Excerpt: Us Versus Them, by Douglas Little

Cover image of Us Versus ThemIn this important new book, Douglas Little explores the political and cultural turmoil that led U.S. policy makers to shift their attention from containing the “Red Threat” of international communism to combating the “Green Threat” of radical Islam after 1989. Little analyzes America’s confrontation with Islamic extremism through the traditional ideological framework of “us versus them” that has historically pitted the United States against Native Americans, Mexicans, Asian immigrants, Nazis, and the Soviets.

In the following excerpt from Us Versus Them: The United States, Radical Islam, and the Rise of the Green Threat (pp. 15-17), Little outlines the history of “us versus them” thinking that has persisted from the United States’ founding to the modern conflict in the Middle East.

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“Why do they hate us?” When George W. Bush posed this question during a televised address just nine days after the 9/11 attacks, most Americans thought they already knew the answer. Muslim extremists had destroyed the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon on 11 September 2001 because they despised America’s Judeo-Christian religious tradition, because they envied America’s economic prosperity and political liberty, and because they resented America’s unmatched military power. Not only do “they hate our freedoms,” Bush intoned, “they want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries” and “drive Israel out of the Middle East.” Simply put, Bush told his listeners, “they stand against us, because we stand in their way.”[1] This was a truth that millions of Americans held to be self-evident at the dawn of the new millennium, when their country’s good intentions and its desire to make the world a better place seemed only to evoke bitter recriminations and acts of unspeakable evil.

Yet although the source of the 9/11 attacks was quite novel and although both the scale and the location of the harm “they” inflicted on “us” were unprecedented, the notion of a virtuous America endangered by wicked and violent enemies was not new at all. Indeed, from the moment that John Winthrop and the Puritans dropped anchor in Massachusetts Bay in 1630 and vowed to build a “City Upon a Hill,” Americans have tended to view the world in terms of “us versus them.” In the beginning, it was Native Americans who mounted the most sinister challenge to Winthrop’s utopian experiment, with Wampanoags and Algonquians and later Seminoles and Sioux defending their turf and terrorizing white settlers. Then, during the nineteenth century, the anxiety generated by the Native American “red threat” would be exacerbated, first by a “black threat” triggered by bloody African slave revolts from the Caribbean to the U.S. South, and later by a “yellow peril” that materialized as hundreds of thousands of Asian immigrants headed east across the Pacific to the United States.

Continue reading ‘Excerpt: Us Versus Them, by Douglas Little’ »

  1. [1] Bush, “Address to the Nation,” 20 September 2001, Public Papers of the Presidents (PPP) Bush 2001, 2:1141–42.

Martha S. Jones: Don’t Miss Out on What Michelle Obama Actually Said in 2008

cover image for Toward an Intellectual History of Black WomenWe welcome the following commentary and book excerpt from Martha S. Jones, co-editor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women. Despite recent advances in the study of black thought, black women intellectuals remain often neglected. This collection of essays by fifteen scholars of history and literature establishes black women’s places in intellectual history by engaging the work of writers, educators, activists, religious leaders, and social reformers in the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean. Dedicated to recovering the contributions of thinkers marginalized by both their race and their gender, these essays uncover the work of unconventional intellectuals, both formally educated and self-taught, and explore the broad community of ideas in which their work participated. The end result is a field-defining and innovative volume that addresses topics ranging from religion and slavery to the politicized and gendered reappraisal of the black female body in contemporary culture.

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Don’t let Melania Trump’s Monday night speech be your guide to what Michelle Obama said in 2008. Instead, keep listening. There is more to learn than who borrowed what words. Mrs. Obama’s speech before the Democratic National Convention was more than platitudes and boosterism. She explained for the nation the relationship of black women to the body politic. Mrs. Obama was the daughter of two social movements—women’s suffrage and civil rights—she related. To understand that year’s race between Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton required more than a worn out dichotomy. Race versus gender was a false dividing line, one that black women’s leadership aimed to overcome. It was a lesson in intersectional feminism from the main stage. No less relevant today, it is not one that Mrs. Trump is likely to appropriate any time soon.

Read more about Michelle Obama’s historic summer 2008 speech here in a excerpt (pp. 279–281) from my essay “Histories, Fictions, and Black Womanhood Bodies: Race and Gender in Twenty-First Century Politics.” The full text is available in Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women.

