Category: Excerpts

Excerpt: Help Me to Find My People, by Heather Andrea Williams

African Americans now had both more freedom to move about and more reason to believe they could begin to live the lives they had previously only imagined. For many, this meant reuniting with family, so they urgently attempted to get to the places where they thought their loved ones might be. Sometimes they found them there; other times the people were gone. Continue Reading Excerpt: Help Me to Find My People, by Heather Andrea Williams

Excerpt: Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement, by Randal Maurice Jelks

Mays’s own life took him from the nadir of Jim Crow in the Deep South, to the long march of civil rights agitation and education, to the culmination of the Black Freedom struggle in the late 1960s. Long before King began his ministry in Montgomery, Mays had advocated that black churches become centers of civil rights activism, and he was delighted when they nurtured a democratic movement that brought down the walls of racial segregation in the United States. Continue Reading Excerpt: Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement, by Randal Maurice Jelks

Excerpt: Commonsense Anticommunism by Jennifer Luff

Doubting the capacity of the law to distinguish between legitimate militancy and subversive radicalism, labor conservatives disapproved of legislation outlawing sedition. Instead they pursued a voluntarist program of evangelizing about the evils of Communism and excluding Communists from AFL unions. In the aftermath of the first Red Scare, labor conservatives formed a crucial backstop against reaction. In the late 1930s, the situation changed. Alienated from the New Deal order and at odds with liberal union leaders in the competing Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO), labor conservatives abandoned commonsense anticommunism for calculated red-baiting. Continue Reading Excerpt: Commonsense Anticommunism by Jennifer Luff

Excerpt: Crabgrass Crucible, by Christopher C. Sellers

In the United States, even from Bunner’s time, what nourished the nature love of the more and less scientifically qualified alike was a shared suburban experience. It was one not so much of home buying as home owning. Nor was it reducible to suburban dwellers’ relationship with “the land,” however fraught. What finally secured the breadth of environmentalism’s appeal was how nature love itself had become ever more suffused with anxieties about human health. Continue Reading Excerpt: Crabgrass Crucible, by Christopher C. Sellers

Excerpt: Memories of Conquest, by Laura E. Matthew

The extent of these Nahuas’ and Oaxacans’ participation in the invasions of 1524-28 undermines the very notion of a Spanish conquest. Their lives as Indian conquistadors in Guatemala suggest that we still have a long way to go to understand the lived experience of colonialism by the American continents’ indigenous peoples. Continue Reading Excerpt: Memories of Conquest, by Laura E. Matthew

Excerpt: Crossroads at Clarksdale, by Francoise N. Hamlin

As a Delta town, Clarksdale typified many movement sites, yet for many reasons it is unique. Clarksdale’s movement was more homespun than in other Delta towns—the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had its strongest branch there, founded in the early 1950s by local people. Continue Reading Excerpt: Crossroads at Clarksdale, by Francoise N. Hamlin

Excerpt: The Corner of the Living, by Miguel La Serna

In many ways, my initial trip to Chuschi reflects the challenges of doing historical anthropology about the late twentieth century. […] the very people about whom I had been reading—and forming opinions—in the archives were still living. Even in cases where the historical actors had passed away, their children and neighbors still lived. As such, I had to deal with something I never anticipated: the feelings of my archival subjects. Continue Reading Excerpt: The Corner of the Living, by Miguel La Serna

Excerpt: James Madison, by Jeff Broadwater

Madison’s more eloquent and charismatic friend Thomas Jefferson would come to overshadow him as a party leader, and later historians would write of Jeffersonian, not Madisonian, Republicans. Yet as a member of the first federal Congress, Madison laid the foundation for a new party and was initially a more aggressive partisan than Jefferson. Continue Reading Excerpt: James Madison, by Jeff Broadwater

Excerpt: Home Grown, by Isaac Campos

Yet despite today’s typical view of marijuana as a “soft” drug in comparison to, say, the opiates and cocaine, Mexicans of a century ago believed it to be perhaps the “hardest” drug of them all, one that triggered sudden paroxysms and delirious violence. Continue Reading Excerpt: Home Grown, by Isaac Campos

