University Press Week 2016: Blog Tour Day 2

banner 2016

Community is at the center of AAUP members’ missions: from the community of a discipline to a regional home and culture, from the shared discourse of a campus to a bookstore’s community of readers. We celebrate #UPweek 2016 with the annual blog tour, where each day several UPs post about a particular theme. Our contribution will go live on Friday. Until then, we’ll share our colleagues’ posts. #ReadUP!

Indie Bound

Tuesday, November 15

University of Texas Press Find Community at Your Local Independant Bookstore

University of Calgary Press

Cornell University Press It Takes a Village

University Press of Colorado Bookstores We Love

Seminary Co-op Bookstores Indie Bound: Selections from The Front Table

McGill-Queen’s University Press For University Press Week, Let Us Now Praise the Booksellers

Duke University Press

NYU Press Indie bound: Brooklyn Book Festival Recap

University Press of Kentucky

University Press of Kansas An Ode to the Independents

The People in Our Neighborhood

Monday, November 14

Northwestern University Press AAUP Blog Tour: People in Our Neighborhood

Rutgers University Press Rutgers 250: A Reflection on the Past Year’s Conversations, Celebrations, and the Books that They Inspired – Part of the 2016 Universiy Press Week Blog Tour

Fordham University Press Before the Fires – A True Community Product

University of Toronto Press Shared Values: A Partnership Between UTP and the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre

University of Toronto Press Journals University Press Week 2016: The People in Our Neighborhood

Seminary Co-op Bookstores  the People in Your Neighborhood: A #UPWeek Reading List

Athabasca University Press University Press Week: the People in Our Neighborhood

University Press of Florida

Greta de Jong: Who Lost the War on Poverty?

You Can't eat Freedom by Greta de Jong

We welcome a guest post from Greta de Jong, author of You Can’t Eat Freedom: Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement. Two revolutions roiled the rural South after the mid-1960s: the political revolution wrought by the passage of civil rights legislation, and the ongoing economic revolution brought about by increasing agricultural mechanization. In You Can’t Eat Freedom, de Jong focuses on the plantation regions of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. She analyzes how social justice activists responded to mass unemployment by lobbying political leaders, initiating antipoverty projects, and forming cooperative enterprises that fostered economic and political autonomy. These efforts encountered strong opposition from free market proponents who opposed government action to solve the crisis.

In the following post de Jong explores successes and failures of the war on poverty.

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For President Lyndon B. Johnson and his advisors in the 1960s, poverty was a national embarrassment. In the richest nation on earth, at the height of the ideological struggle between communism and capitalism that dominated U.S. foreign policy in the mid-twentieth century, the 40 million Americans living without adequate food, clothing, or shelter provided troubling evidence of the failures of free enterprise. Johnson believed the United States could do better, leading him to declare an “unconditional war on poverty” in his State of the Union address of January 1964. A few months later, Congress passed the Economic Opportunity Act, which authorized new federal initiatives designed to attack the problem on multiple fronts: adult education and job training, youth employment programs, economic development initiatives, expanded access to public assistance, and community action programs that encouraged citizens to work together in solving social problems at the local level.

For President Ronald Reagan and his supporters in the 1980s, poverty was a matter of individual choice. Continue reading ‘Greta de Jong: Who Lost the War on Poverty?’ »

Anne M. Blankenship: Pilgrimage to the WWII Japanese American Incarceration Centers: Championing Civil Rights for All

Morality, Politics, and Compromise: The Plight and Prospects of the Moderate, Then and Now by Anne. M BlankenshipToday we welcome a guest post by Anne M. Blankenship, author of Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II. Blankenship’s study of Christianity in the infamous camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II yields insights both far reaching and timely. While most Japanese Americans maintained their traditional identities as Buddhists, a sizable minority identified as Christian, and a number of church leaders sought to minister to them in the camps. Blankenship shows how church leaders were forced to assess the ethics and pragmatism of fighting against or acquiescing to what they clearly perceived, even in the midst of a national crisis, as an unjust social system. These religious activists became acutely aware of the impact of government, as well as church, policies that targeted ordinary Americans of diverse ethnicities.

In today’s post, Blankenship shows how present-day pilgrimages to historic sites of incarceration have become opportunities to champion civil rights for all by creating a communal memory of a painful past. 

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Last summer, over 1,000 people took pilgrimages to the sites of former Japanese American incarceration centers.  Pilgrimages have become sites of resistance not only by reshaping the memory of an ethnicity’s disenfranchisement, but by employing remembrance in the fight for the civil rights of first themselves and then others.

The groups who first visited the remains of California’s two camps in 1969 saw their project as one of not just healing, but a way to organize the Japanese American community for social justice work. The pilgrims campaigned for official recognition of the sites, first as state historical monuments and eventually as national historic landmarks within the National Park System. They also headed successful initiatives for redress movements to force the U.S. government to admit their constitutional violation and try to make amends. Since the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, the defense of Muslim and Arab Americans has become a central theme within the Manzanar pilgrimage in southern California.

The annual Manzanar Pilgrimage includes a keynote address, cultural programs, ondo (traditional Japanese group dancing) and taiko (drumming), tours of the camp site, updates from the National Park Service, intergenerational small group discussions where former incarcerees share their stories, and interfaith services to commemorate Nikkei who died during the war, either in camp or on the battlefield.

The committee chairs of Manzanar’s program consciously shape the communal memory of incarceration to embrace the experiences of other minority groups and define remembrance as an obligation to support the rights of others. To close the 2015 ceremonies, Bruce Embrey, co-chair of the Manzanar pilgrimage and son of Manzanar Committee founder Sue Kunitomi Embrey, told pilgrims:

Remembering is not passive. We must act on our memories. We must stand, today, with all those who face civil rights abuses, stand with those who are unjustly accused or persecuted simply because of their faith, their birthplace, or ancestry. We must stand up for others if we are to truly honor the sacrifices of our families . . . and all the sacrifices they made so that we may pursue our dreams. . . . We remember and work to preserve our story so that our people, our country can learn from our past and not be condemned to repeat it. This is why we remember.

