Originally published in 1845, Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs is a series of sketches written in part to parody some the campaign literature of the era. The character, Simon Suggs, with his motto, “it is good to be shifty in a new country,” fully incarnates a backwoods version of the national archetypes now know as the confidence man, the grafter, the professional flim-flam artist supremely skilled in the arts by which a man gets along in the world. This classic volume of good humor is set in the rough-and-tumble world of frontier life and politics.
All Alabama elections are colorful, but the 1986 gubernatorial contest may trump them all for its sheer strangeness. With the retirement of an aging and ill George Wallace, both the issues and candidates contending for the office were able to set the course of Alabama politics for generations to follow. Whereas the Wallace regimes were particular to Alabama, and the gubernatorial campaign was conducted in a partial vacuum with his absence, Alabama also experienced a wave of partisan realignment. A once solidly Democratic South was undergoing a tectonic political shift as white voters in large numbers abandoned their traditional Democratic political home for the revived Republicans, a party shaped in many respects by the Wallace presidential bids of 1968 and 1972 and the Reagan revolution of the 1980s.
Alabama's own Democratic party contributed to this massive shift with self-destructive campaign behavior that disgusted many of its traditional voters who wound up staying home or voting for a little-known Republican. From the gubernatorial election of 1986 came the shaky balance between the two parties that exists today.
After Wallace recollects and analyzes how these shifts occurred, citing extensive newspaper coverage from the time as well as personal observations and poll data collected by the authors. This volume is certain to be a valuable work for any political scientist, especially those with an interest in Alabama or southern politics.
Alabama Afternoons is a collection of portraits of many remarkable Alabamians, famous and obscure, profiled by award-winning journalist and novelist Roy Hoffman. Written as Sunday feature stories for the Mobile Press-Register with additional pieces from the New York Times, Preservation, and Garden & Gun, these profiles preserve the individual stories—and the individual voices within the stories—that help to define one of the most distinctive states in the union.
Hoffman recounts his personal visits with writer Mary Ward Brown in her library in Hamburg, with photographer William Christenberry in a field in Newbern, and with storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham and folk artist Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas at their neighboring houses in Selma. Also highlighted are the lives of numerous alumni of The University of Alabama—among them Mel Allen, the “Voice of the Yankees” from 1939 to 1964; Forrest Gump author Winston Groom; and Vivian Malone and James Hood, the two students who entered the schoolhouse door in 1963. Hoffman profiles distinguished Auburn University alumni as well, including Eugene Sledge, renowned World War II veteran and memoirist, and Neil Davis, the outspoken, nationally visible editor of the Lee County Bulletin.
Hoffman also profiles major and minor players in the civil rights movement, from Johnnie Carr, raised in segregated Montgomery and later president of the Montgomery Improvement Association; and George Wallace Jr., son of the four-time governor; to Teresa Burroughs, a Greensboro beautician trampled in the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge; and Diane McWhorter, whose award- winning book explores the trouble- filled Birmingham civil rights experience. Juxtaposed with these are accounts of lesser-known individuals, such as Sarah Hamm, who attempts to preserve the fading Jewish culture in Eufaula; Edward Carl, who was butler and chauffeur to Bellingrath Gardens founder Walter Bellingrath in Theodore; and cousins William Bolton and Herbert Henson, caretakers of the coon dog cemetery in Russellville.
Hoffman’s compilation of life stories creates an engaging and compelling look into what it means to be from, and shaped by, Alabama. “Alabama Afternoons,” he writes in the introduction, “is a small part of the even bigger question of what it means to be an American.”
Read an article about domestic lives by Roy Hoffman in the New York Times here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/25/garden/25Domestic.html
Born of a concern with Alabama's past and the need to explore and explain that legacy, this book brings together the nation's leading scholars on the prehistory and early history of Alabama and the southeastern U.S. Covering topics ranging from the Mississippian Period in archaeology and the de Soto expedition (and other early European explorations and settlements of Alabama) to the 1780 Siege of Mobile, this is a comprehensive and readable collection of scholarship on early Alabama.
