Night Riders: Defending Community in the Black Patch, 1890–1915

Night Riders: Defending Community in the Black Patch, 1890–1915

by Christopher Waldrep
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822313936

ISBN-13: 9780822313939

Pub. Date: 09/23/1993

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

In the late nineteenth century, industrialization was making its way into rural America. In an agricultural region of Kentucky and Tennessee called the Black Patch for the dark tobacco grown there, big business arrived with a vengeance, eliminating competition, manipulating prices, and undermining local control. The farmers fought back. Night Riders tells

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Overview

In the late nineteenth century, industrialization was making its way into rural America. In an agricultural region of Kentucky and Tennessee called the Black Patch for the dark tobacco grown there, big business arrived with a vengeance, eliminating competition, manipulating prices, and undermining local control. The farmers fought back. Night Riders tells the story of the struggle that followed, and reveals the ambiguities and complexities of a drama that convulsed this community for over two decades.
Christopher Waldrep shows that, contrary to many accounts, these wealthy tobacco planters did not resist these new forces simply because of a nostalgia for a bygone time. Instead, many sought to become modern capitalists themselves—but on their own terms. The South's rural elite found their ability to hire and control black labor—the established racial practice of the community—threatened by the low prices offered by big companies for their raw materials. In response, farmers organized and demanded better prices for their tobacco. The tobacco companies then attempted to divide the farmers by offering higher prices to those willing to break with the others. When some cultivators succumbed, their betrayal awakened a deeply rooted vigilante tradition that called for the protection of community at all costs. Waldrep analyzes the spasm of violence that ensued in which horsemen, riding at night, destroyed tobacco barns and the warehouses where the companies stored their tobacco. But despite this fierce upheaval, the Black Patch community endured.
The most thorough treatment ever given to the Black Patch war, Night Riders illuminates a moment in history in which the traditional and the modern, the rural and the industrial, fought for the future—and past—of a community.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822313939
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
09/23/1993
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
278
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.19(h) x 0.79(d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction1
1The Black Patch5
2The Tobacco Trust19
3Farmers Respond36
4Local Problems, Federal Help52
5"Hillbillies" and "Possum Hunters"63
6Night Riders79
7Local Law102
8State Law114
9Federal Law, Local Order130
10"Shirt-Tail" Night Riders140
11"No Longer the Cockey Gentleman of Yore"161
Epilogue183
Notes189
Bibliography231
Index255

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