African American Life in South Carolina's Upper Piedmont, 1780-1900

African American Life in South Carolina's Upper Piedmont, 1780-1900

by W. J. Megginson
     
 
Encyclopedic in scope yet intimate in detail, African American Life in South Carolina’s Upper Piedmont, 1780–1900 delves into the richness of community life in a setting where blacks were relatively few, notably disadvantaged, but remarkably cohesive. W. J. Megginson shifts the conventional study of African Americans in South Carolina from the

Overview

Encyclopedic in scope yet intimate in detail, African American Life in South Carolina’s Upper Piedmont, 1780–1900 delves into the richness of community life in a setting where blacks were relatively few, notably disadvantaged, but remarkably cohesive. W. J. Megginson shifts the conventional study of African Americans in South Carolina from the much-examined Low Country to a part of the state that offered a quite different existence for people of color. In Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties—occupying the state’s northwest corner—he finds an independent, brave, and stable subculture that persevered for more than a century in the face of political and economic inequities.

Drawing on little-used state and county public records, denominational archives, privately held research materials, and sources available only in local repositories, Megginson brings to life African American society before, during, and after the Civil War. He portrays relationships—variously cordial, patronizing, and harsh—between African Americans and whites; the lives of free people of color; the primal place of sharecropping in the post–Civil War world; and the push for education and ownership of property as the only means of overcoming economic dependency.

Megginson’s work joins a growing chorus of books that demonstrate the success of Reconstruction across the South. He underscores the fact that although the white Democrats’ "redemption" of South Carolina government in 1876 greatly curtailed the black political movement, African Americans in the upper piedmont quietly continued to assert their place in the political realm.

Through detailed vignettes of individuals and families coupled with deft analysis of overarching social contexts, African American Life in South Carolina’s Upper Piedmont, 1780–1900 adds a new dimension to our understanding of the African American experience in the South.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570036262
Publisher:
University of South Carolina Press
Publication date:
05/28/2006
Pages:
552
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Loren Schweninger
"Relying on a broad range of contemporary and statistical evidence, Megginson offers a new perspective concerning the complex nature of race relations over more than a century in an area where the black population remained in a minority and stable over several generations."
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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