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When Michelle Obama took to the podium at the August 2008 Democratic National Convention (DNC), she came armed with an ambitious arsenal. Her speech drew upon childhood reminiscences, moral philosophy, and her role as a mother and turned on a view of the American dream as produced through struggle and determination. Continue reading ‘Martha S. Jones: Don’t Miss Out on What Michelle Obama Actually Said in 2008’ »

Recipe: Pink-Eyed Peas, Corn, Tomato, and Bacon Salad

Savor the South Sampler header image

Beans and Field Peas cover photo

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Sandra A. Gutierrez’s Beans and Field Peas. Gutierrez is the author of Latin American Street Food and The New Southern–Latino Table. A well-known culinary instructor, she lives in Cary, North Carolina. Follow her on Twitter @sandralatinista. Visit her website sandraskitchenstudio.com. Her recipe today is full of summer (and southern) goodness. What’s not to love about a salad with corn, tomato, and bacon?

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Pink-Eyed Peas, Corn, Tomato, and Bacon Salad’ »

Excerpt: Boy Soldiers of the American Revolution, by Caroline Cox

Cover image for Boy Soldiers of the American RevolutionBetween 1819 and 1845, as veterans of the Revolutionary War were filing applications to receive pensions for their service, the government was surprised to learn that many of the soldiers were not men, but boys, many of whom were under the age of sixteen, and some even as young as nine. In Boy Soldiers of the American Revolution, Caroline Cox reconstructs the lives and stories of this young subset of early American soldiers, focusing on how these boys came to join the army and what they actually did in service. Giving us a rich and unique glimpse into colonial childhood, Cox traces the evolution of youth in American culture in the late eighteenth century, as the accepted age for children to participate meaningfully in society—not only in the military—was rising dramatically.

In the following excerpt (pp. 52-55), Cox explores the life of a single boy soldier and considers how “a strong desire to enlist” led him to join the army at the age of sixteen.

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State of Vermont
Probate District of Bradford
in the County of Orange

At a court of Probate held in Bradford in and for the District of Bradford before the Hon. William Spenser Judge of said court—on this 7th day of August 1832 personally appeared in open court before the judge of said court now sitting Samuel Aspenwall a resident of Bradford in the County of Orange and State of Vermont aged sixty six years who first being duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.

. . . That in the month of March 1782 he joined the company of Captain Allen and a regiment of the Connecticut Militia. [He lists several officers.] That he joined this company as a substitute for one Daniel Hibbard of Windham in the county of Windham and State of Connecticut who was drafted for one year’s service. That he immediately marched to Horse Neck—near the southwest (CHK) corner of Connecticut—to guard the lines from the depredations of the Cowboys—Refugees and Skinners—[loyalists or British troops and thieves foraging from Long Island].[1]

This was all Aspenwall had to say about his enlistment. However, his sister Mary Truman, giving a deposition in support of his claim, remembered the events of that spring vividly. She recalled her brother had “a strong desire to enlist” before he was sixteen (he celebrated that birthday six months after he joined). She listened to family conversations, knew that her father was worried about Samuel catching smallpox or finding his fellow soldiers too rough for a young boy to associate with. She could also remember his return a year later because he came back just as the family welcomed a new baby sister.[2]

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Perhaps it was like this:

In 1782, Samuel Aspenwall was fifteen years old. He could barely remember a time when his country had not been at war. He had lived all his life in Stonington, Connecticut, and even though it was not the site of any major battles, he had regularly watched the men in his community march off to serve in the Continentals, the state troops, and the militia. They had been fighting since the earliest days of the war. Stonington was only a hundred miles from Boston—close enough to help the Massachusetts militia and other troops respond to the British army’s attacks at Lexington and Concord.

That fateful spring, Aspenwall had only been nine years old, and much of what he knew about the war he learned from stories repeated around the fire at home in the evening. In the intervening years, news of the great events of the day—the defeat of patriot forces in New York and New Jersey in the following two years, the victory of General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, New York, in 1777, and the triumph of General Washington and French General Rochambeau at Yorktown in Virginia in 1781—came to Stonington from a variety of sources. Local men serving in the armed forces wrote letters home, and their families shared the news. The soldiers themselves added details when they returned. And thirdhand reports appeared in the weekly newspaper, which his father or a neighbor occasionally bought in the port town of New London, about fifteen miles away, when they went there on business. Samuel took all this in, sometimes reading the newspaper himself, listening to his parents’ conversations, or being with his father when he met relatives, friends, and neighbors to talk about politics and the war.

