distributed, renegotiated and reiterated during danced rituals? Scholars of slavery have long maintained that the history of slavery has not been adequately represented within British public culture. The opening of the International Slavery Museum makes Britain one of the first Western nations to acknowledge the traumatic impact of slavery at a national-institutional level. However, the question remains as to how these historic sites refashion the existing archive on slavery.

Can we at all contend that these representations are giving birth to alternative modes of history-writing? By providing answers to such questions,this project aims to analyze how racial-colonial trauma is remembered and performed within the civic life of a nation whose present has been shaped significantly by its imperial past. Research will examine the cultural policy of the government from the late s to today. How do transnational processes influence embodied practices? Can transnational social networks be traced through global flows of embodied performances?

Migrant artists mobilized by changing socio-political and socio-economic climates offer insights into the effects of transnationalism on processes of the body.

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In so doing, scholarly discourses on transnationalism will be broadened to include questions of embodiment and performance. It is also about ideas. What the architects of the project recognise is that universities did not just benefit financially from slavery and colonialism, they played a role in the creation of the racial theories that underwrote both of those grim projects.

Racism is a belief system. It was assembled over centuries from many component parts — bits of biblical scripture, the propaganda of the slave-owning lobby and the pseudo-science of academics working in universities in Europe and America. Theories, books and ideas created within ivory towers had real-world consequences.

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Placement History | Department of History

Some universities have concluded that it is time to confront these realities. Last year, Glasgow University announced that a considerable proportion of its historical funding had come from slavery, information generated by a research project very similar to that announced by Cambridge. That there was no comparable howl of derision at the news from Glasgow reveals part of the problem here. It is about breaking the historical silence and uncovering a past that was whitewashed.

Cambridge never forgot its role in the lives of Wilberforce and Clarkson, the better angels of our history, but, like other universities across Britain, there was amnesia about the men who made their money from the slavery business. This research is needed because of that amnesia. What actions that new knowledge inspires will be up to Cambridge University. That is the real question.