Southern Farmers and Their Stories: Memory and Meaning in Oral History

By Melissa Walker | Go to book overview

uscripts division at Duke University’s Perkins Library, Laura Clark Brown and the staff in the manuscripts division at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library, Bonnie Ledbetter at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dwayne Cox and Martin Ollif at Auburn University, and the staff in the manuscripts division at the Library of Virginia. The staff at the National Museum of American History’s Archives Center, especially Susan Strange, Deborra Richardson, and Rueben Jackson, deserve more than the usual measure of thanks for cheerfully wrestling oversized boxes of unprocessed interview files from shelves poised high overhead. Lois Myers and Becky Shulda at Baylor’s Institute for Oral History also provided valuable assistance during my stay in Waco. The library staff at Converse College regularly performs miracles with a meager budget. Thanks to Wade Woodward, Becky Poole, Becky Dalton, Mark Collier, and especially to interlibrary loan wizard Shannon Wardlow for tracking down the misplaced, the obscure, and the just plain odd.

Thanks to the editors of journals where earlier versions of portions of this material appeared for permission to include that work in the book. Portions of chapter 1 first appeared in somewhat different form in the Oral History Review as “Culling Out the Men from the Boys: Concepts of Success in the Recollections of a Southern Farmer” (Summer 2000, © 2000 by the Oral History Association). Portions of chapter 2 appeared in different form in Agricultural History as “Narrative Themes in the Oral Histories of Farming Folk” (Spring 2000, ©2000 by the Agricultural History Society). Thanks to Rick Mulkey for permission to use a portion of his poem “Midlothian” (from Bluefield Breakdown [Georgetown, Ky.: Finishing Line Press, 2005]) and to Mike Corbin for permission to use his wonderful photographs for the cover.

Dozens of others have been supportive of this project. Those who provided valuable comments in conference sessions include Ann Short Chirhart, Bob Korstad, Gaines Foster, and audiences at the 2001 Southern Historical Association, 2004 Organization of American Historians, and 2004 Oral History Association. Thanks to Pete Daniel, Sally Deutsch, and Catherine Clinton for all kinds of help and encouragement. Pamela Grundy generously shared her book about Clay County, Alabama, and her understandings of coun-

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Southern Farmers and Their Stories: Memory and Meaning in Oral History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • New Directions in Southern History ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Three Southern Farmers Tell Their Stories 37
  • Chapter Two - Rural Southerners and the Community of Memory 77
  • Chapter Three - Memory and the Nature of Transformation 117
  • Chapter Four - Memory and the Meaning of Change 139
  • Chapter Five - The Present Shapes Stories about the Past 177
  • Conclusion 223
  • Appendix One - Demographic Data 231
  • Appendix Two - List of Interviewees 237
  • Appendix Three - Interviews 255
  • Notes 281
  • Bibliographic Essay 305
  • Index 319
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