Ethnography

Ethnography:
    North America
    South Central

Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas

For books on the culture of the American South or the general south and slavery, the civil war etc. see the Southeastern page

ARKANSAS

 

Stories of survival : Arkansas farmers during the Great Depression / William David Downs.

976.7052 STORIES 2011

Through dozens of in-depth interviews representing all sections of the state, farm families recall their best times, their worst times, and day-to-day experiences such as chores, washing, bathing, clothes making, medical care, home remedies, spiritual life, courtship and marriage, and school experiences. Their stories reveal how ordinary men and women, frequently living in abject poverty, endured cataclysmic natural disasters and economic collapse with extraordinary courage, faith, resourcefulness, and a good sense of humor.

Things you need to hear : collected memories of growing up in Arkansas, 1890/1980 / Margaret Jones Bolsterli.

976.7052 BOLSTER 2012

Things You Need to Hear gathers memories of Arkansans from all over the state with widely different backgrounds. In their own words, these people tell of the things they did growing up in the early twentieth century to get an education, what they ate, how they managed to get by during difficult times, how they amused themselves and earned a living, and much more. Some of Margaret Bolsterli's "informants," as she calls them, are famous (Johnny Cash, Maya Angelou, Levon Helm, Joycelyn Elders), but many more are not. Their vivid personal stories have been taken from published works and from original interviews conducted by Bolsterli. All together, these tales preserve memories of ways of life that are compelling, entertaining, and certainly well worth remembering.

KENTUCKY

 

Daniel Boone : the life and legend of an American pioneer / John Mack Faragher.

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Drawing from popular narrative, the public record, scraps of documentation from Boone's own hand, and a treasure of reminiscence gathered by nineteenth-century antiquarians, Faragher uses the methods of new social history to create a portrait of the man and the times he helped shape. Blending themes from a much vitalized Western and frontier history with the words and ideas of ordinary people, Faragher has produced a book that will stand as the definitive life of Daniel Boone for decades to come, and one that illuminates the frontier world of Boone like no other.

LOUISIANA

 

MISSISSIPPI

 

Sons of Mississippi : a story of race and its legacy / Paul Hendrickson

976.2063 HENDRIC 2004

More than thirty years later, award-winning journalist and author Paul Hendrickson sets out to discover who these men were, what happened to them after the photograph was taken, and how racist attitudes shaped the way they lived their lives. But his ultimate focus is on their children and grandchildren, and how the prejudice bequeathed by the fathers was transformed, or remained untouched, in the sons. Sons of Mississippi is a scalding yet redemptive work of social history, a book of eloquence and subtlely that tracks the movement of racism across three generations and bears witness to its ravages among both black and white Americans. More than thirty years later, award-winning journalist and author Paul Hendrickson sets out to discover who these men were, what happened to them after the photograph was taken, and how racist attitudes shaped the way they lived their lives. But his ultimate focus is on their children and grandchildren, and how the prejudice bequeathed by the fathers was transformed, or remained untouched, in the sons.  

The State of Jones / Sally Jenkins.

973.7 JENKINS 200

In Jones County, Mississippi, a farmer named Newton Knight led his neighbors, white and black alike, in an insurrection against the Confederacy at the height of the Civil War. Knight's life story mirrors the little-known story of class struggle in the South--and it shatters the image of the Confederacy as a unified front against the Union. 

Trials of the earth : the true story of a pioneer woman / Mary Hamilton.

976.2406 HAMILTON 2016

"Near the end of her life, Mary Mann Hamilton (1866 - c.1936) was encouraged to record her experiences as a female pioneer. The result is the only known firsthand account of a remarkable woman thrust into the center of taming the American South-surviving floods, tornadoes, and fires; facing bears, panthers, and snakes; managing a boardinghouse in Arkansas that was home to an eccentric group of settlers; and running a logging camp in Mississippi that blazed a trail for development in the Mississippi Delta. All this she tackled--and diligently wrote about in secrecy, in a diary that not even her family knew she kept--while caring for her children, several of whom didn't survive the perils of pioneer life. The extreme hard work and tragedy Hamilton faced are eclipsed only by her emotional and physical strength; her unwavering faith in her husband, Frank, a mysterious Englishman; and her tenacious sense of adventure."

