New issue: JSH May 2019

A word cloud created using title entries in the annual bibliography “Southern History in Periodicals, 2018”

The editorial office announces the publication of the May 2019 issue of the Journal of Southern History (Volume 85, Number 2). The issue has been mailed to SHA members and is available digitally through our partnership with Project MUSE.

Megan L. Bever, an assistant professor of history at Missouri Southern State University, opens the issue with “Prohibition, Sacrifice, and Morality in the Confederate States, 1861–1865” an exploration of the growing prohibitionist sentiment among Confederates at the state level during the Civil War. Although antebellum white southerners had not been consistently supportive of temperance reform, during the war military necessity compelled both a moral and a practical case for prohibition. Drunken soldiers corrupted the Confederate military cause, and distilling wasted foodstuffs needed to feed the army and civilian populations. “Drinking and distilling became societal problems within the context of war,” Bever argues, “because they threatened the stability and moral well-being (or the public virtue) of the entire community. To save resources and to promote virtue among their citizens . . . southern states turned to legislation, seeking to compel morality through law.” As such, Bever concludes, the prohibition debate among Confederates lends support to the contention “that the war necessitated an expansion and modernization of the Confederate state.”

In “Sleuthing for Mr. Crow: Detective William Baldwin and the Business of White Supremacy,” T. R. C. Hutton, a senior lecturer in the history department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, examines the relationship between “southern racialized capitalism” and Jim Crow between Reconstruction and World War I. Operating at the nexus of the coal industry, the railroads, the daily press, labor migration, and urbanization, private security firms like the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency “helped convey Virginia from the unruly mob rule of the Gilded Age to the codified, business-friendly Jim Crow system of the Progressive era.” From patrolling the railways as Norfolk and Western railroad detectives to policing labor action in the West Virginia mine wars, firms like William Baldwin’s were “examples of the New South service economy” and helped institute “the profitability and professionalization of white supremacy, as well as a burgeoning carceral enterprise.”

The May 2019 issue also features “Race and Law from the Bottom Up in the Nineteenth-Century South,” a review essay by Middle Tennessee State University professor Pippa Holloway that examines new books by Kelly M. Kennington, Melissa Milewski, Anne Twitty, and Kimberly M. Welch. These books, Holloway argues, “share a principal goal, which is to prove that African Americans were active participants in southern legal culture and not simply passive targets of the law’s disciplinary status,” and “invite historians to continue to consider ways that the law influences all kinds of relationships and social structures, the extent to which the law motivated certain behaviors ordinarily seen as disconnected from the law, and the complex relationships between legal and social status.”

Mainstays of the May issue include the annual bibliography of articles in the field of southern history published in the previous year and the annual report of the Southern Historical Association by SHA secretary-treasurer Stephen Berry.

In the “Historical News and Notices” section, readers will find information about the nominees for SHA officers and the Call for Papers for the 2020 SHA meeting in Memphis. In addition, the editors would like to call readers’ attention to the obituaries recorded in the May issue for historians Ira Berlin, Jo Ann (Jody) Carrigan, Ronald Hoffman, Jan Ellen Lewis, and Willie Lee Rose. We thank Joseph P. Reidy, Constance B. Schulz, Andrew M. Schocket, Peter S. Onuf, and Jane Turner Censer and Robert Forster for sharing these remembrances.

About the Author

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