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In a land, with no gravity, no time and nothing but beats, trance is born. It goes stronger and stronger every day. Beat, by beat, by beat... Let it take over you. Don't fight it, you stand no chance. Prepare your body, prepare your mind and prepare your soul because this is South American Trance Connexion.
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In 1867, John Muir set out on foot to explore the botanical wonders of the South, keeping a detailed journal of his adventures as he traipsed from Kentucky southward to Florida. One hundred and fifty years later, on a similar whim, veteran Atlanta reporter Dan Chapman, distressed by sprawl-driven environmental ills in a region he loves, recreated M…
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Dr. Kendra Y. Hamilton’s Romancing the Gullah in the Age of Porgy and Bess (University of Georgia Press, 2024) is a literary and cultural history of the Gullah Geechee Coast, a four-state area that is one of only a handful of places that can truly be said to be the “cradle of Black culture” in the United States. An African American ethnic group who…
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The Confederate States of America was born in defense of slavery and, after a four-year struggle to become an independent slaveholding republic, died as emancipation dawned. Between Fort Sumter to Appomattox, Confederates bought and sold thousands African American men, women, and children. These transactions in humanity made the internal slave trad…
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Years ago, when O. Henry Prize-winning writer Crystal Wilkinson was baking a jam cake, she felt her late grandmother’s presence. She soon realized that she was not the only cook in her kitchen; there were her ancestors, too, stirring, measuring, and braising alongside her. These are her kitchen ghosts, five generations of Black women who settled in…
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Historians of the American South have come to consider the mechanization and consolidation of cotton farming—the “Southern enclosure movement”—to be a watershed event in the region’s history. In the decades after World War II, this transition pushed innumerable sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and smallholders off the land, redistributing territory a…
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Country music maintains a special, decades-long relationship to American military life, but these ties didn't just happen. This readable history reveals how country music's Nashville-based business leaders on Music Row created partnerships with the Pentagon to sell their audiences on military service while selling the music to service members. Begi…
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Greg Jarrell's book Our Trespasses: White Churches and the Taking of American Neighborhoods (Fortress Press, 2024) uncovers how race, geography, policy, and religion have created haunted landscapes in Charlotte, North Carolina, and throughout the United States. How do we value our lands, livelihoods, and communities? How does our theology inform ou…
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In Boardinghouse Women: How Southern Keepers, Cooks, Nurses, Widows, and Runaways Shaped Modern America (UNC Press, 2023), Elizabeth Engelhardt argues that modern American food, business, caretaking, politics, sex, travel, writing, and restaurants all owe a debt to boardinghouse women in the South. From the eighteenth century well into the twentiet…
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Over the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, as many as eight million whites left the economically depressed southern countryside and migrated to the booming factory towns and cities of the industrial Midwest in search of work. The “hillbilly highway” was one of the largest internal relocations of poor and working people in American history,…
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The cultural memory of plantations in the Old South has long been clouded by myth. A recent reckoning with the centrality of slavery to the US national story, however, has shifted the meaning of these sites. Plantations are no longer simply seen as places of beauty and grandiose hospitality; their reality as spaces of enslavement, exploitation, and…
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In Shipwrecked: A True Civil War Story of Mutinies, Jailbreaks, Blockade-Running, and the Slave Trade (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023), historian Jonathan W. White tells the riveting story of Appleton Oaksmith, a swashbuckling sea captain whose life intersected with some of the most important moments, movements, and individuals of the mid-19th century,…
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While the literature on slave flight in nineteenth-century North America has commonly focused on fugitive slaves escaping to the U.S. North and Canada, Conditional Freedom: Free Soil and Fugitive Slaves from the U.S. South to Mexico's Northeast, 1803-1861 (Brill, 2024) provides new insights on the social and political geography of freedom and slave…
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A total of 305,000 enslaved Africans arrived in the New World aboard American vessels over a span of two hundred years as American merchants and mariners sailed to Africa and to the Caribbean to acquire and sell captives. Using exhaustive archival research, including many collections that have never been used before, historian Sean M. Kelley argues…
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Ilyon Woo's Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom (Simon and Schuster, 2023) tells the remarkable true story of Ellen and William Craft, who escaped slavery through daring, determination, and disguise, with Ellen passing as a wealthy, disabled White man and William posing as “his” slave. In 1848, a year of international…
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Most Americans know of Harriet Tubman's legendary life: escaping enslavement in 1849, she led more than 60 others out of bondage via the Underground Railroad, gave instructions on getting to freedom to scores more, and went on to live a lifetime fighting for change. Yet the many biographies, children's books, and films about Tubman omit a crucial c…
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Kristine M. McCusker's book Just Enough to Put Him Away Decent: Death Care, Life Extension, and the Making of a Healthier South, 1900-1955 (U Illinois Press, 2023) takes, as its focus, the combined history of death and health in the American South between 1900 and 1955. The text is ambitious in scope, and weaves together multiple oral histories to …