TEXAS

Perilous voyages : Czech and English immigrants to Texas in the 1870s / Lawrence H. Konecny.

976.4061 PERILOU 2004

"Authors Lawrence H. Konecny and Clinton Machann take readers beyond the bare facts to the human stories of immigration from the point of view of English and Czech immigrants."  

The white scourge : Mexicans, Blacks, and poor whites in Texas cotton culture / Neil Foley.

976.406 FOLEY 1997

"Authors Lawrence H. Konecny and Clinton Machann​In Texas, which by 1890 had become the nation's leading cotton-producing state, the presence of Mexican sharecroppers and farm workers complicated the black-white dyad that shaped rural labor relations in the South. With the transformation of agrarian society into corporate agribusiness, white racial identity began to fracture along class lines, further complicating categories of identity. Foley explores the "fringe of whiteness," an ethno-racial borderlands comprising Mexicans, African Americans, and poor whites, to trace shifting ideologies and power relations. By showing how many different ethnic groups are defined in relation to "whiteness," Foley redefines white racial identity as not simply a pinnacle of status but the complex racial, social, and economic matrix in which power and privilege are shared.sh and Czech immigrants."  

OKLAHOMA

Fruit fields in my blood: Okie migrants in the west / Toby F. Sonneman.

331.544 SONNEM 1992

College-educated spouses Sonneman and Steigmeyer rejected conventional careers to work for years as itinerant fruit pickers, beginning in the early 1970s. During that time, Sonneman's romantic notion of migrant life waned, but her respect for pickers' dignity and independence lasted, and this valuable book is the result. She terms "Okies" those pickers whose parents left Oklahoma and nearby states to follow the crops in the 1930s; she first relates that history. Though she sometimes weaves in her personal experiences awkwardly, Sonneman offers detailed accounts of migrants' lives, including their search for work and the rich but not-so-private sense of community in their trailer camps. Bosses still hold the cards, since legal and illegal immigrants will work for lower wages and ornery Okies resist organizing themselves into groups. Sonneman does not ignore the roles of sexism and fundamentalist religion, but she also defends migrants: her experiences lead her to argue against child labor laws with her liberal friends, and to explain how migrants feel stigmatized by shopkeepers and police. Steigmeyer's black-and-white photographs honestly and intimately portray the rugged existence of these people who self-mockingly call themselves "fruit tramps." 

Nations remembered : an oral history of the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles in Oklahoma, 1865-1907 / Theda Perdu.e

970.475 NATIONS 1993

The five largest southeastern Indian groups-the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles-were forced to emigrate west to the Indian territory (now Oklahoma) in the 1830s. Here, from WPA interviews are those Indians' own stories of the troubled years between the Civil War and Oklahoma statehood-a period of extraordinary turmoil.

Oklahoma tough : my father, king of the Tulsa bootleggers / Ron Padgett

Oklahoma tough : my father, king of the Tulsa bootleggers Ron Padgett

Biography of a colorful bootlegger who operated out of Tulsa as a member of the Dixie Mafia from the 1960s into the 1980s. 

Red dirt : growing up Okie / Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

976.6053 DUNBAR 1997

Drawing deeply on the stories, often biblical parables, she heard in her early years, Dunbar-Ortiz brings to life one of the least understood groups in US history: poor rural whites. They are the backbone of the national campaigns against abortion and for prayer in school. They are also the soldiers of the militia movement and the members of a group who will come to trial this spring for the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Red Dirt takes us into the minds of these people, allowing us to feel both their grievous sense of loss and their battered but still-clung-to faith.

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