Passengers disembarking at the V. C. Byrd International Airport on the island of Antigua arrive at a place that bears the name of a descendant of slaves. It is also the name of slaveholders, such as William Byrd II, an eighteenth-century Virginia planter and author of History of the Dividing Line, as well as the many Byrds, black and white, who have lived and died throughout the South, among them Henry Roeland Byrd, better known as Professor Longhair, and James Byrd, the victim of a twenty-first-century lynching in Texas. A large photo of V C. Byrd smiles down on travelers making their way through customs, perhaps visiting Antigua on a honeymoon package or returning home after a visit to relatives elsewhere in the Caribbean, North America, or Europe. This is truly an international destination. Like many other sites in the Caribbean, from the ruins of sugar mills to high-rise hotels, it cites global connections that have emerged out of the plantation economy and continue to be retraced and reinvented by individual travelers, nations, and corporations.
As it references a shared history of slavery between the South and the Caribbean, this point of contact indicates other maps of “southern culture” and “American history.” After the United States gained independence from Britain, slaveholding Loyalists left North and South Carolina and Georgia for Florida and finally the Bahamas, where they established cotton plantations.1 When Union victory became clear in the Civil War, several thousand white Confederates left the South and went farther south, to Cuba and Brazil, where slavery was still legal. They became known as Gonfederados. The Confederados remain a recognizable presence in Brazil today; their descendants annually recall their southern heritage in hoopskirts and Confederate uniforms at a southern-style picnic, although many