Ain't You Got a Right to the Tree of Life?: The People of Johns Island South Carolina-Their Faces, Their Words, and Their Songs / Edition 2

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $11.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 64%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $11.99   
  • New (6) from $18.00   
  • Used (11) from $11.99   


Ain't You Got a Right to the Tree of Life? presents an oral, musical, and photographic record of the venerable Gullah culture in modern times. With roots stretching back to their slave forebears, the Johns Islanders and their folk traditions are a vital link between black Americans and their African and Caribbean ancestors.

When first published in 1966, this book conveyed islanders' trepidation and jubilation upon the arrival of the civil rights movement to their isolated home. In this edition, which is updated through the late 1980s, the stories and songs of an older day blend with the voices of an empowered younger generation determined to fight the overdevelopment of their land by resort builders.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A detailed record of a way of life that is falling victim to the ravages of time."--Library Journal

"The authors have richly captured not only the traditional warmth, folk wisdom, and spirit of the Johns Islanders, but also the courage with which they prepare to meet the future."--New York Times Book Review

"There is no part of the United States where black people developed or preserved a richer or more authentic cultural life. . . . This is still a wonderful book that conveys some of the joy and solemnity of the old sea island life. . . . That way of life is now giving over to the well-intentioned arts of progress, but as long as their faith endures, they will still be a people."--Chronicles of Culture

"The book lets the islanders speak for themselves about their culture, where they have been and where thay are going. And it is elegant. . . . It is a must read for serious students of southern history, culture, and social change."--Knoxville News-Sentinel

Library Journal
This volume brings up to date the story of blacks on a sea island begun in the first edition published over 20 years ago ( LJ 5/15/67). The author and his wife lived on Johns Island for two years, 1963-65, collecting folk songs (many of which are included) and interviewing the inhabitants. They have continued to return since then. The result is a detailed record of a way of life that is falling victim to the ravages of time.-- MR
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820316437
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Series: Brown Thrasher Books Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 268
  • Sales rank: 1,109,852
  • Product dimensions: 8.38 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Guy and Candie Carawan are educators, writers, musicians, and collectors who are dedicated to preserving the culture of the South and fighting for the civil rights of its common people. Based at the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, for more than thirty years, the Carawans have served as consultants to the public television productions of "Eyes on the Prize" and "History of the Song 'We Shall Overcome.'" Their books include Ain't You Got a Right to the Tree of Life?, Voices from the Mountains (both Georgia), We Shall Overcome, and Freedom Is a Constant Struggle.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Been in the Storm So Long: Days Past 1
2 The Storm Is Passing Over: The Present 34
3 All Things Are Possible If You Only Believe: Meeting at Moving Star Hall 64
4 Talkin' 'Bout a Good Time: Jokey Times 94
5 Down on Me: Race Relations 118
6 Ain't You Got a Right to the Tree of Life? Progress on Johns Island 138
7 Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: The Sea Islands in 1988 173
8 We Will Overcome: Laying the Groundwork in the 1950s 197
9 Honey in the Rock: Passing on the Cultural Traditions 211
Afterword 235
Bibliography 237
Photograph Identifications and Credits 240
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)