Continue reading ‘Anne M. Blankenship: Pilgrimage to the WWII Japanese American Incarceration Centers: Championing Civil Rights for All’ »

Matthew Mason: Morality, Politics, and Compromise: The Plight and Prospects of the Moderate, Then and Now

apostle of union by matthew masonWe welcome a guest post today from Matthew Mason, author of Apostle of Union: A Political Biography of Edward Everett. Known today as “the other speaker at Gettysburg,” Edward Everett had a distinguished and illustrative career at every level of American politics from the 1820s through the Civil War. In this new biography, Matthew Mason argues that Everett’s extraordinarily well-documented career reveals a complex man whose shifting political opinions, especially on the topic of slavery, illuminate the nuances of Northern Unionism.

In today’s post, Mason discusses parallels between modern and antebellum religious leaders. This article was originally published at common-place.org.

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Angry voices rising at the intersection of morality and politics. Boycotts of businesses, localities, and even whole states led by passionate supporters of one side of the issue. Talk of nullification as an acceptable tactic given the apocalyptic stakes involved. This could be the 1850s and the issues surrounding slavery. It is also the 2010s and issues surrounding hot-button topics like immigration and LGBT rights. As groups ranging in size from congregations to the nation grapple with how to preserve community as totalizing rhetoric flies around and within them, there are contrasts and parallels with the American sectional conflict that may prove instructive.

One moral of the story of attempted compromises in the past is that the path of the moderate is certainly not that of least resistance. In polarizing times, there is a price to be paid—at the polls and otherwise—for attempting to chart a middle path. The career of Edward Everett may prove an apt case study. A man of deep moral conviction who sought to chart a middle path on the tortuous issue of slavery across four decades at every level of American political life, Everett left his position as a Unitarian minister in the 1820s and served as a representative and senator in Congress, as Massachusetts’ governor, as U.S. minister to Great Britain, and as secretary of state. He pursued cultural and political means toward national reconciliation in this fractured era, notably by his nationwide speaking tour to hold up George Washington as a unifying figure while raising money to purchase Mount Vernon as a national shrine of Union. A confirmed Whig dedicated to the ethic of Improvement, he sought to balance his commitment to reform and to constitutional Union through a conservative antislavery position that at different moments emphasized “conservative” or “antislavery.” As such he rallied great masses, especially with his Mount Vernon campaign in the late 1850s, but he also exasperated hardcore antislavery and proslavery men and women. His career in formal politics thrived during times of relative sectional quietude, but his very health (alongside his political prospects) suffered greatly during times such as the sectional hurricane sweeping the nation while he was senator during the Kansas-Nebraska debates.

The crisis that produced and surrounded the Compromise of 1850 proved especially wrenching for Everett. Gathering as much information about debates in Washington as he could from his semi-private position as recently retired president of Harvard, Everett expressed unequivocal fear for the Union’s survival. But in March 1850, when his close friend and political ally Daniel Webster came out in favor of Southern-friendly compromise measures including a harsh new Fugitive Slave Act (FSA), Everett experienced wrenching indecision. When he received an incomplete early version of Webster’s highly anticipated Seventh of March speech explaining his position, Everett felt he could support its overall tenor. On March 11, he recorded in his diary that it was “an exposition of great ability, well calculated if moderate counsels prevail to pilot the country through the broken & stormy sea: – but _____.” The dissent with parts of the discourse that Everett could not bring himself to register even in his diary emerged slowly in the coming weeks. When he read a fuller version, he was mortified especially by its passage supporting the fugitive bill. To oppose Webster was no small step, so he initiated a confidential correspondence with friend and congressional leader Robert C. Winthrop to talk through how to deal with the matter. “I always support him at the expense of my own” judgment, Winthrop responded, “when my conscience will allow me.” But this was not such an occasion, in part because the FSA was so gratuitously pro-Southern. Everett responded that his own reaction had been precisely the same: “habitual deference” to Webster’s “authority” coming face to face with massive qualms about the FSA. The old law had been “against the feeling of the People,” and this new one was even worse. “I could not vote for it, were I a member of Congress; nor as a citizen would I perform the duty which it devolves ‘on all good citizens.’” By March 22, Everett decided he had to send Webster a modified retraction of his assent to the speech. He found he had “misgivings” about the new FSA, for two basic reasons. One was that it was manifestly inhumane. Another, stronger reason from a political point of view was because runaway slave renditions were “the incident of Slavery . . . which is most repugnant to the Public Sentiment of the Free States.” In this and a follow-up letter in April, Everett wished “it were possible to arrange some extradition bill that would be less likely to excite the North.” “Southern gentlemen, who wish the Union preserved, must make that allowance for Northern feeling, which they claim for Southern feeling.”

In anguished expressions such as this, Everett offered an insight that would benefit modern would-be moderates: for a compromise to take hold, it has to be a true compromise. Continue reading ‘Matthew Mason: Morality, Politics, and Compromise: The Plight and Prospects of the Moderate, Then and Now’ »

John Mac Kilgore: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: An Early American Scholar’s Response to Hamilton

mania for freedom by john mac kilgoreWe welcome a guest post today from John Mac Kilgore, author of Mania for Freedom: American Literatures of Enthusiasm from the Revolution to the Civil War“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1841. While this statement may read like an innocuous truism today, the claim would have been controversial in the antebellum United States when enthusiasm was a hotly contested term associated with religious fanaticism and poetic inspiration, revolutionary politics and imaginative excess. In analyzing the language of enthusiasm in philosophy, religion, politics, and literature, Kilgore uncovers a tradition of enthusiasm linked to a politics of emancipation. The dissenting voices chronicled here fought against what they viewed as tyranny while using their writings to forge international or antinationalistic political affiliations. 

In today’s post, Kilgore discusses the realities of the real Alexander Hamilton versus the Hamilton of the critically acclaimed musical.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical Hamilton is undeniably great. I love its wit, its verve, its inventiveness. Nevertheless, I’m troubled by its wild popularity. And I’m not the only early American scholar who feels that way.

