NATIVES AND NEWCOMERS by George Brown Tindall


Ethnic Southerners and Southern Ethnics
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 A compelling argument that over its history the South changed from a polyglot society into two homogeneous ones divided by race, but that in recent decades the region has been rapidly acquiring a new ethnic diversity. Tindall (History/Univ. of North Carolina; America, 1984) develops this thesis in three short pieces drawn from his 1992 Averitt lectures at Georgia Southern University. In the first, ``Natives and Newcomers,'' Tindall gives an overview of the surprisingly diverse social composition of the South from the time of the first European settlers through modern times. The pervasive presence of African-Americans and Indians, Scotch-Irish settlers, English colonists, Louisiana Cajuns, and German Protestants seeking religious freedom gave the 18th-century South, in Tindall's view, ``the most polyglot population in the English colonies.'' After the Revolution, Indians were expelled from the Southeastern states and far fewer new immigrants settled in the South than in the North. In ``Ethnic Southerners,'' Tindall traces the growth of a distinctive southern ethnicity from the colonial period to the 20th century. The regional identity of southern people, he asserts, grew both out of the ethnic traditions they brought with them and out of perceived contrasts with other regions of the country in lifestyle, custom, and outlook. In ``Southern Ethnics,'' Tindall looks at the modern phenomenon of foreign immigration to the South. He points out that, in recent decades, more people have moved into the region than have moved out: from Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the northern states. Tindall anticipates that the nativism, xenophobia, and political tension that met earlier waves of immigration to the US may occur in the modern South, but that the diverse cultures of the new southern ethnics will ultimately enrich their region. Tindall eruditely shatters stereotypes about the South, drawing a picture of a region that is at once distinctive and much like the rest of the US in its diversity.

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 1995
ISBN: 0-8203-1655-5
Page count: 79pp
Publisher: Univ. of Georgia
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1994