Cover: Becoming Free in the Cotton South, from Harvard University PressCover: Becoming Free in the Cotton South in PAPERBACK

Becoming Free in the Cotton South

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$23.50 • £18.95 • €21.00

ISBN 9780674045651

Publication Date: 04/10/2010

Academic Trade

384 pages

1 map

World

Becoming Free in the Cotton South challenges our most basic ideas about slavery and freedom in America. Instead of seeing emancipation as the beginning or the ending of the story, as most histories do, Susan Eva O’Donovan explores the perilous transition between these two conditions, offering a unique vision of both the enormous changes and the profound continuities in black life before and after the Civil War.

This boldly argued work focuses on a small place—the southwest corner of Georgia—in order to explicate a big question: how did black men and black women’s experiences in slavery shape their lives in freedom? The reality of slavery’s demise is harsh: in this land where cotton was king, the promise of Reconstruction passed quickly, even as radicalism crested and swept the rest of the South. Ultimately, the lives former slaves made for themselves were conditioned and often constrained by what they had endured in bondage. O’Donovan’s significant scholarship does not diminish the heroic efforts of black Americans to make their world anew; rather, it offers troubling but necessary insight into the astounding challenges they faced.

Becoming Free in the Cotton South is a moving and intimate narrative, drawing upon a multiplicity of sources and individual stories to provide new understanding of the forces that shaped both slavery and freedom, and of the generation of African Americans who tackled the passage that lay between.

Awards & Accolades

  • 2009 Outstanding Archives Award, Research Using the Holdings of an Archive Category, Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board
Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom, by James Danckert and John D. Eastwood, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket, Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings about Technology, from the Telegraph to Twitter, by Luke Fernandez and Susan J. Matt, from Harvard University Press

Technology, Biology, Chronology

Fears and anxieties about the latest technologies are nothing new, say Luke Fernandez and Susan J. Matt, authors of Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings about Technology, from the Telegraph to Twitter. But neither is the fact that they often provide new ways for us to connect and socialize. Mark Twain is rumored to have said “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” Of late, much press has been spent on uncovering those rhymes, focusing on the similarities between the current epidemic and past ones. These stories underscore the lesson that progress hasn't allowed us to escape the suffering of earlier