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Neema Avashia is the daughter of Indian immigrants and was born and raised in southern West Virginia. She has been an educator and activist in the Boston Public Schools since 2003 and was named a City of Boston Educator of the Year in 2013. Her first book, Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place, was published by West Vir…
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Shortly after its introduction, photography transformed the ways Americans made political arguments using visual images. In the mid-19th century, photographs became key tools in debates surrounding slavery. Yet, photographs were used in interesting and sometimes surprising ways by a range of actors. Matthew Fox-Amato, an Assistant Professor at the …
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In his book, Native Southerners: Indigenous History from Origins to Removal(University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), Dr. Gregory D. Smithers effectively articulates the complex history of Native Southerners. Smithers conveys the history of Native Southerners through numerous historical eras while properly reinterpreting popular misconceptions about the…
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The remarkable story of a couple who came together during the civil rights movement and made fighting for equality and civil and workers' rights their purpose for more than sixty years, overcoming adversity--with the strength of their love and commitment--to bring about meaningful change, When Velma Murphy was knocked unconscious by a brick thrown …
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In this New Books Network/Gotham Center for NYC History podcast, guest host Beth Harpaz, editor of the City University of New York website SUM, interviews Jeanne Theoharis, distinguished professor of political science at Brooklyn College. Their topic is a new book just out from NYU Press, co-edited by Theoharis, called The Strange Careers of the Ji…
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A controversial character largely known (as depicted in the movie Glory) as a Union colonel who led Black soldiers in the Civil War, James Montgomery (1814-71) waged a far more personal and radical war against slavery than popular history suggests. It is the true story of this militant abolitionist that Todd Mildfelt and David D. Schafer tell in Ab…
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An authoritative biography of the controversial Confederate general, who later embraced Reconstruction and became an outcast in the South. It was the most remarkable political about-face in American history. During the Civil War, General James Longstreet fought tenaciously for the Confederacy. He was alongside Lee at Gettysburg (and counseled him n…
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The civil rights movement is often defined narrowly, relegated to the 1950s and 1960s, and populated by such colossal figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Many forget that the movement was bigger than the figures on the frontline and that it grew from intellectual and historical efforts that continue today. In Path to Grace: Reimaginin…
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In Hard Luck and Heavy Rain: The Ecology of Stories in Southeast Texas (Duke UP, 2022) (Duke UP, 2023), Joseph C. Russo takes readers into the everyday lives of the rural residents of Southeast Texas. He encounters the region as a kind of world enveloped in on itself, existing under a pall of poverty, illness, and oil refinery smoke. His informants…
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Scott Gac's Born in Blood: Violence and the Making of America (Cambridge UP, 2023) investigates one of history's most violent undertakings: The United States of America. People the world over consider violence in the United States as measurably different than that which troubles the rest of the globe, citing reasons including gun culture, the Ameri…
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Lost Causes: Confederate Demobilization and the Making of Veteran Identity (LSU Press, 2022) by Dr. Bradley R. Clampitt is a groundbreaking analysis of Confederate demobilisation. The book examines the state of mind of Confederate soldiers in the immediate aftermath of war. Having survived severe psychological as well as physical trauma, they now f…
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In the late 1970s, Hollywood producers took the published biography of Crystal Lee Sutton, a white southern textile worker, and transformed it into a blockbuster 1979 film, Norma Rae, featuring Sally Field in the title role. This fascinating book reveals how the film and the popular icon it created each worked to efface the labor history that forme…
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Kami Fletcher and Ashley Towle’s edited collection Grave History: Death, Race and Gender in Southern Cemeteries (University of Georgia Press, 2023), demonstrates how Jim Crow laws extended into the realms of the dead. Cemeteries throughout the Southern states either relegated Black funerals to the margins in existing cemeteries or excluded the comm…
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In 1912, at age 24, Georgia O’Keeffe boarded a train in Virginia and headed west, to the prairies of the Texas Panhandle, to take a position as art teacher for the newly organized Amarillo Public Schools. Subsequently she would join the faculty at what was then West Texas State Normal College (now West Texas A&M University). Already a thoroughly in…
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Most scholars of popular music use songs, artists, and clubs as the key texts and sites in their exploration of the social, cultural, political, and economic effects of music. Laurent Dubois‘ new book looks at the history of an instrument, the banjo, to help us better understand American history and culture. Dubois also helps readers understand the…
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In Stories of Struggle: The Clash over Civil Rights in South Carolina (U South Carolina Press, 2020), longtime journalist Claudia Smith Brinson details the lynchings, beatings, bombings, cross burnings, death threats, arson, and venomous hatred that black South Carolinians endured―as well as the astonishing courage, devotion, dignity, and compassio…
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By 1935 William Faulkner was well established as an author of critically praised novels, yet the low volume of his sales forced him to seek work in Hollywood. As Carl Rollyson details in The Life of William Faulkner: This Alarming Paradox, 1935-1962 (University of Virginia Press, 2020), this led to an itinerant life divided between Mississippi and …
