The Star Creek Papers

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Overview


The Star Creek Papers is the never-before-published account of the complex realities of race relations in the rural South in the 1930s.

When Horace and Julia Bond moved to Louisiana in 1934, they entered a world where the legacy of slavery was miscegenation, lingering paternalism, and deadly racism. The Bonds were a young, well-educated and idealistic African American couple working for the Rosenwald Fund, a trust established by a northern philanthropist to build schools in rural areas. They were part of the "Explorer Project" sent to investigate the progress of the school in the Star Creek district of Washington Parish. Their report, which decried the teachers' lack of experience, the poor quality of the coursework, and the students' chronic absenteeism, was based on their private journal, "The Star Creek Diary," a shrewdly observed, sharply etched, and affectionate portrait of a rural black community.

Horace Bond was moved to write a second document, "Forty Acres and a Mule," a history of a black farming family, after Jerome Wilson was lynched in 1935. The Wilsons were thrifty landowners whom Bond knew and respected; he intended to turn their story into a book, but the chronicle remained unfinished at his death. These important primary documents were rediscovered by civil rights scholar Adam Fairclough, who edited them with Julia Bond's support.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An accessible and poignant work which will attract interest of anyone interested in the evolution of the black family and rural race relations."--Fitzhugh Brundage, author of Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880–1930
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1934, Horace Mann Bond was not yet a renowned educator and author of Negro Education in Alabama: A Study in Cotton and Steel. While studying the operation of the local black schools in a small farming community in southeastern Louisiana, he and his wife, Julia, lived in a cabin without electricity or running waterconditions that were no different from those of most people living in the rural South in the 1930s. The couple made friends with their neighbors, and Horace recorded their observations and experiences in the diary that is the basis for this collection of short writings. Bond's interest in black family history, and his curiosity about why so many local black farmers owned their own land, led him to construct a "Portrait of Washington Parrish" through the complex, interconnected genealogies of black and white families. In "The Lynching" and "Forty Acres and a Mule," Horace Bond focused on the family of John Wilson, whose son had been hastily convicted of murder in a bizarre shooting incident by a jury of white men. The young man was subsequently dragged from the jail and beaten to death. Although Horace Bond intended to write a history of the Wilson family from their slave origins to the lynching of Jerome Wilson, he never completed his book. If this collection is fragmentary, it once again proves Horace Bond, who died in 1972, was a shrewd observer of race relations and black family life. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Library Journal
In 1934, Fisk University professor Bond and his wife, Julia, lived briefly in rural Washington Parish (county) located in southeastern Louisiana. They moved there to study the operation of local black schools and to report their findings to the Rosenwald Fund, which assisted in the development of black public education in the South. This slim volume contains the Bonds' descriptions of and commentaries on the black farm families who were their neighbors and friends during their short stay and provides a perceptive examination of the social and kinship ties that bound these neighboring families together. The book concludes with a tragic shooting and lynching that splintered one of the most cohesive of these families. The Bonds' account is edited by historian Adam Fairclough (Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Movement in Louisiana 1915-1972, LJ 5/1/95), and the foreword is written by the Bonds' son, civil rights and political leader Julian Bond. Recommended for all Southern and Louisiana history collections. (Foreword and photographs not seen.)Thomas H. Ferrell, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820319049
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Series: Brown Thrasher Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Horace Mann Bond (1904-1972) was a historian, teacher, university administrator, and the author of six scholarly books, including the prize-winning Negro Education in Alabama: A Study in Cotton and Steel. His widow, Julia W. Bond, makes her home in Atlanta. Adam Fairclough is the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Chair of History and Culture of the United States at Leiden University. His books include Martin Luther King, Jr., To Redeem the Soul of America, Teaching Equality, Race and Democracy, and The Star Creek Papers (all available from Georgia).
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Table of Contents


Foreword vii
Julian Bond
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction xvii
Genealogical Charts xxxi

Portrait of Washington Parish 1
Star Creek Diary 17
The Lynching 75
Forty Acres and a Mule 85
Epilogue 131
Notes 137
Bibliography 151
Index 155

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