Alabama Blast Furnaces
Joseph H. Woodward, with an introduction by James R. Bennett University of Alabama Press, 2007 Library of Congress TN713.W66 2007 | Dewey Decimal 669.141309761
This work is the first and remains the only source of information on all blast furnaces built and operated in Alabama, from the first known charcoal furnace of 1815 (Cedar Creek Furnace in Franklin County) to the coke-fired giants built before the onset of the Great Depression. Woodward surveys the iron industry from the early, small local market furnaces through the rise of the iron industry in support of the Confederate war effort, to the giant internationally important industry that developed in the 1890s. The bulk of the book consists of individual illustrated histories of all blast furnaces ever constructed and operated in the state? furnaces that went into production and four that were built but never went into blast. Written to provide a record of every blast furnace built in Alabama from 1815 to 1940, this book was widely acclaimed and today remains one of the most quoted references on the iron and steel industry.
John Foshee’s popular and informative Alabama Canoe Rides and Float Trips has been a favorite of canoeing enthusiasts since 1975. it provides a detailed guide to 102 canoe trips on the Cahaba River and 40 other creeks and rivers within the state. The trips highlighted in the book range from 3 ½ to 14 miles in length, with difficulty factors varying from leisurely float trips to Class 4 rapids.
This handy guide will assist beginning and expert canoeists in the selection of and preparation for a variety of float experiences. The author gives suggestions for river safety and makes recommendations for equipment. In addition, he points out major danger areas and obstacles that might be encountered on the streams and includes information on river access and use of topographical maps. An appendix contains brief descriptions of the rides, including their put-ins and take-outs, and follows the general format of the individual trip descriptions.
A biographical history of the forefathers who shaped the identity of Alabama politically, legally, economically, militarily, and geographically.
While much has been written about the significant events in the history of early Alabama, there has been little information available about the people who participated in those events. In Alabama Founders:Fourteen Political and Military Leaders Who Shaped the State Herbert James Lewis provides an important examination of the lives of fourteen political and military leaders. These were the men who opened Alabama for settlement, secured Alabama’s status as a territory in 1817 and as a state in 1819, and helped lay the foundation for the political and economic infrastructure of Alabama in its early years as a state.
While well researched and thorough, this book does not purport to be a definitive history of Alabama’s founding. Lewis has instead narrowed his focus to only those he believes to be key figures—in clearing the territory for settlement, serving in the territorial government, working to achieve statehood, playing a key role at the Constitutional Convention of 1819, or being elected to important offices in the first years of statehood.
The founders who readied the Alabama Territory for statehood include Judge Harry Toulmin, Henry Hitchcock, and Reuben Saffold II. William Wyatt Bibb and his brother Thomas Bibb respectively served as the first two governors of the state, and Charles Tait, known as the “Patron of Alabama,” shepherded Alabama’s admission bill through the US Senate. Military figures who played roles in surveying and clearing the territory for further settlement and development include General John Coffee, Andrew Jackson’s aide and land surveyor, and Samuel Dale, frontiersman and hero of the “Canoe Fight.” Those who were instrumental to the outcome of the Constitutional Convention of 1819 and served the state well in its early days include John W. Walker, Clement Comer Clay, Gabriel Moore, Israel Pickens, and William Rufus King.
This collection of biographical essays, written by thirty-four noted historians and political scientists, chronicles the times, careers, challenges, leadership, and legacies of the fifty-seven men and one woman who have served as the state's highest elected official. The book is organized chronologically into six sections that cover Alabama's years as a US territory and its early statehood, the 1840s through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the late nineteenth-century Bourbon era, twentieth-century progressive and wartime governors, the Civil Rights era and George Wallace’s period of influence, and recent chief executives in the post-Wallace era.
The political careers of these fifty-eight individuals reflect the story of Alabama itself. Taken together, these essays provide a unified history of the state, with its recurring themes of race, federal-state relations, tensions between north and south Alabama, economic development, taxation, and education.