Some of the events of the war happened close to home. Since 1776, the British had occupied New York. New London and the neighboring fort at Groton Heights overlooked the mouth of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound, just a few miles away by water from British forces. There were regular alarms along the coast that required the militia to turn out when enemy ships appeared on the horizon or raiding parties landed hoping to forage supplies. In 1781, the British, led by the traitor Benedict Arnold, had attacked Groton Heights and overwhelmed its outnumbered defenders, killing dozens of men and taking the wounded prisoner. Some of those defenders were from Stonington and neighboring towns, and a few had been boys around Aspenwall’s age.

The following year, he felt he had been on the sidelines long enough. He now had a “Strong desire to enlist” for a year’s term in the Connecticut state troops. He thought his father, a man sympathetic to the patriot cause, would fully support him. But he was wrong. His father vehemently objected; he thought Samuel was too young for the military. He was worried about the boy going far away from home, living a hard soldiers’ life, and keeping rough company. He also knew that many soldiers had contracted smallpox and died in army camps in the early years of the war.

But Samuel was so eager to go that he regarded his father’s disapproval as a temporary stumbling block. A determined fifteen-year-old can be a force to be reckoned with, and Samuel launched a campaign to change his father’s mind. It took so much effort that, decades later, his sister Mary could still remember the regular family discussions about whether her brother could go or not. Finally, their father relented and seized what control he could of the situation. Mary remembered that a couple of weeks before her brother left home, their father arranged for him to be inoculated against smallpox “for the purpose of joining the army with more safety.” Their father was also determined the boy should serve with men who would not corrupt him. Mary recalled her father traveling to the recruiting post with Samuel to make sure he enlisted “in a company agreeable to my father’s mind.” However, no matter what his father’s efforts were on his behalf, the boy was just glad finally to be a soldier.[3]

*

Continue reading ‘Excerpt: Boy Soldiers of the American Revolution, by Caroline Cox’ »

  1. [1] Samuel Aspenwall, W20634, Revolutionary War Pension Applications (RWPA), Record Group (RG) 15, National Archives, Washington, D. C. (NAB).
  2. [2] Ibid.; Painter, Autobiography of Thomas Painter, 9.
  3. [3] This imaginative account is based on Samuel Aspenwall, W20634, RWPA, RG 15, NAB; Buel, Dear Liberty, 36, 272–74; Harris, The Battle of Groton Heights; Martin, Ordinary Courage, 4–6.

Recipe: Shrimp Ceviche

Savor the South Sampler header image

Shrimp cover photo

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Jay Pierce’s ShrimpJay Pierce is chef at The Marshall Free House in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has written for CNN’s Eatocracy blog, Edible Piedmont, Savor NC, and Beer Connoisseur.  Follow him on Twitter @ChefRaconteur. His Shrimp Ceviche recipe is chock-full of Latin flavors and can easily be subbed with other types of fish.

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Shrimp Ceviche’ »

New Books for Fall 2016!

Fall 2016 seasonal catalog announcement

Summer vacations are great, but fall is our favorite season here at the UNC Press! We’re excited to share some of the great new books scheduled for publication soon. And for those who would rather prolong these summer months, that’s okay, because each one of our fall books is now available for pre-order! To see what’s in store, scroll through the interactive catalog above or visit our website to see what’s new in subject areas that interest you. Most books will be available as e-books, too, at the time of print publication. If you want to stay on top of what’s new each month, sign up for our monthly eNews announcements.

Here’s a sample of what’s in store. Browse our catalog for more great reads to look forward to.

North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints, by D. G. MartinGame Changers: Dean Smith, Charlie Scott, and the Era That Transformed a Southern College Town, by Art ChanskyFamily of Earth: A Southern Mountain Childhood, by Wilma DykemanCurating America: Journeys through Storyscapes of the American Past, by Richard RabinowitzA Field Guide to Antietam: Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and People, by Carol Reardon and Tom VosslerLearn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways: Traditional, Contemporary, International, by Jennifer BruléThe South in Color: A Visual Journal, by William Ferris

Video: John Shelton Reed, “That’s One Deconstructed Goat”

John Shelton Reed, author of Barbecue: a SAVOR THE SOUTH® cookbook, partnered with the Southern Cultures Center for the Study of the American South to talk about one of his favorite subjects: barbecue.

