In The Barber of Natchez, Edwin Adams Davis and William Ransom Hogan tell the remarkable story of William Johnson, a slave who rose to freedom, business success, and high community standing in the heart of the South—all before 1850. Emancipated as a young boy in 1820, Johnson became a barber’s apprentice and later opened several profitable barber shops of his own. As his wealth grew, he expanded into real estate and acquired large tracts of nearby farm and timber land. The authors explore in detail Johnson’s family, work, and social life, including his friendships with people of both races. They also examine his wanton murder and the resulting trial of the man accused of shooting him. More than the story of one individual, the narrative also offers compelling insight into the southern code of honor, the apprentice system, and the ownership of slaves by free blacks. Based on Johnson’s two-thousand-page diary, letters, and business records, this extraordinary biography reveals the complicated life of a freedman in Mississippi and a new perspective on antebellum Natchez.
In the antebellum Natchez district, in the heart of slave country, black people sued white people in all-white courtrooms. They sued to enforce the terms of their contracts, recover unpaid debts, recuperate back wages, and claim damages for assault. They sued in conflicts over property and personal status. And they often won. Based on new research conducted in courthouse basements and storage sheds in rural Mississippi and Louisiana, Kimberly Welch draws on over 1,000 examples of free and enslaved black litigants who used the courts to protect their interests and reconfigure their place in a tense society. To understand their success, Welch argues that we must understand the language that they used--the language of property, in particular--to make their claims recognizable and persuasive to others and to link their status as owner to the ideal of a free, autonomous citizen. In telling their stories, Welch reveals a previously unknown world of black legal activity, one that is consequential for understanding the long history of race, rights, and civic inclusion in America.
Architecture by National Register of Historic Places
Culled from the records of the National Register of Historic Places, a roster of all types of significant properties across the United States, African American Historic Places includes over 800 places in 42 states and two U.S. territories that have played a role in black American history. Banks, cemeteries, clubs, colleges, forts, homes, hospitals, schools, and shops are but a few of the types of sites explored in this volume, which is an invaluable reference guide for researchers, historians, preservationists, and anyone interested in African American culture. Also included are eight insightful essays on the African American experience, from migration to the role of women, from the Harlem Renaissance to the Civil Rights Movement. The authors represent academia, museums, historic preservation, and politics, and utilize the listed properties to vividly illustrate the role of communities and women, the forces of migration, the influence of the arts and heritage preservation, and the struggles for freedom and civil rights. Together they lead to a better understanding of the contributions of African Americans to American history. They illustrate the events and people, the designs and achievements that define African American history. And they pay powerful tribute to the spirit of black America.
In this wide-ranging study Stephen Foster explores Puritanism in England and America from its roots in the Elizabethan era to the end of the seventeenth century. Focusing on Puritanism as a cultural and political phenomenon as well as a religious movement, Foster addresses parallel developments on both sides of the Atlantic and firmly embeds New England Puritanism within its English context. He provides not only an elaborate critque of current interpretations of Puritan ideology but also an original and insightful portrayal of its dynamism. According to Foster, Puritanism represented a loose and incomplete alliance of progressive Protestants, lay and clerical, aristocratic and humble, who never decided whether they were the vanguard or the remnant. Indeed, in Foster's analysis, changes in New England Puritanism after the first decades of settlement did not indicate secularization and decline but instead were part of a pattern of change, conflict, and accomodation that had begun in England. He views the Puritans' own claims of declension as partisan propositions in an internal controversy as old as the Puritan movement itself. The result of these stresses and adaptations, he argues, was continued vitality in American Puritanism during the second half of the seventeenth century. Foster draws insights from a broad range of souces in England and America, including sermons, diaries, spiritual autobiographies, and colony, town, and court records. Moreover, his presentation of the history of the English and American Puritan movements in tandem brings out the fatal flaws of the former as well as the modest but essential strengths of the latter.
Whether you're a visitor or a local looking for something different, Mississippi Off the Beaten Path shows you the Hospitality State with new perspectives on timeless destinations and introduces you to those you never knew existed. Take a stroll around The Square in Oxford, the quintessentially Southern town that inspired William Faulkner, John Grisham, and dozens of other acclaimed writers. Go ghost-hunting at Waverly Plantation, a spectacular antebellum mansion rumored to be haunted by the lonely spirit of a lost little girl. Tour the folk art masterpiece known as Margaret’s Grocery, a colorful, ramshackle structure named the Weirdest Roadside Attraction in Mississippi. So if you've "been there, done that" one too many times, forget the main road and venture Off the Beaten Path.
Today, black-owned barber shops play a central role in African American public life. The intimacy of commercial grooming encourages both confidentiality and camaraderie, which make the barber shop an important gathering place for African American men to talk freely. But for many years preceding and even after the Civil War, black barbers endured a measure of social stigma for perpetuating inequality: though the profession offered economic mobility to black entrepreneurs, black barbers were obliged by custom to serve an exclusively white clientele. Quincy T. Mills traces the lineage from these nineteenth-century barbers to the bustling enterprises of today, demonstrating that the livelihood offered by the service economy was crucial to the development of a black commercial sphere and the barber shop as a democratic social space. Cutting Along the Color Line chronicles the cultural history of black barber shops as businesses and civic institutions. Through several generations of barbers, Mills examines the transition from slavery to freedom in the nineteenth century, the early twentieth-century expansion of black consumerism, and the challenges of professionalization, licensing laws, and competition from white barbers. He finds that the profession played a significant though complicated role in twentieth-century racial politics: while the services of shaving and grooming were instrumental in the creation of socially acceptable black masculinity, barbering permitted the financial independence to maintain public spaces that fostered civil rights politics. This sweeping, engaging history of an iconic cultural establishment shows that black entrepreneurship was intimately linked to the struggle for equality.
Social Science by Melissa Victoria Harris-Lacewell
What is the best way to understand black political ideology? Just listen to the everyday talk that emerges in public spaces, suggests Melissa Harris-Lacewell. And listen this author has--to black college students talking about the Million Man March and welfare, to Southern, black Baptists discussing homosexuality in the church, to black men in a barbershop early on a Saturday morning, to the voices of hip-hop music and Black Entertainment Television. Using statistical, experimental, and ethnographic methods Barbershops, Bibles, and B.E.T offers a new perspective on the way public opinion and ideologies are formed at the grassroots level. The book makes an important contribution to our understanding of black politics by shifting the focus from the influence of national elites in opinion formation to the influence of local elites and people in daily interaction with each other. Arguing that African Americans use community dialogue to jointly develop understandings of their collective political interests, Harris-Lacewell identifies four political ideologies that constitute the framework of contemporary black political thought: Black Nationalism, Black Feminism, Black Conservatism and Liberal Integrationism. These ideologies, the book posits, help African Americans to understand persistent social and economic inequality, to identify the significance of race in that inequality, and to devise strategies for overcoming it.
Covering everything from sports to art, religion, music, and entrepreneurship, this book documents the vast array of African American cultural expressions and discusses their impact on the culture of the United States. According to the latest census data, less than 13 percent of the U.S. population identifies as African American; African Americans are still very much a minority group. Yet African American cultural expression and strong influences from African American culture are common across mainstream American culture—in music, the arts, and entertainment; in education and religion; in sports; and in politics and business. African American Culture: An Encyclopedia of People, Traditions, and Customs covers virtually every aspect of African American cultural expression, addressing subject matter that ranges from how African culture was preserved during slavery hundreds of years ago to the richness and complexity of African American culture in the post-Obama era. The most comprehensive reference work on African American culture to date, the book covers topics such as black contributions to literature and the arts, music and entertainment, religion, and professional sports. It also provides coverage of less-commonly addressed subjects, such as African American fashion practices and beauty culture, the development of jazz music across different eras, and African American business. • Identifies influential aspects of African American culture through entries on topics such as African Americans in sports, in musical genres such as blues, gospel, hip hop, and jazz, and in religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Yoruba • Makes clear the numerous ways African Americans have produced, maintained, and evolved their culture in the United States • Enables readers to truly comprehend what "diversity" is by gaining substantive knowledge of how a particular group of persecuted people has learned to thrive artistically and culturally in the United States