The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South / Edition 1

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In this classic portrait of Jews in the South, Eli N. Evans takes readers inside the nexus of southern and Jewish histories, from the earliest immigrants to the present day. Evoking the rhythms and heartbeat of Jewish life in the Bible belt, Evans weaves together chapters of recollections from his youth and early years in North Carolina with chapters that explore the experiences of Jews in many cities and small towns across the South. He presents the stories of communities, individuals, and events in this quintessential American landscape that reveal the deeply intertwined strands of what he calls a unique "Southern Jewish consciousness."

First published in 1973 and updated in 1997, The Provincials was the first book to take readers on a journey into the soul of the Jewish South, using autobiography, storytelling, and interpretive history to create a complete portrait of Jewish contributions to the history of the region. No other book on this subject combines elements of memoir and history in such a compelling way. This new edition includes a gallery of more than two dozen family and historical photographs as well as a new introduction by the author.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Such a fine and valuable book—thoughtful, informative, revealing—a reminiscence and a history that works on both counts. (Jonathan Yardley, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist)

The Provincials remains the seminal indispensable book about the Jewish experience in the South. . . . One of a kind, a masterpiece. (Pat Conroy)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807856239
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Eli N. Evans was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Yale Law School. He is author of Judah P. Benjamin: The Jewish Confederate and The Lonely Days Were Sundays: Reflections of a Jewish Southerner. He is president emeritus of the Charles H. Revson Foundation and lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the 1997 Edition
The Beginning
I Tobacco Town Jews
1 An Inconsequential Town 3
2 Growing Up in the Family Store 20
II The Immigrants
3 To Be an American 37
4 Tobias: Nine Generations in Charleston 48
5 The Jewish Confederates Face Reconstruction 59
6 The Lonely Days Were Sundays 70
III The Struggle Against Conformity
7 Kosher Grits 89
8 Zionism in the South 96
9 "Miz Evans" and Mister Mayor 109
10 "Jesus Loves Me" 117
IV Coming of Age
11 Mister Jew 139
12 Intermarriage Southern Style 160
13 Big Wheel on Campus 168
V Discrimination
14 Anti-Semitism in the South 187
15 New Orleans - the Velvet Rut 198
16 The Burned-Out Cross of the Klan 216
17 The Jewish Mayor of Atlanta 225
VI Jews and Blacks
18 The Maids and Black Jesus 255
19 Israelites and the Ex-Slaves 263
20 Southern Jews in Crisis 274
21 The Changing Provincials (Epilogue to the 1973 Edition) 291
22 Atlanta 2000 294
23 The Call from Home 325
24 The Nachamson Homecoming Reunion 337
25 Farewell, Mister Mayor 345
26 Looking Ahead 362
App. A Jews Elected to Office in the South, 1800-1920 365
App. B Jews Elected to Public Office in the South, 1945-1973 368
App. C Shifts in Jewish Population in Southern States, 1937-1995 372
Acknowledgments 373
Index 376
About the Author 392
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