In the following video, Reed reveals the process of creating barbecued goat from start to finish.

John Shelton Reed lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Cofounder of the Campaign for Real Barbecue (TrueCue.org), his many books include Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, coauthored with Dale Volberg Reed. His book, Barbecue: a SAVOR THE SOUTH® cookbook, is now available. Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® page on Facebook for more news and recipes. For recipes by Reed on the UNC Press Blog, see “The Pig Picker: A Barbecue Cocktail” and “Kaycee ‘Red Menace’ Sauce.” 

Lessons from the Sand: A Budding Naturalist Explores

Cover image of Lessons from the SandEver wonder where sand comes from? Or why shells are colored differently? Or how to estimate the size of a wave? Featuring more than forty fun hands-on activities for families with children, Lessons from the Sand: Family-Friendly Science Activities You Can Do on a Carolina Beach, by Charles and Orrin Pilkey, reveals the science behind the amazing natural wonders found on the beaches of North Carolina and South Carolina. Easy-to-do experiments will help parents and kids discover the ways water, wind, sand, plants, animals, and people interact to shape the constantly changing beaches we love to visit.

In today’s guest post, H., a twelve-year-old budding naturalist, describes his adventures at the beach, guided by the Pilkeys’ book.

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Recently, my parents and I went to the Outer Banks for the weekend. Unfortunately, the red flags were out so my mom wouldn’t let me go into the water. Fortunately, we had a copy of Lessons from the Sand with us, and we made our own fun out of the water. We ran up and down the beach exploring:

beach features - wind ripples and dune creation

ripple marks (page 76),

seaweed

identifying seaweed (page 146),

measuring waves

and measuring wave heights (page 8).

Continue reading ‘Lessons from the Sand: A Budding Naturalist Explores’ »

Recipe: Crispy Crumbed Baked Tomatoes with Pecans & Parmesan

Savor the South Sampler header image

Tomatoes cover photo

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Miriam Rubin’s TomatoesRubin, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was the first woman to work in the kitchen of the Four Seasons Restaurant. Author of Grains, she writes the food and gardening column “Miriam’s Garden” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She lives in New Freeport, Pennsylvania. Baked tomatoes are tasty all on their own, but add parmesan and pecans and they’ll be even more mouth-watering!

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Crispy Crumbed Baked Tomatoes with Pecans & Parmesan’ »

Robert G. Parkinson: The Last News Story of Colonial America

The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution, by Robert G. ParkinsonWe welcome to the blog a guest post by Robert G. Parkinson, author of The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution. When the Revolutionary War began, the odds of a united, continental effort to resist the British seemed nearly impossible. Few on either side of the Atlantic expected thirteen colonies to stick together in a war against their cultural cousins. In this pathbreaking book, Parkinson argues that to unify the patriot side, political and communications leaders linked British tyranny to colonial prejudices, stereotypes, and fears about insurrectionary slaves and violent Indians. Manipulating newspaper networks, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and their fellow agitators broadcast stories of British agents inciting African Americans and Indians to take up arms against the American rebellion. Using rhetoric like “domestic insurrectionists” and “merciless savages,” the founding fathers rallied the people around a common enemy and made racial prejudice a cornerstone of the new Republic. 

In today’s post, Parkinson describes how one provocative piece of news—one year after the Revolutionary War had begun—prompted the United States to officially declare their independence from Great Britain in 1776. 

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What was the tipping point that pushed Americans into taking the step of declaring their independence? After all, the colonies had been at war with Britain for more than a year by the end of the spring of 1776. The other factor most attributed to causing independence, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, was five months old by that time. What changed in May 1776 to encourage patriot political leaders in both the Continental Congress and in many of the separate colonial assemblies to support severing ties with Britain? What produced a sudden support for independence?

The Germans were coming.

The news that King George had arranged for the purchase of upwards of ten thousand mercenaries from the German states of Hesse-Cassel, Hanau, Brunswick, and Hanover struck the American colonies like a tsunami in early May 1776. When Americans learned that the King had made these arrangements—instead of sending over peace commissioners or negotiators—they rapidly embraced independence as the only course of action to take. The last news story of colonial America was that the Germans were coming. Before, there had only been wild speculation about the Crown trying to buy soldiers to put the rebellion down. Rumors about Russians circulated in the fall of 1775. But before May 1776—long after the King had actually signed treaties with the German princes—none of it could be considered fact.