Alabama Governors expertly delineates the decisions and challenges of the chief executives, their policy initiatives, their accomplishments and failures, and the lasting impact of their terms. The book also includes the true and sometimes scandalous anecdotes that pepper Alabama’s storied history. Several of the state's early governors fought duels; one killed his wife's lover. A Reconstruction era-governor barricaded himself in his office and refused to give it up when voters failed to reelect him. A twentieth-century governor, an alumnus of Yale, served as an officer in the Ku Klux Klan.
This entirely updated and revised edition includes enlarged and enhanced images of each governor. Published as Alabama prepares for its sixty-fourth gubernatorial election, Alabama Governors is certain to become an valuable resource for teachers, students, librarians, journalists, and anyone interested in the colorful history of Alabama politics.
The story of Alabama's governors has been often bizarre, occasionally inspiring, but never dull. Several of the state's early governors fought duels; one killed his wife's lover. A Reconstruction era-governor barricaded himself in his administrative office and refused to give it up when voters failed to reelect him. A 20th-century governor, an alumnus of Yale, married his first cousin and served as an officer in the Ku Klux Klan.
This collection of biographical essays, written by 34 noted historians and political scientists, chronicles the foibles and idiosyncrasies, in and out of office, of those who have served as the state's highest elected official. It also describes their courage; their meaningful policy initiatives; their accomplishments and failures; the complex factors that led to their actions or inaction; and the enormous consequences of their choices on the state's behalf.
Taken together, the essays provide a unified history of the state, with its recurring themes of race, federal-state relations, economic development, taxation, and education. Alabama Governors is certain to become an invaluable resource for teachers, students, librarians, journalists, and anyone interested in the colorful history and politics of the state.
An authoritative popular history that places the state in regional and national context.
Alabama is a state full of contrasts. On the one hand, it has elected the lowest number of women to the state legislature of any state in the union; yet according to historians it produced two of the ten most important American women of the 20th century—Helen Keller and Rosa Parks. Its people are fanatically devoted to conservative religious values; yet they openly idolize tarnished football programs as the source of their heroes. Citizens who are puzzled by Alabama's maddening resistance to change or its incredibly strong sense of tradition and community will find important clues and new understanding within these pages.
Written by passionate Alabamian and accomplished historian Wayne Flynt, Alabama in the Twentieth Century offers supporting arguments for both detractors and admirers of the state. A native son who has lived, loved, taught, debated, and grieved within the state for 60 of the 100 years described, the author does not flinch from pointing out Alabama's failures, such as the woeful yoke of a 1901 state constitution, the oldest one in the nation; neither is he restrained in calling attention to the state's triumphs against great odds, such as its phenomenal number of military heroes and gifted athletes, its dazzling array of writers, folk artists, and musicians, or its haunting physical beauty despite decades of abuse.
Chapters are organized by topic—politics, the economy, education, African Americans, women, the military, sport, religion, literature, art, journalism—rather than chronologically, so the reader can digest the whole sweep of the century on a particular subject. Flynt’s writing style is engaging, descriptive, free of clutter, yet based on sound scholarship. This book offers teachers and readers alike the vast range and complexity of Alabama's triumphs and low points in a defining century.
Why does Alabama rank so low on many of the indicators of quality of life? Why did some of the most dramatic developments in the civil rights revolution of the 1960s take place in Alabama? Why is it that a few interest groups seem to have the most political power in Alabama? William H. Stewart’s Alabama Politics in the Twenty-First Century explores these questions and more, illuminating many of the often misunderstood details of contemporary Alabama politics in this cohesive and comprehensive publication.
The Alabama state government, especially as a specimen of Deep South politics, is a topic of frequent discussion by its general public—second only to college football. However, there remains a surprising lack of literature focusing on the workings of the state’s bureaucracy in an extensive and systematic way. Bearing in mind the Yellowhammer State’s long and rich political history, Stewart concentrates on Alabama’s statecraft from the first decade of the twenty-first century through the November 2010 elections and considers what the widespread Republican victories mean for their constituents. He also studies several different themes prominent during the 2010 elections, including the growing number and influence of special interest groups, the respective polarization of whites and blacks into the Republican and Democratic parties, and the increasingly unwieldy state constitution.