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Yael A. Sternhell's War on Record: The Archive and the Aftermath of the Civil War (Yale University Press, 2023) is a history of the United States' greatest archival project and how it has shaped what we know about the Civil War. The Civil War generated a vast archive of official records--documents that would shape the postwar era and determine what…
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Black vaudevillians and entertainers joked that T.O.B.A. stood for "tough on black artists." But the Theater Owner's Booking Association (T.O.B.A.) played a foundational role in the African American entertainment industry. T.O.B.A. Time: Black Vaudeville and the Theater Owners’ Booking Association in Jazz-Age America by Michelle R. Scott (Universit…
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Examining identity and nationalism in the Reconstruction-era South, Jack Noe’s Contesting Commemoration: The 1876 Centennial, Independence Day, and the Reconstruction-Era South (Louisiana State University Press, 2021) investigates debates concerning the One Hundredth Anniversary of American Independence. This commemoration, which came only seven ye…
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In the decades leading up to the Civil War, abolitionists crafted a variety of visual messages about the plight of enslaved people, portraying the violence, familial separation, and dehumanisation that they faced. In response, proslavery southerners attempted to counter these messages either through idealisation or outright erasure of enslaved life…
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American Visions: The United States, 1800-1860 (Norton, 2023) is a revealing history of the formative period when voices of dissent and innovation defied power and created visions of America still resonant today. With so many of our histories falling into dour critique or blatant celebration, here is a welcome departure: a book that offers hope as …
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The 19th-century Mexican-American borderlands were a complicated place. By the 1860s, Confederates, Americans, Mexicans, French, and various Native societies were all scheming and vying for control of the region bifurcated by the Rio Grande. In Illusions of Empire: The Civil War and Reconstruction in the U.S.- Mexico Borderlands (U Pennsylvania Pre…
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Immigrant laborers who came to the New South in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries found themselves poised uncomfortably between white employers and the Black working class, a liminal and often precarious position. Campaigns to recruit immigrants primarily aimed to suppress Black agency and mobility. If that failed, both planters and…
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The presence of Latinx people in the American South has long confounded the region's persistent racial binaries. In Making the Latino South: A History of Racial Formation (UNC Press, 2023), Cecilia Márquez uses social and cultural history methods to assess the racial logics that have shaped the Latinx experience in the region since the middle of th…
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In the early United States, anthems, flags, holidays, monuments, and memorials were powerful symbols of an American identity that helped unify a divided people. A language of freedom played a similar role in shaping the new nation. The Declaration of Independence’s assertion “that all men are created equal,” Patrick Henry’s cry of “Give me liberty,…
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Ask anyone outside of Austin what they know about the city and chances are the first thing they'll mention is the music. While the Armadillo Era has been well-chronicled, there is no book about Austin music in the 90s. In their new book, A Curious Mix of People: The Underground Scene of '90s Austin (University of Texas Press, 2023), veterans of the…
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Five years after the Civil War, North Carolina Republican state senator John W. Stephens was found murdered inside the Caswell County Courthouse. Stephens fought for the rights of freedpeople, and his killing by the Ku Klux Klan ultimately led to insurrection, Governor William W. Holden's impeachment, and the early unwinding of Reconstruction in No…
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From the colonial through the antebellum era, enslaved women in the US used lethal force as the ultimate form of resistance. By amplifying their voices and experiences, Brooding over Bloody Revenge: Enslaved Women's Lethal Resistance (Cambridge UP, 2023) strongly challenges assumptions that enslaved women only participated in covert, non-violent fo…
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Debates over the undocumented migration of Latin Americans invariably focus on the southern US border, but most migrants never cross that arbitrary line. Instead, many travel, via water, among the Caribbean islands. The first study to examine literary and artistic representations of undocumented migration within the Hispanophone Caribbean, Crossing…
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Coined in the middle of the nineteenth century, the term "voodoo" has been deployed largely by people in the U.S. to refer to spiritual practices--real or imagined--among people of African descent. "Voodoo" is one way that white people have invoked their anxieties and stereotypes about Black people--to call them uncivilised, superstitious, hypersex…
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An evocative and epic story, Nick Tabor's Africatown: America's Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created (St. Martin's Press, 2023) charts the fraught history of America from those who were brought here as slaves but nevertheless established a home for themselves and their descendants, a community which often thrived despite persistent racism a…
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The inspiring true story of an enslaved woman who liberated an infamous slave jail and transformed it into one of the nation’s first HBCUs. In The Devil's Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South's Most Notorious Slave Jail (Seal Press, 2022), New York Times bestselling author Kristen Green draws on years of research to tell…
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Since its founding in 1801, African Americans have played an integral, if too often overlooked, role in the history of the University of South Carolina. Robert Greene and Tyler D. Parry's edited volume Invisible No More: The African American Experience at the University of South Carolina (U South Carolina Press, 2021) seeks to recover that historic…
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