Then, on May 2, 1776, a ship captain named John Lee steered his vessel into a slip in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and scampered down the wharf in search of the closest patriot leader to tell about a massive British fleet he had spotted already on its way across the Atlantic, bound for Manhattan. On board, he reported to patriot leader Timothy Pickering, were not only scores of British soldiers, but also twelve thousand German mercenary troops. Letters documenting Lee’s testimony flew out of New England, headed for General Washington’s headquarters in New York and to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Within two days colonial newspapers had the story, telling their readers all about the coming invasion.

Then, just two weeks after Lee’s eyewitness report reached Congress, a man with an even more amazing story arrived in Philadelphia. Continue reading ‘Robert G. Parkinson: The Last News Story of Colonial America’ »

Randy Johnson: One of Grandfather Mountain’s Mysteries, Unraveled

Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon, by Randy Johnson, book coverWith its prominent profile recognizable for miles around and featuring vistas among the most beloved in the Appalachians, North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain is many things to many people: an easily recognized landmark along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a popular tourist destination, a site of annual Highland Games, and an internationally recognized nature preserve. In this definitive book, Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon, Randy Johnson guides readers on a journey through the mountain’s history, from its geological beginnings millennia ago and the early days of exploration to its role in regional development and eventual establishment as a North Carolina state park. Along the way, he shows how Grandfather has changed, and has been changed by, the people of western North Carolina and beyond.

In today’s guest post, Johnson unravels one of the mysteries of the mountain: the tragic story of a young scientist who died there in 1931.

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Grandfather Mountain is one of the most beloved peaks in the Appalachians and when I set out to write Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon, my goal was to tell the mountain’s story through the eyes of generations of people who love Grandfather.

Portrait of Worth H. Weller

Worth Weller was a handsome, brilliant young man who let the prospect of discovering a new species of salamander lure him to tragedy in Grandfather Mountain’s virgin forest. Courtesy of Worth H. Weller.

In the late 1970s, when owner Hugh Morton closed the mountain’s trails after a hiker had died, I proposed a backcountry management program to make the trails safe and persuaded Morton to hire me to reopen the deteriorating paths. I often hiked the mountain alone as trail manager and one of the mysteries that frequently crossed my mind was the strange death of Worth Hamilton Weller.

The brilliant young herpetologist had already discovered his first unknown species of salamander and was a noted scientist by the age of 18.  He’d also fallen in love with Grandfather and ended up perishing on the mountain in 1931. Not much more was widely known about the tragic story.

Continue reading ‘Randy Johnson: One of Grandfather Mountain’s Mysteries, Unraveled’ »

Recipe: Kaycee “Red Menace” Sauce

Savor the South Sampler header image

Barbecue Cover Photo

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from John Shelton Reed’s Barbecue. John Shelton Reed lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Cofounder of the Campaign for Real Barbecue (TrueCue.org), his many books include Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, coauthored with Dale Volberg Reed. His “Red Menace” take on Kansas City barbecue sauce includes bourbon—just to make things more interesting!

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Kaycee “Red Menace” Sauce’ »

Laura Visser-Maessen: How Exploring Bob Moses’s 1960s Civil Rights Activism in Mississippi Can Modify America’s Current Terrorism Debate

Robert Parris Moses: A Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots, by Laura Visser-MaessenWe welcome to the blog a guest post by Laura Visser-Maessen, author of Robert Parris Moses: A Life in Civil Rights and Leadership at the Grassroots. One of the most influential leaders in the civil rights movement, Robert Parris Moses was essential in making Mississippi a central battleground state in the fight for voting rights. As a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Moses presented himself as a mere facilitator of grassroots activism rather than a charismatic figure like Martin Luther King Jr. Examining the dilemmas of a leader who worked to cultivate local leadership, Visser-Maessen explores the intellectual underpinnings of Moses’s strategy, its achievements, and its struggles.

In a previous post, Visser-Maessen compared top-down and bottom-up forms of social change. In today’s post, Visser-Maessen makes a connection between religious and racial terrorism, exploring how the Civil Rights activism by Robert Parris Moses in Mississippi during the 1960s can inform current terrorism debates in the United States.