This fascinating and revealing text provides a wealth of information about an extremely complex state government. Featuring detailed descriptions of important concepts and events presented in a thorough and intelligible manner, Alabama Politics in the Twenty-First Century is perfect for scholars, students, everyday Alabamians, or anyone who wants the inside scoop on the subtle inner workings of the Cotton State’s politics.
A lavish presentation of 208 folksongs collected throughout Alabama in the 1940s.
Alabama is a state rich in folksong tradition, from old English ballads sung along the Tennessee River to children's game songs played in Mobile, from the rhythmic work songs of the railroad gandy dancers of Gadsden to the spirituals of the Black Belt. The musical heritage of blacks and whites, rich and poor, hill folk and cotton farmers, these songs endure as a living part of the state's varied past.
In the mid 1940s Byron Arnold, an eager young music professor from The University of Alabama, set out to find and record as many of these songs as he could and was rewarded by unstinting cooperation from many informants. Mrs. Julia Greer Marechal of Mobile, for example, was 90 years old, blind, and a semi-invalid, but she sang for Arnold for three hours, allowing the recording of 33 songs and exhausting Arnold and his technician. Helped by such living repositories as Mrs. Marechal, the Arnold collection grew to well over 500 songs, augmented by field notes and remarkable biographical information on the singers.
An Alabama Songbook is the result of Arnold's efforts and those of his informants across the state and has been shaped by Robert W. Halli Jr. into a narrative enriched by more than 200 significant songs-lullabies, Civil War anthems, African-American gospel and secular songs, fiddle tunes, temperance songs, love ballads, play-party rhymes, and work songs. In the tradition of Alan Lomax's The Folk Songs of North America and Vance Randolph's Ozark Folksongs, this volume will appeal to general audiences, folklorists, ethnomusicologists, preservationists, traditional musicians, and historians.
Once the home of aboriginal inhabitants, Alabama was claimed and occupied by European nations, later to become a permanent part of the United States. A cotton and slave state for more than half of the 19th century, Alabama declared its independence and joined another nation, the Confederate States of America, for its more than four-year history. The state assumed an uneasy and uncertain place in the 19th century’s last 35 years. Its role in the 20th century has been tumultuous but painfully predictable. This comprehensive history, written in the last decade of that century, presents, explains, and interprets the major events that occurred during Alabama’s history within the larger context of the South and the nation.
Alabama: The History of a Deep South State is the first completely new comprehensive account of the state since A.B. Moore’s 1935 work. Divided into three main sections, the first concluding in 1865, the second in 1920, and the third bringing the story to the present, the book’s organization is both chronological and topical. General readers will welcome this modern history of Alabama, which examines such traditional subjects as politics, military events, economics, and broad social movements. Of equal value are sections devoted to race, Indians, women, and the environment, as well as detailed coverage of health, education, organized labor, civil rights, and the many cultural elements—from literature to sport—that have enriched Alabama’s history. The roles of individual leaders, from politicians to creative artists, are discussed. There is as well strong emphasis on the common people, those Alabamians who have been rightly described as the “bone and sinew” of the state. Each section of the book was written by a scholar who has devoted much of his or her professional life to the study of that period of Alabama’s past, and although the three sections reflect individual style and interpretation, the authors have collaborated closely on overall themes and organization. The result is an objective look at the colorful, often controversial, state’s past. The work relies both on primary sources and such important secondary sources as monographs, articles, and unpublished theses and dissertations to provide fresh insights, new approaches, and new interpretations.
A new and up-to-date edition of Alabama’s history to celebrate the state’s bicentennial.