Why are some of us troubled? There are many reasons, but I’ll stick to the obvious one: Alexander Hamilton. In today’s parlance, Hamilton is the voice of “the 1%” par excellence. This is a man who wanted to create a “fiscal-military state.” A man who opposed a Bill of Rights. A man who desired to integrate banking interests, patrician power, and the federal government. A man who encouraged the suppression—by force—of any and all popular dissent against federal bureaucracy, whether it was the “wicked insurgents of the West,” as he called members of the so-called Whiskey Rebellion, or the “head Quarters of Faction,” as he called the state of Virginia when its legislature opposed the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts on constitutional grounds. And let’s tarry here for a second with the Alien and Sedition Acts. They were not only xenophobic, they also criminalized criticism of the government, what Hamilton dubbed “incendiary and seditious” speech. This is Hamilton: “Renegade Aliens conduct more than one of the most incendiary presses in the UStates. . . . Why are they not sent away?”

None of these realities, of course, show up in the musical. And they couldn’t. Why? Because Hamilton’s exercise in Founder’s hagiography relies heavily on the portrait of Hamilton as an immigrant himself, a self-made man of humble origins, as if this bootstrap narrative were crucial to his political identity. The opposite is true. Continue reading ‘John Mac Kilgore: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: An Early American Scholar’s Response to Hamilton’ »

UNC Press Announces First Recipients of Thomas W. Ross Fund Publishing Grants

UNC Press OSPS logoThe University of North Carolina Press has named the recipients of its first round of Thomas W. Ross Fund publishing grants. The grants are administered by the Press’s Office of Scholarly Publishing Services (OSPS), which serves the UNC system by providing access to a range of sustainable, mission-driven publishing models and solutions. The Press has successfully completed a $50,000 challenge grant from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust to create the $100,000 Ross Fund.

The grants will help UNC system departments, centers, and libraries publish scholarly material generated on their campuses. The five projects being funded represent a range of scholarly work being created at four different institutions.

  • Winston-Salem State University will receive funding to support their Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity: Research, Education, and Policy and to create an ongoing and sustainable relationship with the Press for its publication. The journal is edited by Peggy Valentine, Dean of the School of Health Sciences.
  • The Writing for the Screen and Stage minor program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will use funds to offset the costs of publishing an anthology of student plays chosen for production from five years of the Long Story Shorts One Act Play Festival. Dana Coen, Director of the program, will serve as editor for the book.
  • North Carolina Central University will apply funds toward its effort to launch a new journal of undergraduate research that will be available in an open-access digital edition and in a print format. The journal will be overseen by Gerrelyn C. Patterson, Associate Professor and Middle Grades Education Program Coordinator; Julie D. Nelson, Assistant Professor Department of Language and Literature; and Theodosia T. Shields, Director of Library Services at the James E. Shepard Memorial Library.
  • The Hunter Library at Western Carolina University will use funding to reissue Samuel Hunnicutt’s Twenty Years of Hunting and Fishing in the Great Smokies, a rare item from their collection originally published in 1926 that is much sought after by scholars and general readers alike. Liz Skene, Special and Digital Collections Librarian, will lead the project.
  • The Department of Romance Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will use a grant to help fund a major project to reissue more than 250 out-of-print monographs from the North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures series in new print and digital editions. The series is edited by Frank Dominguez, Professor of Spanish.

“We are very excited about the quality and diversity of these initial projects,” said John McLeod, Director of the OSPS. “We are looking forward to working with faculty and staff to help these five initiatives get off the ground, and we couldn’t be happier to have this funding available to help in the effort.”

“Changes in technology are creating new opportunities for universities to publish and make research widely accessible. We’re very pleased to see this cutting-edge collaboration within the university system,” said Junius Gonzales, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of North Carolina.

The OSPS will be offering grants quarterly through the remainder of the academic year. The next deadline for applications is November 15, 2016. Spring 2017 deadlines are February 15 and May 15. UNC system faculty or staff interested in learning more should visit http://www.uncpress.unc.edu/browse/page/897 for information.

Stephen D. Engle: IL Governor Richard Yates and the Union’s Cooperative Federalism

Gathering to Save a Nation: Lincoln and the Union's War Governors by stephen engleToday we welcome a guest post from Stephen D. Engle, author of Gathering to Save a Nation: Lincoln and the Union’s War Governors. In this rich study of Union governors and their role in the Civil War, Engle examines how these politicians were pivotal in securing victory. In a time of limited federal authority, governors were an essential part of the machine that maintained the Union while it mobilized and sustained the war effort. Charged with the difficult task of raising soldiers from their home states, these governors had to also rally political, economic, and popular support for the conflict, at times against a backdrop of significant local opposition.

In today’s post, Engle discusses how we should view the American Civil War as a lesson in cooperative federalism.

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On July 11, 1862, Illinois governor Richard Yates sent Abraham Lincoln a letter expressing his frustration with what appeared to be an administration paralyzed by limited war aims that were conciliatory toward Confederates, embraced conservative military commanders, and failed to emancipate enemy slaves or enlist black troops in the conflict. Yates lectured the president on why appointing more aggressive commanders, liberating slaves, and using all male troops of military age were needed to weaken the Confederacy and quickly bring an end to the war.

“Mr. Lincoln,” Yates declared, “the crisis demands greater efforts and sterner measures. Continue reading ‘Stephen D. Engle: IL Governor Richard Yates and the Union’s Cooperative Federalism’ »

David S. Brown: Jimmy Carter and the Origins of an Era of Democratic Party Dominance

Moderates: The Vital Center of American Politics, from the Founding to Today, by David S. Brown, cover imageThe fierce polarization of contemporary politics has encouraged Americans to read back into their nation’s past a perpetual ideological struggle between liberals and conservatives. However, in Moderates: The Vital Center of American Politics, from the Founding to Today, David S. Brown advances an original interpretation that stresses the critical role of moderate statesmen, ideas, and alliances in making our political system work. Beginning with John Adams and including such key figures as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., and Bill Clinton, Brown charts the vital if uneven progress of centrism through the centuries.