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Paris is only a five-hour drive from my home in the Netherlands. I have strolled its streets many times, undoubtedly including those covered in blood after the November 2015 attacks. I have also passed through San Bernardino, California, and have stood regularly at the former World Trade Center site. Yet as I commemorate those victims of religious terrorism, I cannot but remember my meetings with black civil rights activist Bob Moses and his colleagues of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Their haunting tales of life in Mississippi in the 1960s wryly challenge some politicians’ and media pundits’ current claim to exclusivity for the term “terrorism” only in relation to Islam, reminding us that the most bloody and consistent trajectory of terrorism in the United States occurred under the banner of white supremacy.

When Moses initiated the 1964 Freedom Summer, a massive state-wide civil rights campaign aided by hundreds of northern white volunteers, he had been struggling for nearly four years to communicate to the nation the violent atrocities that were committed against its black citizens in the Deep South.

Moses too was savagely beaten, once when he escorted a black voter registrant to the courthouse in a town with the ironic name of Liberty, and once in McComb as he tried to protect his white “race traitor” SNCC colleague Bob Zellner from a furious white mob. He had to identify the body of Herbert Lee, a black farmer who attended his voter registration classes and was murdered as a penalty. Louis Allen, whom Moses reluctantly counseled to uphold his coerced witness testimony that Lee was killed in self-defense, was nonetheless assassinated after the FBI, in cahoots with local authorities, got wind of Allen’s wavering. In 1963, thirteen bullets pierced Moses’s car, nearly killing his coworker Jimmy Travis who sat next to him, in an orchestrated drive-by shooting on a Greenwood highway.

Between the 1963 March on Washington and Freedom Summer, Moses recorded 175 cross burnings. Shootings and bombings of black churches, businesses, and homes likewise reached record numbers. Among the dozens of black bodies that popped up he emphasized three whose deaths were ruled the result of carbon monoxide—although two had gunshot wounds and one a broken neck. Membership in the KKK, Citizens Councils, and other white supremacist organizations soared. The newly formed White Knights of the KKK urged its members—6,000 within four months—to form “swift and extremely violent” covert groups which could instantly “destroy and disrupt [our enemy’s] leadership.” But Moses could not get the news out, nor the nation to commit its vast resources to the eradication of these crimes.

Until the victims were white.  Continue reading ‘Laura Visser-Maessen: How Exploring Bob Moses’s 1960s Civil Rights Activism in Mississippi Can Modify America’s Current Terrorism Debate’ »

4 Ways to Celebrate the Release of Free State of Jones

Bynum Twitter chat 4pm EST June 24

Today the film Free State of Jones opens in theaters across the United States. Historian Victoria E. Bynum, whose book of the same name helped inspire the film, has been making media rounds this week, talking about what the New York Times has called “the first Hollywood drama to come with footnotes.” Director Gary Ross comes correct on the history in this project, so historians, enjoy!

UNC Press staff are headed to a showing of the film at midday today, so follow us on Twitter (@uncpressblog) for pics and reactions.

If you’re headed out to see the movie, keep an eye out for the historian herself, who makes a cameo appearance (as does her husband, Gregg) within the first five minutes of the film. She writes:

It begins with the battle of Corinth, which really gets you on the edge of your seat. Within a few minutes of the battle, Newt Knight rushes a wounded young boy into the hospital tent. Gregg’s face (wearing hat) appears fleetingly at the tent door. Soon after, my scene appears. I’m easy to spot, center screen, quietly reading Bible verse. All is chaos around us and the scene quickly shifts to entrance by Newt. If you look hard, you can see me very briefly in background behind Newt, looking the other way.

Here are 4 ways you can celebrate the opening of Free State of Jones:

1. Watch this film clip, which, yes, features plenty of Matthew McConaughey

2. Watch this interview with Bynum on Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s “Conversations”

3. Join the #askFSOJ Twitter Chat TODAY at 4:00 pm EST.

twitter logo white on blueBynum (@vikki_bynum) and the NEH (@NEHgov) will chat on Twitter today, 6/24, at 4pm EST. Follow and chime in using #askFSOJ. The historian used an NEH grant to finish the research that helped her complete the book.

4. Download a FREE ebook—while they last!

The Free State of Jones, Movie Edition: Mississippi's Longest Civil War, by Victoria E. BynumTo celebrate the release of the film, we’re making 100 ebooks available for download FREE through the BookGrabbr social media platform. Just use your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn profile to post about it, and you are granted access to download the ebook for free.

Yes please! I want to Grabb an ebook!