Alabama: The History of a Deep South State,Bicentennial Edition is a comprehensive narrative account of the state from its earliest days to the present. This edition, updated to celebrate the state’s bicentennial year, offers a detailed survey of the colorful, dramatic, and often controversial turns in Alabama’s evolution. Organized chronologically and divided into three main sections—the first concluding in 1865, the second in 1920, and the third bringing the story to the present—makes clear and interprets the major events that occurred during Alabama’s history within the larger context of the South and the nation.
Once the home of aboriginal inhabitants, Alabama was claimed and occupied by a number of European nations prior to becoming a permanent part of the United States in 1819. A cotton and slave state for more than half of the nineteenth century, Alabama seceded in 1861 to join the Confederate States of America, and occupied an uneasy and uncertain place in America’s post-Civil War landscape. Alabama’s role in the twentieth century has been equally tumultuous and dramatic.
General readers as well as scholars will welcome this up-to-date and scrupulously researched history of Alabama, which examines such traditional subjects as politics, military history, economics, race, and class. It contains essential accounts devoted to Native Americans, women, and the environment, as well as detailed coverage of health, education, organized labor, civil rights, and the many cultural developments, from literature to sport, that have enriched Alabama’s history. The stories of individual leaders, from politicians to creative artists, are also highlighted. A key facet of this landmark historical narrative is the strong emphasis placed on the common everyday people of Alabama, those who have been rightly described as the “bone and sinew” of the state.
Alabama: The Making of an American State is itself a watershed event in the long and storied history of the state of Alabama. Here, presented for the first time ever in a single, magnificently illustrated volume, Edwin C. Bridges conveys the magisterial sweep of Alabama’s rich, difficult, and remarkable history with verve, eloquence, and an unblinking eye.
From Alabama’s earliest fossil records to its settlement by Native Americans and later by European settlers and African slaves, from its territorial birth pangs and statehood through the upheavals of the Civil War and the civil rights movement, Bridges makes evident in clear, direct storytelling the unique social, political, economic, and cultural forces that have indelibly shaped this historically rich and unique American region.
Illustrated lavishly with maps, archival photographs, and archaeological artifacts, as well as art works, portraiture, and specimens of Alabama craftsmanship—many never before published—Alabama: The Making of an American State makes evident as rarely seen before Alabama’s most significant struggles, conflicts, achievements, and developments.
Drawn from decades of research and the deep archival holdings of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, this volume will be the definitive resource for decades to come for anyone seeking a broad understanding of Alabama’s evolving legacy.
No other state has embraced and preserved its civil rights history more thoroughly than Alabama. Nor is there a place where that history is richer. Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail tells of Alabama’s great civil rights events, as well as its lesser-known moments, in a compact and accessible narrative, paired with a practical guide to Alabama’s preserved civil rights sites and monuments.
In his history of Alabama’s civil rights movement, Cradle of Freedom (University of Alabama Press, 2004), Frye Gaillard contends that Alabama played the lead role in a historic movement that made all citizens of the nation, black and white, more free. This book, geared toward the casual traveler and the serious student alike, showcases in a vividly illustrated and compelling manner, valuable and rich details. It provides a user-friendly, graphic tool for the growing number of travelers, students, and civil rights pilgrims who visit the state annually.
The story of the civil rights movement in Alabama is told city by city, region by region, and town by town, with entries on Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma, Tuscaloosa, Tuskegee, and Mobile, as well as chapters on the Black Belt and the Alabama hill country. Smaller but important locales such as Greensboro, Monroeville, and Scottsboro are included, as are more obscure sites like Hale County’s Safe House Black History Museum and the birthplace of the Black Panther Party in Lowndes County.
"This vignette of local southern history . . . recounts Renfroe's career as sheriff of Sumter County for a little more than two years, followed by six years of bizarre activities as a fugitive from justice before being lynched in July 1886. . . . He led the local Ku Klux Klan in 1868-69, participated in the Meridian riot of 1871, and took part in the killing of two active Republicans, one white and one black, in 1874. Rumors attributed other slayings to this violence-prone man who in 1867 had fled another county after killing his brother-in-law. . . . The story clearly illustrates the violent tactics of the redemption process."—Journal of American History
All God's Dangers won the National Book Award in 1975.
