Archive | September, 2016

Young Men Making Their Way on the Border

How does a young man establish himself in a raw new border community?  In early 19th-century Arkansas, as in many other places, money and family connections were the key.  The men who had already risen to power by the time Thomas Stevenson Drew arrived in the territory in 1827 had come as the heirs of […]

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Talking Ourselves Into Hatred: the Arkansas Cherokees

“What is civilization?” wrote Nu-Tah-E-Tuil, or “No-Killer,” in an April, 1828, letter to the Arkansas Gazette. “Is it a practical knowledge of agriculture? Then I am willing to compare the farms and gardens of this nation with those of the mass of white population in the Territory.   The advantage will be on our side.  Does civilization consist […]

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A Frontier in Flux

Perhaps Middle Tennessee was just too civilized for Newit Drew by the time he, his wife Sally, and their seven children set out down the river in 1816.  Ordinary farmers were wearing knee breeches and red vests, and their wives might own calico petticoats, lace, ribbons,  embroidered aprons and silk parasols.  In Nashville there were […]

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Childhood on the Plantation

If you want an up-close look at the horrors of slavery, the volumes of interviews with former slaves conducted by the WPA in the 1930’s are a good place to start.  Voices from Slavery, edited by Norman Yetman, is a carefully curated collection of 100 of these interviews, revealing the extraordinary range of experiences reported […]

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