SUCH AS US: Southern Voices of the Thirties by Tom E. & Jerrold Hirsch--Eds. Terrill

SUCH AS US: Southern Voices of the Thirties

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A mule trader, a miner, a chimney sweep, mill hands, sharecroppers, ex-slaves, and small farmers--Southerners enduring the Depression as best they can--talk about their hard-scrabble lives, stunted dreams, and daily chores. What the photographs of Walker Evans portrayed visually, this volume, compiled under the auspices of the Federal Writers' Project in the 1930s, voices. A sequel to These Are Our Lives, published in 1939, this is oral history with the original dialects, colloquialisms, and griefs retained. Income for tenant farmers at this time averaged $312 a year and the opinion expressed by one poor white tenant farmer's wife is echoed by many others: ""We seem to move around in circles like the mule that pulls the syrup mill. We are never still but we never get anywhere."" The memories reach back to the Civil War and Emancipation, seen from both white and black perspectives (""them Yankees didn't have nothing to give us after they'd freed us""), and the present is keenly felt in the impact of New Deal programs (""Lord Bless that Old Age! Patey and me don't have to burden our children""). For a generation reared on post-WW II expectations and the industrial boom of the ""New South."" this collection should be a revelation.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1978
Publisher: Univ. of North Carolina Press