Situated between the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Southern Illinois country is rich in history, folklore, scenery, and natural resources. At about the latitude of southern Virginia, and extending from the flat prairie farmland of central Illinois to the rugged Illinois Ozarks, the area is the natural terminal boundary for hundreds of plant species reaching out to all points of the compass. It is also the oldest and most sparsely populated part of Illinois, a region of small towns and independent people.
Surveying the area in words and pictures, the authors sensitively and appreciatively portray the region’s special qualities. Land Between the Rivers, a perennial classic since it was first published in 1973, provides an uncommon portrayal of American life in a distinct region, a memorable journey in both time and place.
During the 1980s, El Salvador's violent civil war captured the world's attention. In the years since, the country has undergone dramatic changes. Landscapes of Struggle offers a broad, interdisciplinary assessment of El Salvador from the late nineteenth century to the present, focusing on the ways local politics have shaped the development of the nation.
Proceeding chronologically, these essays-by historians, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists-explore the political, social, and cultural dynamics governing the Salvadoran experience, including the crucial roles of land, the military, and ethnicity; the effects of the civil war; and recent transformations, such as the growth of a large Salvadoran diaspora in the United States. Taken together, they provide a fully realized portrait of El Salvador's troublesome past, transformative present, and uncertain future.
In the 1950s and ‘60s, John W. Allen told the people of southern Illinois about themselves—about their region, its history, and its folkways—in his series of newspaper articles, “It Happened in Southern Illinois.” Each installment of the series depicted a single item of interest—a town, a building, an enterprise, a person, an event, a custom. Originally published in 1963, Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois brings together a selection of these articles preserving a valuable body of significant local history and cultural lore.
During territorial times and early statehood, southern Illinois was the most populous and most influential part of the state. But the advent of the steamboat and the building of the National Road made the lands to the west and north more easily accessible, and the later settlers struck out for the more expansive and fertile prairies. The effect of this movement was to isolate that section of the state known as Egypt and halt its development, creating what Allen termed “an historical eddy.” Bypassed as it was by the main current of westward expansion and economic growth, its culture changed very slowly. Methods, practices, and the tools of the pioneer continued in use for a long time. The improved highways and better means of communication of the twentieth century brought a marked change upon the region, and daily life no longer differed materially from that of other areas.
Against such a cultural and historical backdrop, Mr. Allen wrote these sketches of the people of southern Illinois—of their folkways and beliefs, their endeavors, successes, failures, and tragedies, and of the land to which they came. There are stories here of slaves and their masters, criminals, wandering peddlers, politicians, law courts and vigilantes, and of boat races on the rivers. Allen also looks at the region’s earlier history, describing American Indian ruins, monuments, and artifacts as well as the native population’s encounters with European settlers.
Many of the vestiges of the region’s past culture have all but disappeared, surviving only in museums and in the written record. This new paperback edition of Legends & Lore of Southern Illinois brings that past culture to life again in Allen’s descriptive, engaging style.
With their collection In Search of the Black Panther Party, Yohuru Williams and Jama Lazerow provided a broad analysis of the Black Panther Party and its legacy. In Liberated Territory, they turn their attention to local manifestations of the organization, far away from the party’s Oakland headquarters. This collection’s contributors, all historians, examine how specific party chapters and offshoots emerged, developed, and waned, as well as how the local branches related to their communities and to the national party.
The histories and character of the party branches vary as widely as their locations. The Cape Verdeans of New Bedford, Massachusetts, were initially viewed as a particular challenge for the local Panthers but later became the mainstay of the Boston-area party. In the early 1970s, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, chapter excelled at implementing the national Black Panther Party’s strategic shift from revolutionary confrontation to mainstream electoral politics. In Detroit, the Panthers were defined by a complex relationship between their above-ground activities and an underground wing dedicated to armed struggle. While the Milwaukee chapter was born out of a rising tide of black militancy, it ultimately proved more committed to promoting literacy and health care and redressing hunger than to violence. The Alabama Black Liberation Front did not have the official imprimatur of the national party, but it drew heavily on the Panthers’ ideas and organizing strategies, and its activism demonstrates the broad resonance of many of the concerns articulated by the national party: the need for jobs, for decent food and housing, for black self-determination, and for sustained opposition to police brutality against black people. Liberated Territory reveals how the Black Panther Party’s ideologies, goals, and strategies were taken up and adapted throughout the United States.
Contributors: Devin Fergus, Jama Lazerow, Ahmad A. Rahman, Robert W. Widell Jr., Yohuru Williams
A free region deeply influenced by southern mores, the Lower Middle West represented a true cultural and political median in Civil War–era America. Here grew a Unionism steeped in the mythology of the Loyal West--a myth rooted in regional and racial animosities and the belief that westerners had won the war.
Matthew E. Stanley's intimate study explores the Civil War, Reconstruction, and sectional reunion in this bellwether region. Using the lives of area soldiers and officers as a lens, Stanley reveals a place and a strain of collective memory that was anti-rebel, anti-eastern, and anti-black in its attitudes--one that came to be at the forefront of the northern retreat from Reconstruction and toward white reunion. The Lower Middle West's embrace of black exclusion laws, origination of the Copperhead movement, backlash against liberalizing war measures, and rejection of Reconstruction were all pivotal to broader American politics. And the region's legacies of white supremacy--from racialized labor violence to sundown towns to lynching--found malignant expression nationwide, intersecting with how Loyal Westerners remembered the war.
A daring challenge to traditional narratives of section and commemoration, The Loyal West taps into a powerful and fascinating wellspring of Civil War identity and memory.