In today’s guest post, Brown explains how the Democratic Party under Jimmy Carter began to move closer to the political center.

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Much of our conventional wisdom on Jimmy Carter’s presidency goes something like this: he was a failed one-termer who got steamrolled in the Reagan Revolution and stands in line with a number of similarly out-of-touch “liberal” Democratic candidates from the 1970s and 1980s including George McGovern, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis. But there is another and, to my mind, more historically important way to view Carter’s brief leadership of the Democratic Party, and that is as a centrist who anticipated the type of to-the-center politics that did so much to embolden the Party’s fortunes in the 1990s and after. While Republicans have struggled in recent decades on the national stage—losing the popular vote in most national elections since 1992—Democratic candidates have been deemed by the electorate as more nearly right than their opponents on a number of vital cultural issues. And this is a huge turn-around from the party that Carter inherited in 1976.

That year, Democrats were still regarded in many quarters as the party of “Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion,” a smear hurled at McGovern four years earlier and one meant to more generally tag Democrats as radicals on the losing side of the 1960s culture wars. On the economic front, Democrats were attacked as advocates of tax-and-spend policies designed to finance a huge social welfare state. The party had gone through a number of permutations during its history, moving from the agrarian-states’ rights stance of Thomas Jefferson to the New Deal state of Franklin Roosevelt. But by the 1970s, the social welfare philosophy had lost much of its potency, even to many Democratic voters, and it was evident that if the party were to find political success in national elections, it would have to once again reinvent itself.

Carter had no deep loyalties to the New Deal. He ran for his party’s nomination as an outsider to the Washington establishment but also eschewed the radical race politics practiced by southern Dixiecrats who, as recently as 1968, had championed the third-party presidential candidacy of George Wallace. He resisted ideological labels and told reporters that he was a liberal on some issues (civil rights, the environment) and conservative on others (fiscal policy).  While in the presidency he sought to reduce government expenditures, balance budgets, and refused to push for a new New Deal. Anticipating a key theme of Ronald Reagan’s successful 1980 presidential bid, Carter, in his 1978 State of the Union Address, insisted, “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

Continue reading ‘David S. Brown: Jimmy Carter and the Origins of an Era of Democratic Party Dominance’ »

D. H. Dilbeck: What is a Just War? How the Union’s “Lieber Code” Answered a Perennial Question

A More Civil War cover imageDuring the Civil War, Americans confronted profound moral problems about how to fight in the conflict. In his innovative book, A More Civil War: How the Union Waged A Just War, D. H. Dilbeck reveals how the Union sought to wage a just war against the Confederacy. He shows that northerners fought according to a distinct “moral vision of war,” an array of ideas about the nature of a truly just and humane military effort. Dilbeck explores how Union soldiers abided by official just-war policies as they battled guerrillas, occupied cities, retaliated against enemy soldiers, and came into contact with Confederate civilians.

In today’s guest post, Dilbeck explains how Lieber’s code for the Union Army attempted to define “just war” during the American Civil War.

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We’re living through an age of rapid innovation in military technology. To cite only one of many possible examples, the swift embrace of “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” over the past decade has transformed the United States’ military presence throughout the world. And yet, despite all the revolutions in technologies and tactics, an old question remains with us: What is a just war?

A century and a half ago, Civil War Americans pondered this question. Today’s wars would be practically unrecognizable to them, but the underlying moral dilemmas wrapped up in modern military conflicts would surely seem all too familiar. Historians have written a lot lately about how terribly destructive the Civil War was—a scholarly effort not without merit. But quite often overlooked are the sincere efforts made by Civil War Americans to define and wage a just war.

The most consequential example to do exactly that resulted in “Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field,” a military code of conduct for Union soldiers issued in May 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln as General Orders No. 100. The document quickly became known informally as the Lieber code, named after its principal author, Francis Lieber.

Continue reading ‘D. H. Dilbeck: What is a Just War? How the Union’s “Lieber Code” Answered a Perennial Question’ »

Lon Kurashige: When Buddhism Was an Enemy Religion

Two Faces of Exclusion: The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States, by Lon KurashigeWe welcome a guest post today from Lon Kurashige, author of Two Faces of Exclusion: The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the Immigration Act of 1924 to Japanese American internment during World War II, the United States has a long history of anti-Asian policies. But Kurashige demonstrates that despite widespread racism, Asian exclusion was not the product of an ongoing national consensus; it was a subject of fierce debate. This book complicates the exclusion story by examining the organized and well-funded opposition to discrimination that involved some of the most powerful public figures in American politics, business, religion, and academia.

In a previous guest post, Kurashige considered how Teddy Roosevelt might approach today’s immigration debates. In today’s post, he blends his own family history with America’s history of the intersection of religion and politics.

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My grandfather immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1928, four years after Congress banned the Japanese from doing so. As a Buddhist missionary, he was one of the few who could enter the country legally as a “non-immigrant” accompanied by his wife (my grandmother). This was a small concession Congress granted because it did not want Japan to enact quid pro quo exclusion against American missionaries. My grandfather was sent by one of Japan’s largest schools of Buddhism to minister to Japanese immigrants and spread the faith among them, all the while, in true missionary spirit, seeking to share his religion with an entire nation of not-yet-Buddhists. He ended up in Fresno, California, and after a brief return to Japan, settled in Seattle until World War II.

A few months after the Pearl Harbor attack, the FBI took my grandfather away from his wife and seven children and confined him and hundreds of other Buddhist priests apart from their families and congregations. Their main “crime” was to be leaders of an enemy religion. There was no evidence produced to implicate my grandfather or any Buddhist priest of wrongdoing.

The incarcerated priests were joined by leaders of many Japanese faiths, including Shinto (Japan’s state religion at the time), and new religions such as Tenrikyo and Konkokyo, but not Christianity. There were no Japanese Protestant ministers or Catholic priests incarcerated with my grandfather. They were not separated from their families and congregations, even though they were included in the mass incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans held by the government’s War Relocation Authority (WRA).

