Such As Us Southern Voices of the Thirties

ISBN-10: 0807841919
ISBN-13: 9780807841914
Edition: 1987 (Reprint)
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Description: When These Are Our Lives was first published by The University of North Carolina Press in 1939, the late Charles A. Beard hailed it as "literature more powerful than anything I have read in fiction, not excluding Zola's most vehement passages." A  More...

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Book details

List price: $35.00
Copyright year: 1987
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 8/24/1987
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 328
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.144
Language: English

When These Are Our Lives was first published by The University of North Carolina Press in 1939, the late Charles A. Beard hailed it as "literature more powerful than anything I have read in fiction, not excluding Zola's most vehement passages." A very early experiment in the publication of oral history, it consisted of thirty-five life histories of sharecroppers, farmers, mill workers, townspeople, and the unemployed of the Southeast, selected from over a thousand such histories collected by the Federal Writers' Project in the 1930s. It was the Press' intention to publish several more volumes from the material that had been amassed, but World War II forced the cancellation of those plans. The editors of Such As Us have taken up the abandoned task and have produced a volume every bit as rich as its predecessor. From the perspective of forty years we can now read these stories as vivid chapters in the social history of the South, reaching as far back as slavery times and as far forward as the eve of World War II. To the modern reader the people speaking in this book may at first seem quaint, like curious from a past time and a different world. They worked on farms, in mills, oil fields, coal mines, and other people's homes. Their life histories provide a view of the world they saw, experienced, and helped to create. They tell about family life, religion, sex roles, being poor, and getting old, and they describe how major eventsthe Civil War, Emancipation, World War I, the Great Depression, and the New Dealaffected them. These accounts offer the reader the chance to experience vicariously the world these people lived into know, for example, the wife of the tenant farmer who commented, "We seem to move around in circles like the mule that pulls the syrup mill. We are never still, but we never get anywhere." Such as Us is a contribution to the history of anonymous Americans. Like the former-slave narratives, which have become an important primary source for the historian, these life histories will enable the reader to reexamine traditional views and address new questions about the South. By providing an introduction and historical interchapters that place the histories in perspective, the editors set these histories within the cultural context of the 1930s and illustrate the relationship between private lives and public events. These life histories allow individuals to reach across time and share their lives with us. Although the people who speak in Such As Us are representatives of social types and classes, they are also unique individualsa paradoxical truth their life histories affirm.

Jerrold Hirsch is associate professor of history at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Notes
Talking Is My Life
Like a Shadow That Declineth
I'se Still Traveling'Cause I Got Faith in God
No Stick-Legseaboard, North Carolina, 1939
Farms And Farmers
Horse Trader
Ain't Got No Screens
Jim Jeffcoat
The Landlord Has His Troubles
Jackson Bullitta Small Landlord
In Abraham's Bosom
Aaron and Mary Matthews
'Backer Barning
Tobacco's in My Blood
Day on the Farm
Just a plain Two-Horse Farm
Towns, Millsand Scattered places
From the Mountains Faring
Green Fields Far Away
A Day on Factory Hill
A Retired Mill Worker
There's Always a Judas
When a Man Believes
No Union for Megreensboro, North Carolina, 1938 or 1939
The Rig-Builder Somewhere In Oklahoma, 1938 or 1939
A Woman's Like a Dumb Animal
My Wpa Mannew Orleans, Louisiana, 1938 or 1939
Chimney Sweeper's Holiday
White Over Blackanxious Times . . An Uncertain Future
Yes, Lord, I'se Done Triedto Serve You Faithful
Tech 'Er Off, Charlie
Sam Sets It Down
Appendixes Bibliographical Essay
Appendixes
Bibliographical Essay
Index
Credits for photographs

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