Excerpt: Dixie Dharma, by Jeff Wilson

Pluralistic attitudes toward Buddhism can be found in many parts of the United States, but it is no accident that this unusually institutionalized example of Buddhist pluralism emerged in the South, where practitioners are relatively isolated from the American Buddhist strongholds in the North and West and must work together in order to maintain a presence on the landscape. Continue Reading Excerpt: Dixie Dharma, by Jeff Wilson

Excerpt: Chinese Mexicans, by Julia María Schiavone Camacho

The complex ties Mexicans and Chinese formed in northern Mexico during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the integration of Chinese men into local communities led to racial and cultural fusion and over time to the formation of a new cultural identity—Chinese Mexican. Racially and culturally hybrid families straddled the boundaries of identity and nation. They made alternating claims on Chineseness and Mexicanness during their quest to belong somewhere, especially as social and political uproar erupted in Mexico, the United States, and China. Continue Reading Excerpt: Chinese Mexicans, by Julia María Schiavone Camacho

Excerpt: National Insecurities, by Deirdre M. Moloney

Historically, race and gender have had the most significant impact on the creation of immigration policy and its outcomes; but those factors have always been intertwined with larger social concerns about foreign policy and national security, the economy, scientific and medical issues, morality, and attitudes about class, religion, and citizenship. Continue Reading Excerpt: National Insecurities, by Deirdre M. Moloney

Excerpt: Making Marriage Work, by Kristin Celello

By 1930 divorce had indeed become a reality of everyday American life. At the same time, however, many Americans were deeply anxious about what the escalating divorce rate meant for the family, women, and the very future of the nation. Such fears were fanned by an emergent group of experts who spent the first several decades of the twentieth century identifying a “crisis” in American marriage. Continue Reading Excerpt: Making Marriage Work, by Kristin Celello

Excerpt: Into the Pulpit, by Elizabeth H. Flowers

On August 9, 1964, Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, ordained Addie Davis to the gospel ministry—the first ordination of a woman by a Southern Baptist church. It came well ahead of many mainstream Protestant bodies and only one year after the publication of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. Continue Reading Excerpt: Into the Pulpit, by Elizabeth H. Flowers

Excerpt: The Peninsula Campaign & the Necessity of Emancipation, by Glenn David Brasher

Turning to the war, Davis confirmed reports that some slaves were armed and fighting for the South, but he assured his audience that it “was done solely on compulsion.” Having been a slave foreman, he perceptively compared their plight to that of slaves who “were often made to fill the place of whipping-master.” He maintained that the best way to prevent the South from continually taking military advantage of the enslaved community was to free the slaves so they could “go forth conquering.” Continue Reading Excerpt: The Peninsula Campaign & the Necessity of Emancipation, by Glenn David Brasher

Excerpt: Living the Revolution, by Jennifer Guglielmo

Dolly’s story is one of many that take us into the complex humanity of Italian immigrant women. She was anything but a victim. Throughout her life she embodied a full range of possibility. While her actions were at times controversial, she was decisive, savvy, and acted on her own behalf and in service of those in her community. It seems she learned this from her own mother Rosa, whose combined wisdom and ability to act was what saved her grandson’s life. Continue Reading Excerpt: Living the Revolution, by Jennifer Guglielmo

Excerpt: Sufi Narratives of Intimacy, by Saʿdiyya Shaikh

It is Cairo on a sweltering afternoon, and the faithful are streaming into a beautiful, simple mosque. The Friday (jumu‘a) prayers are about to begin. In the courtyard, people take their ablutions in the cool fountain water that provides welcome relief from the heat of the Cairene afternoon. A group of women sitting close together is silently reciting the Qur’ān. An old man, his face kissed gently by time, is sitting easily upright with eyes closed, meditating on the beautiful names of God. Two old friends, both returning to the city after years of travel, trade, and learning, are greeting each other with a tender embrace. A young man, hands raised in supplication, is softly murmuring his deepest yearnings into the hearing of the omniscient One. As the call to prayer is given, a hush falls over the crowd, with each person repairing to his or her private supplications before the sermon begins. Continue Reading Excerpt: Sufi Narratives of Intimacy, by Saʿdiyya Shaikh