This view of enemy religion informed the WRA’s crucial determination of internee loyalty. Continue reading ‘Lon Kurashige: When Buddhism Was an Enemy Religion’ »

Save 40% on our Religious Studies Books!

 

religious studies book sale

 

UNC Press is now having a special offer for 40% off of our latest Religious Studies books!

Simply enter the code 01REL40 at checkout to redeem the offer. Additionally, all orders of $75 and above will receive FREE shipping! Be sure to act on this offer before it’s gone!

Browse the books below for a preview of what’s hot off the press in Religious Studies. To see other Fall 2016 titles and more, visit our website.

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Toby L. Parcel: School Assignment and the Emotional Investment of Mothers

The End of Consensus: Diversity, Neighborhoods, and the Politics of Public School Assignments, by Toby L. Parcel and Andrew J. TaylorWe welcome a guest post today from Toby L. Parcel, co-author of The End of Consensus: Diversity, Neighborhoods, and the Politics of Public School Assignments. One of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan areas, Wake County, North Carolina, added more than a quarter million new residents during the first decade of this century, an increase of almost 45 percent. At the same time, partisanship increasingly dominated local politics, including school board races. Against this backdrop, Toby Parcel and Andrew Taylor consider the ways diversity and neighborhood schools have influenced school assignment policies in Wake County, particularly during 2000–2012, when these policies became controversial locally and a topic of national attention.

In today’s post, Parcel discusses her new research into survey results that reveal a gender distinction when it comes to concern and decision-making about school assignment. Read more about this new research in the journal Socius.

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Are women more supportive of diverse schools than men? Do mothers bear more of the burden than fathers when children’s school assignments change? If so, what is worrying them?

These are some of the questions I am investigating following the 2015 publication of my book, The End of Consensus, with Andy Taylor. In that work, Andy and I reported results of a mixed-methods study that used interviews, focus groups, archival data, case studies, and a 2011 representative survey of Wake County adults to understand school assignment policy change in the county.

We found that rapid population growth, which prompted longer bus rides and at times mandatory attendance at year-round schools, caused strong citizen reaction. The growth of the Republican Party in Wake was also a contributing factor because its members were less committed to diverse schools and more invested in neighborhood schools than other residents. In addition, we found that citizens worried that student reassignments from one school to another, a strategy the board used to manage growth and promote diversity, were damaging both to children’s learning and their school friendships; we found these reassignments were perceived as challenging for parents and children; citizens also worried about the sometimes unclear process the school board used to decide which children would be reassigned and when.

With colleagues Josh Hendrix and Andy Taylor I have followed up this work with a new publication that explores these issues for 547 Wake County parents with children enrolled in local public schools. We studied this subgroup because we thought these issues would be particularly salient for parents of children currently enrolled in Wake schools. We used as our foundation the qualitative work from the larger study that had highlighted parental concerns with diversity, neighborhood schools, and reassignments. For example, one pro-diversity advocate expressed her views this way: “It is not OK to segregate our schools. It is not OK to deliberately create high-poverty schools and claim that you are going to have all these fixes, whether it is funding or innovative programs, etc. It is just wrong, and that is why I am in this debate. My children will be fine regardless of where they go to school because I have the ability to make it fine for them, but not everybody has those resources, and it is not OK with me to leave other kids behind.”

Alternatively, diversity’s opponents argued that the policy did not further the system’s goal of providing children with a good education. One African American community leader stated, “I just don’t think diversity, shipping kids around, really matters as much as them getting a good education, and at the end of the day, there is a job.” Some comments indicated that moving away from neighborhood schools interfered with social connections between families and schools: “I do go back to when I was growing up,” said one conservative activist. “We had ownership of our school system and we were proud of it. I don’t get this sense of pride [here in Wake].” When children live far away from where they are educated, another argued, “parents are unable to play the kind of role that they want to . . . in their kids’ schools. . . . They cannot be in PTA; they cannot involve themselves.”

Building on this work, we used our survey data to study who favored diverse schools, who favored neighborhood schools, and who worried about school reassignments. Continue reading ‘Toby L. Parcel: School Assignment and the Emotional Investment of Mothers’ »

Michael Jarrett: Early Record Men: How Talent Scouts, Managers, Recording Supervisors, Publishers, and A&R Men Shaped Music

Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums by Michael JarrettWe welcome a guest post today by Michael Jarrett, author of Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums from Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday to Miles Davis and Diana Krall. In histories of music, producers tend to fall by the wayside—generally unknown and seldom acknowledged. But without them and their contributions to the art form, we’d have little on record of some of the most important music ever created. Discover the stories behind some of jazz’s best-selling and most influential albums in this collection of oral histories gathered by music scholar and writer Michael Jarrett. Drawing together interviews with over fifty producers, musicians, engineers, and label executives, Jarrett shines a light on the world of making jazz records by letting his subjects tell their own stories and share their experiences in creating the American jazz canon.

In the following post, Jarrett explores how the music industry, jazz in particular, was shaped by those who worked within it.

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Let us now praise famous record men: the architects, engineers, and contractors—the early guys—who built the music industry. Better yet, before any hymns of praise, let’s come to terms with a theory of record production. For starters, production as commonly understood began in the mid-1950s. The designation “record producer” earned semi-official status only after studios adopted magnetic tape. That’s because the recording medium determines how and when an industry worker can shape the sound of a record. To get Phil Spector, Brian Eno, Timbaland, and next year’s Svengali, record makers—analogous to auteurist film directors—needed control over the recording process to extend to every phase of production. Magnetic tape, a spoil of World War II, was the first medium to afford this level of control.

Before the advent of tape and for a long time afterwards, technologies for recording and reproducing sound worked to the advantage of companies, not musicians. (An artist could hardly declare, “Hey, I think you’re screwing me! I’m gonna take my beeswax masters and shop them around to other record labels.”) Entertainment companies and their designates managed musical production by controlling all facets of preproduction. A&R men—and it was always men—were tasked with choosing “artists and repertoire.” They determined who recorded and, working with music publishers, what was recorded. Thus, their power, whether invisible or inaudible, was enormous. They functioned as agents of selection. In seeking to ensure the survival and profitability of corporate interests, they profoundly shaped popular music.

