Stories of the South: Race and the Reconstruction of Southern Identity, 1865-1915

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UNC Press Books, 2014 - History - 321 pages
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In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, the character of the South, and even its persistence as a distinct region, was an open question. During Reconstruction, the North assumed significant power to redefine the South, imagining a region rebuilt and modeled on northern society. The white South actively resisted these efforts, battling the legal strictures of Reconstruction on the ground. Meanwhile, white southern storytellers worked to recast the South's image, romanticizing the Lost Cause and heralding the birth of a New South. In Stories of the South, K. Stephen Prince argues that this cultural production was as important as political competition and economic striving in turning the South and the nation away from the egalitarian promises of Reconstruction and toward Jim Crow.

Examining novels, minstrel songs, travel brochures, illustrations, oratory, and other cultural artifacts produced in the half century following the Civil War, Prince demonstrates the centrality of popular culture to the reconstruction of southern identity, shedding new light on the complicity of the North in the retreat from the possibility of racial democracy.

 

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Contents

The Southern Question
1
Reconstruction 18651880
13
Construction 18801895
95
Destruction 18901915
205
Epilogue
247
Notes
251
Bibliography
285
Acknowledgments
303
Index
307
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About the author (2014)

K. Stephen Prince is assistant professor of history at the University of South Florida.

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