The story of the Jones County rebellion is well known among Mississippians, and debate over whether the county actually seceded from the state during the war has smoldered for more than a century. Adding further controversy to the legend is the story of Newt Knight's interracial romance with his wartime accomplice, Rachel, a slave. From their relationship there developed a mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended, and the ambiguous racial identity of their descendants confounded the rules of segregated Mississippi well into the twentieth century.
Victoria Bynum traces the origins and legacy of the Jones County uprising from the American Revolution to the modern civil rights movement. In bridging the gap between the legendary and the real Free State of Jones, she shows how the legend--what was told, what was embellished, and what was left out--reveals a great deal about the South's transition from slavery to segregation; the racial, gender, and class politics of the period; and the contingent nature of history and memory.
In a new afterword, Bynum updates readers on recent scholarship, current issues of race and Southern heritage, and the coming movie that make this Civil War story essential reading.
The Free State of Jones film, starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Keri Russell, will be released in May 2016.
|Publisher:||The University of North Carolina Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||4 MB|
About the Author
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The Free State of Jones is clearly a story that needs to be told, and Bynum has done impressive research to bring it to a modern audience. She uses a wide range of social history sources to trace the long history not only of Newt Knight and his gang but also of their ancestors. She is interested in social structure, economic patterns, migration, religious revivals, family formation, and community relationsin short, a genealogy of the entire Jones County community before they became famous during and after the Civil War. This is an ambitious project that brings the Jones County community to life for scholars, students, and lay readers.Altina L. Waller, author of Feud: Hatfields, McCoys, and Social Change in Appalachia, 1860-1900