Early record men, therefore, most resembled movie producers, not movie directors. Continue reading ‘Michael Jarrett: Early Record Men: How Talent Scouts, Managers, Recording Supervisors, Publishers, and A&R Men Shaped Music’ »

Anne M. Blankenship: E Pluribus Unum?

Morality, Politics, and Compromise: The Plight and Prospects of the Moderate, Then and Now by Anne. M Blankenship
Today we welcome a guest post by Anne M. Blankenship, author of Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II. Blankenship’s study of Christianity in the infamous camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II yields insights both far reaching and timely. While most Japanese Americans maintained their traditional identities as Buddhists, a sizeable minority identified as Christian, and a number of church leaders sought to minister to them in the camps. Blankenship shows how church leaders were forced to assess the ethics and pragmatism of fighting against or acquiescing to what they clearly perceived, even in the midst of a national crisis, as an unjust social system. These religious activists became acutely aware of the impact of government, as well as church, policies that targeted ordinary Americans of diverse ethnicities.

In today’s guest post, Blankenship’s study of Japanese American incarceration during World War II informs an understanding of the present political moment.

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Headlines of racial violence and the unabashed racism within Donald Trump’s campaign for the U.S. presidency do not allow Americans to escape the fact that our nation’s value of pluralism lies on shaky ground. The U.S. Constitution, of course, did not originally allow for the full rights of women or people of African, Asian, or Native American descent, but the notion of America as a land of opportunity for all persists. Trump joined previously marginalized white supremacists to champion the white man over Mexicans, Muslims, the Black Lives Matter movement, and women of all creeds and colors. He and other politicians have attempted to recover popular memory of past injustices to legitimate their racial biases. Calls to ban Muslims from the United States hit home with me personally because I research religious responses to injustices such as race-based immigration quotas and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Popular pluralism during World War II included the deliberate omission of Japanese Americans, and government propaganda attempting to unite all Americans to support the war ignored the legal and social discrimination of African Americans. Continue reading ‘Anne M. Blankenship: E Pluribus Unum?’ »

Matthew Mason: Movement within Bounds on the Antislavery Political Spectrum: The Case of Edward Everett

apostle of union by matthew masonWe welcome a guest post today by Matthew Mason, author of  Apostle of Union: A Political Biography of Edward Everett. Known today as “the other speaker at Gettysburg,” Edward Everett had a distinguished and illustrative career at every level of American politics from the 1820s through the Civil War. In this new biography, Matthew Mason argues that Everett’s extraordinarily well-documented career reveals a complex man whose shifting political opinions, especially on the topic of slavery, illuminate the nuances of Northern Unionism.

In today’s post, Mason discusses how creditable claims to oppose slavery prior to the civil war actually were. This article was originally published on The Republic Blog at shear.org.

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Several years ago I was at work on what I thought would be a group biography of the doughfaces, Northern politicians favorable to compromise with the South over slavery. I was prompted in large part by Leonard Richards’ book illustrating how instrumental doughfaces were in enabling Southern domination of the federal government. But as I contemplated their significance beyond that point, an insight from David Potter (brought to my attention by a conference panel commentary from Michael Morrison) proved provocative. Historians’ recognition that “slavery, in one aspect or another, pervaded all of the aspects of sectionalism,” Potter noted, has left them content to ask “a simple question: Did the people of the North really oppose slavery? rather than a complex one: What was the rank of antislavery in the hierarchy of northern values?” The complex version should help us perceive how the antislavery sentiment of the vast majority of Northerners conflicted with their love of a Union and Constitution that manifestly protected slavery. Thus the question became for them “not a choice of alternatives—antislavery or proslavery—but a ranking of values. . . . The difference between ‘antislavery men’ and ‘conciliationists’ in the North was not a question of what they thought about slavery alone, but of how they ranked these priorities.” I found this conceptual framework a real leap forward in my thinking, and started applying it profitably to understanding doughfaces of various stripes.

Pursuing Potter’s formulation via the genre of biography helps us understand antebellum Northern politicians who at first glance seem wildly inconsistent on the issue of slavery. Continue reading ‘Matthew Mason: Movement within Bounds on the Antislavery Political Spectrum: The Case of Edward Everett’ »

Bruce B. Lawrence: Daily Mercy: Allah in the Cracks

Who is Allah? by Bruce B. Lawrence We welcome a guest post from Bruce B. Lawrence, author of Who is Allah? This vivid introduction to the heart of Islam offers a unique approach to understanding Allah, the central focus of Muslim religious expression. Drawing on history, culture, theology, politics, and the media, Lawrence identifies key religious practices by which Allah is revered and remembered, illuminating how the very name of Allah is interwoven into the everyday experience of millions of Muslims.

In the following post, Lawrence offers some insight on how Muslims view Allah and what Allah truly means to them.

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In this election year Muslims have become a hot topic, but not many people–either supporters of curtailed immigration or their opponents–have drilled down to see what are Muslim views on the most important topic in their lives: Allah. Allah is more than a deity, Allah is also the linchpin for everyday sensibilities that shape Muslims from Dakar (Senegal) to Djkarata (Indonesia) as well as Western Europe and North America. One of the most popular Muslim websites is a Facebook page titled ILoveAllaah.com. It has almost 10 million likes, and daily postings that quickly garner thousands of likes, as did this one posted on 1 October:

Ya Allah, Make this day for us a better day than yesterday. Make it a day of mercy, success, victory & full of blessings & guidance from You ya Rabb. Save us from all trials, diseases and distress.

Allahumma Aameeeen!

Much can be said about the wording of this prayer, but for those unacquainted with Islam the key invocation is the first: “Make it a day of mercy. . . .” The central, defining quality of Allah (phonetically spelled Allaah) is mercy. The phrase that flows through a Muslim day is Inshallah (If God will), just as the phrase that marks each meal is Bismillah (In the name of God). The immediate sequel to bismillah (aka basmala) is two qualifiers: Ar-rahmaan, ar-raheem. God the One full of Mercy, God the One ever giving Mercy.