"On a cold January morning in 1969, a young white graduate student from Massachusetts, stumbling along the dim trail of a long-defunct radical organization of the 1930s, the Alabama Sharecropper Union, heard that there was a survivor and went looking for him. In a rural settlement 20 miles or so from Tuskegee in east-central Alabama he found him—the man he calls Nate Shaw—a black man, 84 years old, in full possession of every moment of his life and every facet of its meaning. . . . Theodore Rosengarten, the student, had found a black Homer, bursting with his black Odyssey and able to tell it with awesome intellectual power, with passion, with the almost frightening power of memory in a man who could neither read nor write but who sensed that the substance of his own life, and a million other black lives like his, were the very fiber of the nation's history." —H. Jack Geiger, New York Times Book Review
A daughter of John Gayle (lawyer and political leader who was governor of Alabama from 1831 to 1835), the devoted wife of Josiah Gorgas (chief of ordnance for the Confederacy), and the loving mother of William Crawford Gorgas (surgeon-general of the United States Army) and five other children – Amelia Gayle Gorgas (1826-1913) was all these things and a fascinating person in her own right – an antebellum Southern woman who made the transition to postbellum life and survived the difficult readjustments of the defeated South. Her biography is not just another account of a hero’s daughter, wife, or mother. It presents both the life of an individual who was herself a most attractive and appealing person and a captivating picture of the segment of nineteenth-century American society within which she moved.
The authors skillfully avoid overdramatizing their heroine – though she lived in dramatic times – and emphasize the strength, flexibility, and resiliency that characterized so many of the purportedly fragile, helpless Southern women of her generation. IN turn, Amelia adapted herself readily to the relative prosperity of her early married life as wife of a United States Army officer in Maine, to the tensions and dangers of the Confederate capital Richmond during the Civil War, to the struggle to make a new life in the economically depressed South in the period immediately after the war, and to the postwar pleasures and problems of academic communities at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
As told by Mary Tabb Johnston and Elizabeth Johnston Lipscomb, the life-story of this extraordinary woman is a delightful, fast-moving narrative indeed – a “good read” for young and old alike. The authors’ scholarship is extensive and penetrating, and yet their style is as graceful and enticing as their subject.
Among the Swamp People is the story of author Watt Key’s discovery of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. “The swamp” consists of almost 260,000 acres of wetlands located just north of Mobile Bay. There he leases a habitable outcropping of land and constructs a primitive cabin from driftwood to serve as a private getaway. His story is one that chronicles the beauties of the delta’s unparalleled natural wonders, the difficulties of survival within it, and an extraordinary community of characters—by turns generous and violent, gracious and paranoid, hilarious and reckless—who live, thrive, and perish there.
There is no way into the delta except by small boat. To most it would appear a maze of rivers and creeks between stunted swamp trees and mud. Key observes that there are few places where one can step out of a boat without “sinking to the knees in muck the consistency of axle grease. It is the only place I know where gloom and beauty can coexist at such extremes. And it never occurred to me that a land seemingly so bleak could hide such beauty and adventure.”
It also chronicles Key’s maturation as a writer, from a twenty-five-year-old computer programmer with no formal training as a writer to a highly successful, award-winning writer of fiction for a young adult audience with three acclaimed novels published to date.
In learning to make a place for himself in the wild, as in learning to write, Key’s story is one of “hoping someone—even if just myself—would find value in my creations.”
Ante-Bellum Alabama: Town and Country was written to give the reader insight into importaant facers of Alabama’s ante-bellum history. Presented in the form of case studies from the pre—Civil War period, the book deals with a city, a town, a planter’s family, rural social life, attitudes concerning race, and Alabama’s early agricultural and industrial development.
