THE SOUTH SINCE RECONSTRUCTION by Thomas D. -- Ed. Clark

THE SOUTH SINCE RECONSTRUCTION

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

An extensive presentation of primary source material which, despite sundry lacunae and editorial failings, will interest serious students of American history. The 19th century ""New South"" industrialization movement comes first, with its great expectations, its mavericks and critics, e.g., there is a striking debate over the desirability of Alabama children laboring for Boston manufacturers. The collapse of ""the cotton South"" conveys the social richness and economic strictures of the period. In these sections, however, there is an unaccountable omission of the Populist movement. The remainder of the book centers on race relations, with a full rundown of crucial court cases from 1890 to 1965, manifestos and critiques by blacks, white supremacists, et al., emphasizing segregation rationales, the fortunes of the Klan, and the rise of moderate opinion. Throughout education is stressed, selections indicating clearly that desegregation pressures stemmed more from post-World War II industrialization and the need for trained labor than from black leadership initiatives of the '50's. Clark points out that politicians, for instance in North Carolina, were torn between pandering to their constituents' racist tendencies and endeavoring to meet the need for industrial training. Cultural matters are represented chiefly by Mencken's complaint that in the antebellum years the arts totaled zero. The industrialization theme is not pursued with reference to rising suburbias or trade-unionism; the problems of migrant workers and hungry tenant farmers are bypassed (although in approach the book is not intended as a whitewash); and latter-day politics, most notably the Wallace phenomenon, are excluded. But although the book cannot be taken as a full sampling of trends and topics, its documentary strengths in chosen areas commends it.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1972
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill