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African Americans of Mars Bluff, South Carolina 9780807118467

African Americans of Mars Bluff, South Carolina

ISBN-10: 080711846X
ISBN-13: 9780807118467
PUBLISHER: Louisiana State University Press
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Note: Not guaranteed to come with supplemental materials (access codes, CDs, DVDs)
Product Description: "Although she has spent most of her adult life away from the South, Amelia Wallace Vernon was reared in a small farming community in South Carolina's pine belt known as Mars Bluff. On annual visits home, Vernon, knowing little about the subject, became increasingly interested in exploring and preserving the history of African Americans in that area. Over a period of years she taped interviews with several elderly African Americans in Mars Bluff, who talked about their lives and those of their ancestors. One such individual was Archie Waiters, a lifelong resident who had grown up in the home of his grandfather Alex Gregg, a former slave. Waiters and others provided Vernon with a trove of information about the history and culture of blacks in the area. From those interviews, which, transcribed, come to more than one thousand manuscript pages, Vernon has fashioned this fascinating volume." "In a clear and engaging style, Vernon traces the history of African Americans at Mars Bluff from the mid-eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, following the paths of blacks transported from Africa to this continent to be sold as slaves and relating the harsh conditions under which they existed. She describes the efforts of free blacks after emancipation and into this century to improve their own lives and those of their families. Throughout, she emphasizes the strong relationship African Americans have always had with the land and the many traditions and customs blacks brought with them from Africa that have survived and flourished in this country in spite of the burdens of slavery, poverty, and discrimination." "During the course of her interviews, Vernon discovered that many African Americans at Mars Bluff cultivated small plots of rice until the 1920s. Although the coastal region of the state was well known for its large-scale rice production, little was known about the prevalence of African American rice growers in the pine belt. As the author reveals, African Americans in this region relied on knowledge brought from West Africa to grow what is sometimes called "providence rice" - rice cultivated in small plots located in natural depressions and watered by rain. In Tom Brown, a former slave who cleared land for a rice field, Vernon sees someone who has realized the freedman's dream of land ownership, a dream based on African spiritual values and Reconstruction promises." "Unlike the African American population of coastal South Carolina, which has been extensively studied, blacks who lived and worked inland have been given little attention, making Vernon's book particularly valuable. Allowing the story of African Americans at Mars Bluff to unfold largely through their own words, Vernon offers a vivid, inspiring picture of a community whose values and traditions were primarily shaped by an African legacy of wisdom, dignity, and reverence for the land."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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