Excerpt: The Ashley Cooper Plan, by Thomas D. Wilson

The Ashley Cooper Plan: The Founding of Carolina and the Origins of Southern Political Culture, by Thomas D. WilsonThomas D. Wilson offers surprising new insights into the origins of the political storms we witness today. Wilson connects the Ashley Cooper Plan—a seventeenth-century model for a well-ordered society imagined by Anthony Ashley Cooper (1st Earl of Shaftesbury) and his protégé John Locke—to current debates about views on climate change, sustainable development, urbanism, and professional expertise in general. In doing so, he examines the ways that the city design, political culture, ideology, and governing structures of the Province of Carolina have shaped political acts and public policy even in the present.

In the following excerpt from The Ashley Cooper Plan: The Founding of Carolina and the Origins of Southern Political Culture (pp. 142-146), Wilson outlines three theories of American political culture, the moralistic political culture of New England, the individualistic political culture of the Mid-Atlantic, and the traditional political culture of the South.

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Theories of American Political Culture

Theories of American political culture began with Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political historian who toured the United States extensively in the early 1830s. The tour resulted in publication of Democracy in America, which analyzed the regional character of the young nation. Of particular note, Tocqueville traced the essence of the American spirit of democracy to the Puritans, who he found exemplified the values of honest work, civic responsibility, and a more level society. Those admirable traits, he maintained, survived the course of time to become a permanent part of American character, outliving the tarnish of wars with Native Americans and other colonists, intolerance of dissenters, and infamous witch trials. Puritan ideals, Tocqueville believed, were the transformative principles that enabled the United States to eliminate royalty and nobility while lifting all classes of society to greater liberty, economic opportunity, and social mobility.

The political scientist Daniel J. Elazar identified three traditions of political culture in America, generally consistent with Tocqueville’s characterizations. New England political culture of the Puritans evolved to become moralistic political culture. This component of American character emphasizes community and civic virtue over individualism. It promotes the idea of participatory democracy and the positive role of government in addressing common problems. The Mid-Atlantic region produced individualistic political culture, which views government as a utilitarian necessity and seeks to limit its intrusion into private activities. Private initiative is held to be of higher importance than the public sphere. The South produced traditionalistic political culture, which elevates social order and family structure to a prominent role. It embraces a hierarchical society as the natural order of things, consistent with Gothic society and the Great Chain of Being. Elected leaders are respected men who use the reins of government to secure and perpetuate the existing social order. Leaders are expected to preserve traditional values and maintain limited government; they are not expected to be reformers or innovators.[1]

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  1. [1] Elazar, American Federalism, 93–102.

Recipe: Summer Blueberry Cobbler

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Buttermilk cover photo

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Debbie Moose’s Buttermilk. Moose is an award-winning food writer and author of five cookbooks, including Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy and Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool, as well as another Savor the South® volume: Southern Holidays. You can follow her on Twitter @DebbieMoose. Her recipe for Summer Blueberry Cobbler is as delicious as it is easy!

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

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University of Virginia Press and Cork University Press Select Longleaf Services for Fulfillment and Publishing Services

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Longleaf Services is pleased to welcome the University of Virginia Press as a full-service fulfillment and publishing services client and Cork University Press as a U.S. sales, marketing, and fulfillment client. University of Virginia Press books will be available from Longleaf beginning October 1, 2016 and Cork University Press books will be available beginning January 1, 2017.

“Longleaf allows us to focus on our strategic priorities by offering a suite of services that is exceptionally well positioned in the digital and physical production and distribution supply chain,” said Mark Saunders, director of the University of Virginia Press. “We are proud to be a part of their innovative, collaborative, and transparent solution for university presses.”

“When we were looking for distribution in North America it was important that the distributor understood our business. We found the perfect fit in Longleaf Services as their niche is working with university presses. In addition we were also looking for marketing services and Longleaf also provides this option,” added Mike Collins, director of Cork University Press.

Robbie Dircks, president of Longleaf Services, added “We’re pleased to welcome the University of Virginia Press and Cork University Press to the growing list of Longleaf client publishers. The addition of new publishers under the Longleaf umbrella provides greater economies and efficiencies in our operations, letting us fulfill our mission of providing fulfillment and publishing solutions which allow our client publishers to focus on their core mission of content acquisition and dissemination.” Continue reading ‘University of Virginia Press and Cork University Press Select Longleaf Services for Fulfillment and Publishing Services’ »

Recipe: Green Beans with Fingerling Potatoes

Savor the South Sampler header image

Sunday Dinner cover image

Every Tuesday this summer we’re featuring a new recipe on the blog from one of our Savor the South® cookbooks. Each little cookbook in our Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each volume will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

Today’s recipe is from Bridgette A. Lacy’s Sunday DinnerLacy is a journalist who writes about food for The Independent Weekly and the North Carolina Arts Council. She also served as a longtime features and food writer for the Raleigh News & Observer. Follow her on Twitter @bridgettealacy.

