Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of Deep Souths
Cover image of Deep Souths
Share this Title:

Deep Souths

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

J. William Harris

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History

Co-winner of the James A. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians

Winner of the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Prize from the Agricultural History Society

Deep Souths tells the stories of three southern regions from Reconstruction to World War II: the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta, the eastern Piedmont of Georgia, and the Georgia Sea Islands and Atlantic coast. Though these regions initially shared the histories and populations we associate with the idea of a "Deep South"—all had economies based on slave plantation labor in 1860—their…

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History

Co-winner of the James A. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians

Winner of the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Prize from the Agricultural History Society

Deep Souths tells the stories of three southern regions from Reconstruction to World War II: the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta, the eastern Piedmont of Georgia, and the Georgia Sea Islands and Atlantic coast. Though these regions initially shared the histories and populations we associate with the idea of a "Deep South"—all had economies based on slave plantation labor in 1860—their histories diverged sharply during the three generations after Reconstruction. With research gathered from oral histories, census reports, and a wide variety of other sources, Harris traces these regional changes in cumulative stories of individuals across the social spectrum. Deep Souths presents a comparative and ground-level view of history that challenges the idea that the lower South was either uniform or static in the era of segregation. By the end of the New Deal era, changes in these regions had prepared the way for the civil rights movement and the end of segregation.

Reviews

Reviews

This book succeeds admirably in... show[ing] that far from being static during the years between Reconstruction and the Second World War, the southern states were rapidly changing... It would be hard to find a better ground-level account.

This is one of those uncommon scholarly works that combines remarkable research and a fluid writing style into an illuminating and highly readable book... Harris gives voice to a heartbreaking story of economic struggle, racial conflict, and glacial change through memoirs, letters, and newspaper articles. He writes with genuine sympathy for the inhabitants of each region but never loses sight of the broad forces that shaped their lives. Highly recommended.

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 landowners, 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.

Harris's superb synthesis of the vast scholarship on this era is matched by his identifying previously untapped archival sources that offer fresh perspectives and evidence.

There is no static South here; Harris's story is one of constant change and evolution, in response to forces both internal and external... Harris's achievement is not in reconceptualizing southern history, it is in synthesizing many of the strands of recent historiography, helping us understand how they fit together in the lives of real Deep Southerners.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
496
ISBN
9780801875816
Illustration Description
36 halftones, 3 maps, 19 charts
Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Part I: 1876–1896
Chapter 1. Land and Labor in New South Countrysides
Chapter 2. "A White Man's Country": Creating the Age of Segregation
Chapter 3. The Populist Challenge
Part

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Part I: 1876–1896
Chapter 1. Land and Labor in New South Countrysides
Chapter 2. "A White Man's Country": Creating the Age of Segregation
Chapter 3. The Populist Challenge
Part II: 1897–1918
Chapter 4. Capital at Work, Capitalists at Play
Chapter 5. Culture, Race, and Class in the Segregation Era
Chapter 6. War's Challenge to Jim Crow Citizenship
Part III: 1919–1939
Chapter 7. Twilight in Cotton's Kingdom
Chapter 8. "Discord, Dissension, and Hatred": Cultural Change and Cultural Conflict After World War I
Chapter 9. "Uncle Sam is My Shepherd": The New Deal's Challenge to Deep South Political Economy
Conclusion
Deep South Histories
Coda
Endings
Appendix: Charts and Tables
Abbreviations
Notes
Essay on Sources
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

J. William Harris

J. William Harris is a professor and chair of the History Department at the University of New Hampshire. His previous books include Society and Culture in the Slave South (editor) and Plain Folk and Gentry in a Slave Society: White Liberty and Black Slavery in Augusta's Hinterlands.