Poverty, disease, and illiteracy had long bedevilled the US South, even before the agricultural depression of the 1920s became subsumed within the Great Depression of the 1930s. The essays collected in this volume examine a variety of responses to economic depression and poverty. They recount specific battles for civil, educational, and labor rights, and explore the challenges and alternatives to the corporate South in the post World War II agribusiness era. Scholars from both the US and Europe assess how far the South has come in the last century, what forces (from the Sears Roebuck Catalogue to the Civil Rights Movement) have been at work in its transformation, and whether the region's reincarnation as the Sunbelt has lifted the burdens of southern history. Contributors assess labour strikes and demonstrations that have not always found a place in histories of the region and revisit and reassess key southern figures from Erskine Caldwell and James Agee to Albert Gore and Lyndon Johnson.
Progress from Poverty: Education and Self-improvement in Rural Regions; Sears, Roebuck Catalog Games: Shop Window and Southern Literature; Erskine Caldwell Anticipates the New South; The War on the Home Front: James Agee and the Making of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; Progress through Rayon: The Nederlandse Kunstzijdefabriek in Hominy Valley, 1928-1940; Juneteenth: The Evolution of an Emancipation Celebration; The Never-ending Cycle of Poverty: Sarah E Wright's This Child's Gonna Live; Lyndon Johnson and Albert Gore: Southern New Dealers and the Modem South; From School Improvers to School Savers: Arlington Moderates and the Fight for Public Education, 1945-1959; The Mississippi Freedom Labour Union; From William Alexander Percy to Walker Percy: Progress or Regress?; A Sugar Cage: Poverty and Protest in Stephanie Black's H-2 Worker; Junkyard Tales: Poverty and the Southern Landscape in Janisse Ray's Ecology of a Cracker Childhood; The Southern Family Farm as Endangered Species: Possibilities for Survival in Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer; Southern Conservatives: Race and Poverty, 1980-2006.