The Social Origins of the Urban South: Race, Gender, and Migration in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, 1890-1930 / Edition 1

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In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, millions of black and white southerners left farms and rural towns to try their fate in the region's cities. This transition brought about significant economic, social, and cultural changes in both urban centers and the countryside. Focusing on Nashville and its Middle Tennessee hinterland, Louis Kyriakoudes explores the impetus for this migration and illuminates its effects on regional development.

Kyriakoudes argues that increased rural-to-urban migration in the late nineteenth century grew out of older seasonal and circular migration patterns long employed by southern farm families. These mobility patterns grew more urban-oriented and more permanent as rural blacks and whites turned increasingly to urban migration in order to cope with rapid economic and social change.

The urban economy was particularly welcoming to women, offering freedom from the male authority that dominated rural life. African Americans did not find the same freedoms, however, as whites found ways to harness the forces of modernization to deny them access to economic and social opportunity. By linking urbanization, economic and social change, and popular cultural institutions, Kyriakoudes lends insight into the development of an urban, white, working-class identity that reinforced racial divisions and laid the demographic and social foundations for today's modern, urban South.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A rigorously argued and lucidly written study on an under-explored aspect of southern history: With its close attention to both the rural and the urban dimensions of this process, Kyriakoudes's well-researched and broadly interdisciplinary study represents a breakthrough in the literature in southern urban history. A very impressive debut.(Peter A. Coclanis, Unversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807854846
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 10/22/2003
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis M. Kyriakoudes is associate professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Grand Ole Opry and the Urban South 7
2 City and Hinterland 19
3 The Countryside 40
4 Turning to Urban Markets 58
5 Leaving the Countryside 73
6 Going to Nashville 96
7 Men's Work 115
8 Women's Work 136
Conclusion 157
App Middle Tennessee and Nashville Net Migration Estimates 161
Notes 167
Bibliography 201
Index 221
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