New Issue: JSH February 2020

The Journal editors announce the publication of the February 2020 issue, the first of Volume 86.

The February issue opens with the 2019 Southern Historical Association presidential address by William A. Link, the Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History at the University of Florida. In “Frank Porter Graham, Racial Gradualism, and the Dilemmas of Southern Liberalism,” Link examines the thought and career of historian, University of North Carolina president, U.S. senator, and United Nations mediator Frank Porter Graham, “perhaps the most important southern liberal of his generation.” A key component of white southern liberalism, Link argues, was racial gradualism—whereby Graham worked to undermine white supremacy but advocated for legalistic and voluntaristic reform rooted in changing white southerners’ “hearts and minds.” For Graham, as he moved from the 1930s into the 1950s and 1960s, religion remained a touchstone; “he embraced the moral power of the civil rights revolution as part of a global attempt to undo racism and colonialism.” Graham’s career, Link contends, offers important insight into how “the mid-twentieth-century southern liberal intelligentsia adapted or did not adapt” to “an African American–led civil rights movement.” Professor Link delivered this address at the SHA annual meeting (#2019SHA) in Louisville last November. Many thanks to Professor Link for his leadership of the Association in 2019.

In “Building Dutch Suriname in English Carolina: Aristocratic Networks, Native Enslavement, and Plantation Provisioning in the Seventeenth-Century Americas,” D. Andrew Johnson and Carolyn Arena bring readers into the ways the Atlantic world colonial system was made. They uncover the potential scheme of cousins and Dutch aristocrats Johan van Aerssen van Wernhout and Cornelis van Aerssen van Sommelsdijk to use a global aristocratic network, and its economic and diplomatic connections, to establish an integrated operation whereby Johan van Aerssen’s 12,000-acre land grant in 1686 from the Lords Proprietors in South Carolina would supply and support the building of the Dutch sugar colony in Suriname (where Sommelsdijk had been governor since 1683). Key to this integrated scheme was the enslavement and transshipment of Natives from Carolina to Suriname, supplying both capital and labor for the Dutch colony. Using GIS mapping, probate inventories, and other archival sources in the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, Johnson and Arena show how Europeans used “aristocratic ‘familial states’” to create provisioning pipelines and slaving routes that could “transgress imperial, spatial, and economic boundaries” and “open up new avenues for personal profit.” Native enslavement, they also argue, was not only a function of “fringe actors” on the periphery but also at the center of “aristocratic metropolitan interests.”

Billy Coleman, a postdoctoral fellow in the history department at the University of British Columbia, contributes “Confederate Music and the Politics of Treason and Disloyalty in the American Civil War.” Using newspaper reports, provost marshal records, and diaries, Coleman has compiled a data set of incidents of “Confederates being arrested, punished, or getting away with singing, selling, or publishing rebel songs in Union-controlled border towns or occupied cities.” “Music,” he argues, “showcased just how difficult it was for the Union to counter the appeal of Confederate cultural symbols without simultaneously giving ammunition to charges of Union tyranny.” “In this way,” he concludes, “the ongoing appeal of Confederate symbols, the belief that expressing an allegiance to the Confederacy is a matter of free speech and civil liberties (not treason or disloyalty), and the enduring cultural power of the Lost Cause itself all have roots in the inability of Union military regimes to combat Confederate cultural expressions without being obliged to extend them a measure of legitimacy at the same time.”

Anne Firor Scott, the celebrated historian of southern and American women’s history, passed away on February 5, 2019, at the age of ninety-seven. To honor Scott’s contributions to the field of southern history, this issue of the Journal includes a forum on Scott’s importance as a teacher and mentor and on her research legacy, featuring essays by University of Minnesota Regents Professor Emerita Sara M. Evans (“Teaching, Learning, and Living History: Anne Firor Scott”) and by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, the Peter V. and C. Vann Woodward Professor of History Emerita at Yale University (“On Anne Firor Scott’s Turf”). We are grateful for their contributions.

And, as always, the issue contains book reviews and the “Historical News and Notices” section, which announces the election of new SHA officers for 2020 and recaps the prizes awarded at the annual meeting in Louisville.

This first issue of 2020 has been mailed to SHA members and is also now available digitally through our partnership with Project MUSE.

About the Author

Bethany L. Johnson is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Southern History.