Ante-bellum Alabama’s primary interest was agriculture; the chief crop was King Cotton; and most of the people were agriculturalists. Towns and cities came into existence to supply the agricultural needs of the state and to process and distribute farm commodities. Similarly, Alabama’s industrial development began with the manufacture of implements for farm use, in response to the state’s agricultural needs. Rural-agriculture influences dominated the American scene; and in this respect Alabama was typical of her region as well as of most of the United States.
David L. DeJarnette, the founder of scientific archaeology in the state of Alabama, reports on archaeological surveys and excavations undertaken in the Chattahoochee River Valley between 1947 and 1962. The three contributors, Wesley R. Hurt, Edward B. Kurjack, and Fred Lamar Pearson Jr., each made signal contributions to the archaeology of the southeastern states. With their mentor, David L. DeJarnette, they worked out a viable cultural chronology of the region from the earliest Paleoindian and Archaic foragers to the period of early European-Indian contact. They excavated key sites, including the Woodland period Shorter Mound, the protohistoric Abercrombie village, and Spanish Fort Apalachicola, in addition to a number of important Creek Indian town sites of the eighteenth century. All are here, illustrated abundantly by site photographs, maps, and of course, the artifacts recovered from these remarkable investigations.
Copublication with the Historic Chattahoochee Commission
Complex Mississippian polities were neither developed nor sustained in a vacuum. A broad range of small-scale social groups played a variety of roles in the emergence of regionally organized political hierarchies that governed large-scale ceremonial centers. Recent research has revealed the extent to which interactions among corporately organized clans led to the development, success, and collapse of Moundville. These insights into Moundville’s social complexity are based primarily on the study of monumental architecture and mortuary ceremonialism. Less is known about how everyday domestic practices produced and were produced by broader networks of power and inequality in the region.
Wilson’s research addresses this gap in our understanding by analyzing and interpreting large-scale architectural and ceramic data sets from domestic contexts. This study has revealed that the early Mississippian Moundville community consisted of numerous spatially discrete multi-household groups, similar to ethnohistorically described kin groups from the southeastern United States. Hosting feasts, dances, and other ceremonial events were important strategies by which elite groups created social debts and legitimized their positions of authority. Non-elite groups, on the other hand, maintained considerable economic and ritual autonomy through diversified production activities, risk sharing, and household ceremonialism. Organizational changes in Moundville’s residential occupation highlight the different ways kin groups defined and redefined their corporate status and identities over the long term.
At its height the Moundville ceremonial center was a densely occupied town of approximately 1,000 residents, with at least 29 earthen mounds surrounding a central plaza. Today, Moundville is not only one the largest and best-preserved Mississippian sites in the United States, but also one of the most intensively studied. This volume brings together nine Moundville specialists who trace the site’s evolution and eventual decline.
This fascinating history underscores the importance of “little people” in affecting the U.S. government. It stresses the courage of a black man, Rosco Jones, and a white woman, Grace Marsh, who dared to challenge the status quo in Alabama in the early 1940s. These two Jehovah’s Witnesses helped to lay a foundation for testing the constitutionality of state and local laws, establishing precedents that the Civil Rights movement, the feminist movement, and similar forces could follow. Newton has prepared a finely woven tale of oral, legal, and social history that opens a window on the world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Alabama.
But the book is more than a legal study; it is also a dramatic history of two powerful personalities whose total commitment to their faith enabled them to carry the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ battle from rural Alabama to the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court.
An important story of one man's life, lived with courage and principle.
During the decades of Bourbon ascendancy after 1874, Alabama institutions like those in other southern states were dominated by whites. Former slave and sharecropper Jack Turner refused to accept a society so structured. Highly intelligent, physically imposing, and an orator of persuasive talents, Turner was fearless before whites and emerged as a leader of his race. He helped to forge a political alliance between blacks and whites that defeated and humiliated the Bourbons in Choctaw County, the heart of the Black Belt, in the election of 1882. That summer, after a series of bogus charges and arrests, Turner was accused of planning to lead his private army of blacks in a general slaughter of the county whites. Justice was forgotten in the resultant fear and hysteria.