Lacy’s recipe features classic southern staples—green beans and potatoes—in a hearty and flavorful dish. It’s sure to bring the whole family together around the table!

Don’t forget to “like” the Savor the South® book page on Facebook for more news and recipes. Also, check back here next Tuesday for another Savor the South® Sampler recipe!

Continue reading ‘Recipe: Green Beans with Fingerling Potatoes’ »

Video: Mahershala Ali on Narrating ‘The Free State of Jones’ for Audible

The Free State of Jones, Movie Edition: Mississippi's Longest Civil War, by Victoria E. BynumBetween late 1863 and mid-1864, an armed band of Confederate deserters battled Confederate cavalry in the Piney Woods region of Jones County, Mississippi. Calling themselves the Knight Company after their captain, Newton Knight, they set up headquarters in the swamps of the Leaf River, where they declared their loyalty to the U.S. government.

The story of the Jones County rebellion is well known among Mississippians, and debate over whether the county actually seceded from the state during the war has smoldered for more than a century. Adding further controversy to the legend is the story of Newt Knight’s interracial romance with his wartime accomplice, Rachel, a slave. From their relationship there developed a mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended, and the ambiguous racial identity of their descendants confounded the rules of segregated Mississippi well into the twentieth century.

In the following video, Actor Mahershala Ali (House of Cards) shares the experience of transforming The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War into an audiobook for Audible. He talks about the importance of bringing stories to life through narration, particularly in documenting such a significant part of history. Ali recounts stories from Free State of Jones that grabbed his attention, and describes the appeal of these stories to twenty-first century audiences. (Running time 2:27)

Listen to Ali in a sample of The Free State of Jones audiobook on SoundCloud here:

Longleaf Services Announces New Partnerships to Better Serve University Presses

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Longleaf Services has announced strategic partnerships with Westchester Publishing Services, a trusted provider of editorial, production, and digital conversion services, and Supadü, a global leader in the design and development of websites. These partnerships further Longleaf’s mission of providing high-quality, affordable, and à la carte publishing services specifically designed for university presses.

Longleaf has developed an exclusive agreement with Westchester Publishing Services focusing on the Standard Monograph Program—designed to reduce the costs associated with the editing, design, and production of scholarly works by increasing efficiencies at every stage of the process, from the handover of the manuscript through the delivery of final files. With this streamlined process, presses are assured of dependable, high-quality work at an affordable cost. The savings in time and resources will allow the participating presses to more easily add to their title counts and to provide more focus on their nonstandard projects. “Westchester is proud to partner with Longleaf on the Standard Monograph Program. It’s a logical extension of the work we’ve done for years in the university press space, providing quality editorial, composition, and digital services to our clients on projects ranging from simple monographs to textbooks to complex titles and journals. By leveraging a templated approach to simple monographs, Longleaf and Westchester are able to provide some efficiencies to the market. We’re excited to see the growth of this program,” says Westchester’s Director of Business Development Tyler M. Carey.

Supadü is currently in the process of building websites for several Longleaf clients, including sites for the University of Nebraska Press, the University of North Carolina Press, and Rutgers University Press, as well as a new website for the journal Southern Cultures. Longleaf will continue to project manage these and future websites and will work closely with Supadü to build new tools that specifically address the needs of scholarly publishing—for both books and journals. “Supadü’s web and marketing tools combined with Longleaf’s wealth of experience in scholarly publishing will enable nontechnical users to exert more control over the content and setup of their websites without relying on costly agencies or having to write code,” says Mark Harvie-Watt, CEO of Supadü.

Clay Farr, Executive Director of Longleaf, said, “We have been working closely with both Supadü and Westchester for some time, but in each case it was clear that it would be beneficial for all parties concerned to strengthen and expand our partnership agreements to bring additional savings and efficiencies to the presses we serve.”

Both of these services are available to current Longleaf fulfillment clients as well as to any other university press that wishes to participate. Continue reading ‘Longleaf Services Announces New Partnerships to Better Serve University Presses’ »