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Poor but Proud: Alabama's Poor Whites / Edition 2

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Overview


This meticulous reconstruction of the lives of poor whites in the heart of Dixie is a model study inviting new respect for a people who have suffered from widespread and continuing stereotyping.

The phrase "poor but proud" aptly describes many white Alabamians who settled the state and persisted through time. During the antebellum years, poor whites developed a distinctive culture on the periphery of the cotton belt. As herdsmen, subsistence farmers, mill workers, and miners, they flourished in a society more renowned for its two-class division of planters and slaves. The New Deal era and the advent of World War II broke the long downward spiral of poverty and afforded new opportunities for upward mobility.

Wayne Flynt addresses the life experiences of poor whites through their occupations, society, and culture. He explores their family structure, music, religion, folklore, crafts, and politics and describes their attempts to resolve their own problems through labor unions and political movements. He reveals that many of our stereotypes about poor whites are wildly exaggerated; few were derelicts or "white trash." Even though racism, emotionalism, and a penchant for violence were possible among poor whites, most bore their troubles with dignity and self-respect, working hard to eventually lift themselves out of poverty.

First published in 1989 by The University of Alabama Press, Poor but Proud was met with critical acclaim and awarded the 1990 Lillian Smith prize in nonfiction, as well as being named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book. This new paperback version will make the classic work available for general readers, bookstores, and classrooms.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Broadly conceived, deeply researched, lucidly written, multidisciplinary, and remarkably balanced in its assessments of Alabama's poor whites . . . [Poor but Proud] is a model of historical writing and methodology—highly recommended."
CHOICE
Booknews
After examining origins, Flynt (Southern history, Auburn U.) studies farmers, textile workers, coal miners, and timber workers in depth and discusses family structure, folk culture, the politics of poor whites, and their attempts to resolve problems through labor unions and political movements. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817311506
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 488
  • Sales rank: 1,379,878
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Wayne Flynt is Distinguished University Professor of History at Auburn University and author or coauthor of 11 books, including Alabama Baptists: Southern Baptists in the Heart of Dixie, Poor But Proud: Alabama's Poor Whites, Alabama: The History of a Deep South State, and Taking Christianity to China: Alabama Missionaries in the Middle Kingdom, 1850-1950. He has been recognized by numerous awards and honors, including the Lillian Smith Award for nonfiction, the Clarence Cason Nonfiction Award, the James F. Sulzby Jr. Book Award (twice), and the Alabama Library Association Award for nonfiction (twice).

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Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. 1 Origins
Ch. 1 "Unknown and Forgotten Ancestors" 3
Ch. 2 "A Poor Man's Fight" 36
Pt. 2 Occupations
Ch. 3 "Looking for Something Better": Albama's Farm Tenants 59
Ch. 4 "A Sight to Gratify Any Philanthropist": Alabama's Textile Workers 92
Ch. 5 "Dark as a Dungeon, Damp as a Dew": Alabama's Coal Miners 113
Ch. 6 "A Man That's Lumbering as Long as Me Knows a Few Things": Alabama's Timber Workers 146
Ch. 7 "Barefoot Man at the Gate": Iron Workers and Appalachian Farmers 157
Pt. 3 Society, Culture, and Politics
Ch. 8 "We Ain't Low-Down": Poor White Society 173
Ch. 9 "Out of the Dust": Poor Folks' Culture 211
Ch. 10 "The Fight Is Not Social": The Politics of Poverty 243
Pt. 4 Disruption and Integration
Ch. 11 "We Didn't Know the Difference": The Great Depression 281
Ch. 12 "The Poor You Have with You Always": The Enduring Legacy 333
App. 1 White Tenancy in Ten Selected Alabama Counties in 1880 367
App. 2 1897 Populist Voting Patterns and Agricultural Indigence in 1880 378
Notes 380
Bibliography 428
Index 453
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