And so to make each day a day of mercy is to look in each action and event, each moment and hour, for the source of Mercy, the fount and giver of Mercy, Allah.

It is difficult to imagine how Allah assists Muslim immigrants. Continue reading ‘Bruce B. Lawrence: Daily Mercy: Allah in the Cracks’ »

Greta de Jong: A Lesson from Black History for Angry White Men

You Can't Eat Freedom, by Greta de JongWe welcome a guest post from Greta de Jong, author of You Can’t Eat Freedom: Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement. Two revolutions roiled the rural South after the mid-1960s: the political revolution wrought by the passage of civil rights legislation, and the ongoing economic revolution brought about by increasing agricultural mechanization. In You Can’t Eat Freedom, de Jong focuses on the plantation regions of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. She analyzes how social justice activists responded to mass unemployment by lobbying political leaders, initiating antipoverty projects, and forming cooperative enterprises that fostered economic and political autonomy. These efforts encountered strong opposition from free market proponents who opposed government action to solve the crisis.

In the following post de Jong offers a historical comparison between the job displacement and decline cited by white male Trump supporters and the similar displacement experienced by blacks in the mid-twentieth-century rural South.

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In trying to understand the voters who support Donald Trump in this year’s election, some analysts have noted that many of Trump’s supporters are alienated white men who did not fare well in the economic transformations of the past few decades. They lost their jobs to automation and globalization, watched local small businesses struggle and eventually close, and saw their communities spiral into decline under the burdens of unemployment, poverty, drug abuse, and despair. All this at a time when the civil rights and women’s rights movements forced them to relinquish some of the privileges they had historically enjoyed as white men and allow a fairer allocation of resources to groups whose interests had long been subordinated to their own. Despite posing as an economic populist, Trump’s larger appeal to these voters is his racism and attacks on people of color. It was Trump’s denigration of Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and “political correctness” that drew the attention and cemented the support of his white male base.

Trump voters are not likely to look to African American history for help in making sense of their situation or forging solutions, but if they did they might find that they have more in common with black Americans than they thought. In the mid-twentieth century, rural communities in the South—and their predominantly black labor force—experienced processes of displacement and decline that foreshadowed those that afflicted white workers in later decades. Between 1940 and 1970, the mechanization of southern agriculture eliminated 3.7 million farm labor positions, leaving former sharecroppers without jobs, homes, or income. Restrictive policies and racial discrimination prevented many of these displaced workers from gaining access to public assistance, and efforts to attract new industries and jobs to rural poor areas were not very successful.

Large numbers of the unemployed migrated to northern cities in search of work, but others chose to remain in the places they called home. Continue reading ‘Greta de Jong: A Lesson from Black History for Angry White Men’ »

Emily Suzanne Clark: I Don’t Believe in No Ghosts: America and Spirits

A Luminous Brotherhood, by Emily Suzanne Clark, cover imageIn the midst of a nineteenth-century boom in spiritual experimentation, the Cercle Harmonique, a remarkable group of African-descended men, practiced Spiritualism in heavily Catholic New Orleans from just before the Civil War to the end of Reconstruction. In A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, the first comprehensive history of the Cercle, Emily Suzanne Clark illuminates how highly diverse religious practices wind in significant ways through American life, culture, and history. Clark shows that the beliefs and practices of Spiritualism helped Afro-Creoles mediate the political and social changes in New Orleans, as free blacks suffered increasingly restrictive laws and then met with violent resistance to suffrage and racial equality.

In today’s guest post, Clark recounts the history of spiritualism and reminds us that many Americans still believe in ghosts.

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Summer 2016 saw the remake of a classic American film: Ghostbusters. The remake prompted a number of conversations about gender and misogyny but not many about ghosts. Belief in ghosts and the supernatural is not uncommon in the United States. According to a 2013 Harris Poll, 42% of Americans believe in ghosts. The same year, polling data in the UK indicated that a similar percentage of the population believed that interaction with the spirits of the dead is possible. In 2009 the Pew Research Center released data indicating that 29% of the U.S. population “have felt in touch with someone who has already died.” Just last year the Pew Research Center found that 18% of Americans believe that they have seen a ghost. Belief in the supernatural was even more common a few centuries ago. The 1692 witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, attest to that, and many historians have written about the enchanted world that surrounded the Puritans. The creative and humid religious atmosphere of the early nineteenth century led historian Jon Butler to term it the “antebellum spiritual hothouse.” Some scientists thought the Enlightenment, scientific revolution, and secularism would lead to the end of supernatural belief, but these recent polling numbers indicate otherwise. Despite what Ray Parker sang back in 1984, many Americans believe in ghosts.

Whether or not you reading this post believe in them, ghosts fascinate Americans. A century and a half before the popularity of ghost-hunter shows on the SyFy Network and NBC’s award-winning show “Medium,” belief in spirit communication was serious and widespread in the United States. Spiritualism swept across the United States in the mid-nineteenth century and remained popular into the twentieth century. Put simply, a Spiritualist is one who believes that communication with the spirits of the dead is not only possible but also desirable. Popularized by the Fox Sisters and their “Rochester rappings,” Spiritualism interested Americans young and old, white and black, male and female, rich and poor. Much of this appeal came from Spiritualism’s ability to bridge the world of the living and the world of the dead.

Continue reading ‘Emily Suzanne Clark: I Don’t Believe in No Ghosts: America and Spirits’ »

Lon Kurashige: What Would Teddy Roosevelt Do?

Two Faces of Exclusion: The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States, by Lon KurashigeWe welcome a guest post today from Lon Kurashige, author of Two Faces of Exclusion: The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the Immigration Act of 1924 to Japanese American internment during World War II, the United States has a long history of anti-Asian policies. But Kurashige demonstrates that despite widespread racism, Asian exclusion was not the product of an ongoing national consensus; it was a subject of fierce debate. This book complicates the exclusion story by examining the organized and well-funded opposition to discrimination that involved some of the most powerful public figures in American politics, business, religion, and academia.

In his post today, Kurashige explores the immigration agenda of Teddy Roosevelt and considers how his approach might be applied to immigration debates today.

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A little over one hundred years ago, much like today, immigration fears fueled heated political debates in the United States as the nation confronted the effects of (at the time) its largest wave of newcomers. These debates were part and parcel to widespread concerns that the United States had lost its way, derailed by a combination of greedy capitalists, corrupt politicians, radical labor movements, violent anarchists, and, of course, the damaging influence of largely southern and eastern European immigrants whose foreign tongues, customs, religions, and ideologies seemed to undermine the nation’s democratic tradition rooted in a White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant foundation. In September 1901 an American-born anarchist of Polish descent assassinated President William McKinley. This act thrust Theodore Roosevelt into the White House, where he served until 1909.

What did Teddy Roosevelt do about immigration?

It is important to recall Roosevelt’s positions on immigration because of the similarities between his day and our own. Immigration fears are a regular feature in today’s headlines as the United States (not mention the U.K. and European countries) wrestles with how much and in what ways to close its borders to newcomers. The same was true when Roosevelt became president. Three months after McKinley’s murder, Roosevelt urged Congress to “take into consideration the coming to this country of anarchists or persons professing principles hostile to all government. . . . They and those like them should be kept out of this country, and if found here they should be promptly deported to the country whence they came.”

Roosevelt also recommended the creation of a literacy test for immigrants. While admitting that this would not keep out intelligent criminals bent on harming the United States, he asserted that it would “decrease the sum of ignorance, so potent in producing the envy, suspicion, malignant passion, and hatred of order, out of which anarchistic sentiment inevitably springs.” Added to the list of excluded classes were prostitutes and other “persons who are of low moral tendency and unsavory reputation.” Finally, Roosevelt sought to strengthen barriers against immigrants who were likely to compete as unfair “cheap labor” against American workers. Thus the overarching themes guiding the new president’s immigration priorities were homeland security, selective screening based on education and morality, and protections for American labor.

Congress enacted most of Roosevelt’s agenda via the Immigration Act of 1903. The great exception here was the screening for education, the pet project of the president’s good friend and political ally Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, who eventually prevailed in 1918 with the enactment of a literacy test for immigrant admission.

Roosevelt’s other immigration priorities focused on Asian immigrants. The president continued the policy of Chinese restriction that since 1882 had hardened into near exclusion. He sided with U.S. labor unions that cast Chinese laborers as a pernicious and unlimited source of “cheap labor” injurious to American workers. With the president’s support, Congress in 1904 removed Chinese exclusion from its trial basis (subject to renewal every ten years), an action that further insulted a Chinese public already humiliated by America’s long-standing discrimination against Chinese immigrants. A series of boycotts of U.S. goods broke out in China to protest the latest indignity. Worried about U.S.-China trade and for the safety of U.S. missionaries and businesspersons in China, Roosevelt made gestures that showed uncharacteristic sympathy for protecting the treaty and civil rights of Chinese immigrants. But these proved temporary and ended when the boycotts ceased in 1906.

Roosevelt responded differently to Japanese immigrants, who U.S. labor unions saw as no less a threat than the Chinese. Continue reading ‘Lon Kurashige: What Would Teddy Roosevelt Do?’ »

Lorien Foote: Adding Prisoners of War to ‘Free State of Jones’

The Yankee Plague: Escaped Union Prisoners and the Collapse of the Confederacy, by Lorien FooteWe welcome a guest post today from Lorien Foote, author of The Yankee Plague: Escaped Union Prisoners and the Collapse of the ConfederacyDuring the winter of 1864, more than 3,000 Federal prisoners of war escaped from Confederate prison camps into South Carolina and North Carolina, often with the aid of local slaves. Their flight created, in the words of contemporary observers, a “Yankee plague,” heralding a grim end to the Confederate cause. In a fascinating look at Union soldiers’ flight for freedom in the last months of the Civil War, Lorien Foote reveals new connections between the collapse of the Confederate prison system, the large-scale escape of Union soldiers, and the full unraveling of the Confederate States of America.

In today’s post, Foote imagines the film Free State of Jones if it had been set in the Carolinas—with thousands of escaped prisoners of war.

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When Free State of Jones becomes available on DVD today, potential viewers who visit www.rottentomatoes.com will discover that movie critics generally panned it while the theater audiences generally liked it. The film is based on the true story of Newton Knight, a Confederate deserter who led an inter-racial rebellion against Confederate authority in Jones County, Mississippi. Reviewers criticized the movie for being both simplistic and convoluted; they were dissatisfied with its crude portrayal of race relations and its attempt to cram together the Civil War, Reconstruction, and a 1948 miscegenation trial. Director Gary Ross had a fascinating and complicated story to tell, and if he had difficulty weaving the parts together for a two-hour movie, his problems would have been compounded had he tried to tell the story of the deserters in rebellion against the Confederacy in the Carolinas. Imagine Free State of Jones with nearly 3,000 escaped prisoners of war thrown into the mix.

In September 1864, after Sherman captured Atlanta, the Confederate government sought to move its Yankee prisoners of war out of prisons in Andersonville and Macon, Georgia, in order to keep the Union army from liberating the captives. There was no official in charge of coordinating the movement of prisoners and the Confederacy was suffering from bureaucratic breakdowns across the board as their war effort collapsed. No one notified the military commander in Charleston, South Carolina, that thousands of prisoners were on the way to his department. When they arrived, he sent them to Florence and Columbia and turned them out into open fields without buildings or fences. The result was the escape of more than 900 prisoners in September and October. When the Confederates tried to move the prisoners again in February, another 1900 escaped.

The Yankees fled into a landscape where thousands of deserters ruled the swamps and mountains in many counties of North and South Carolina. Continue reading ‘Lorien Foote: Adding Prisoners of War to ‘Free State of Jones’’ »