November is a big month for new work in southern history, with the annual meeting of the Southern Historical Association (#2019SHA), which took place in Louisville, and the publication of the final issue of Volume 85 of the Journal of Southern History. The November 2019 issue has been mailed to SHA members and is available digitally through our partnership with Project MUSE.
Bryan C. Rindfleisch, an assistant professor of history at Marquette University, contributes “Cherokee Kings and Creek Kings: Intra-Indigenous Connections and Interactions in the Eighteenth-Century American South,” a study of Native diplomatic relations that illuminates “a world hidden beyond the eyes and the records of Europeans.” The so-called Cherokee Kings and Creek Kings, appointed and exchanged as high-level community members, were responsible for all matter of diplomatic duties for their peoples, “the most important of which was preserving peace between them.” It was these “intra-Indigenous connections personified by the Cherokee Kings and the Creek Kings,” and not the relationships with Europeans, that framed how the Native peoples of the South “understood and experienced the world.”
Caroline Grego explores the social, economic, political, and environmental aftermath of a devastating hurricane in the South Carolina Lowcountry in “Black Autonomy, Red Cross Recovery, and White Backlash after the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893.” With Clara Barton and the American Red Cross spearheading the relief effort in the sea islands, Grego argues, “black sea islanders drew on hard-won traditions of landownership and autonomy to help shape the recovery effort and, through their alliance with the Red Cross, achieved meaningful successes for their communities.” At the same time, white supremacists in the Lowcountry sought to “take advantage of the hurricane’s destruction” to eradicate these traditions of independence and to subjugate the black people of the sea islands. Using the Red Cross as a “rare third-party intermediary,” black sea islanders worked to protect their recovery and autonomy from the white backlash. Grego is a visiting assistant professor at Queens University of Charlotte.
Finally, in “Anti-Japanese Sentiment, International Diplomacy, and the Texas Alien Land Law of 1921,” University of Texas Rio Grande Valley professor Brent M. S. Campney takes readers to South Texas and the border with Mexico in 1920–1921 to investigate the repercussions of white Texans’ fears of a “Japanese ‘invasion.’” Japanese immigrants to the lower Rio Grande Valley were met with threats of mob violence and legal restrictions against landownership. The uproar in Texas “stoked similar fears” and “prompted comparable responses” in neighboring states. At the same time, Campney argues, Japanese nationals in the United States, as compared with Mexican immigrants and African Americans, were somewhat protected from extreme violence due to Japan’s relative power internationally in the interwar period. “In showing how Japan could exercise its influence over American politicians in the nation’s capital and over crowds of ordinary white people in small towns in Texas, and that neighboring Mexico could not,” Campney concludes, “this essay confirms that the study of racist and mob violence in the United States is a fundamentally international story rather than a narrowly ‘American’ one.”
The November issue also contains more than 70 book reviews and a handful of shorter book notes. Finally, the editors want to call to readers’ attention the obituary in the “Historical News and Notices” section honoring the life and career of Sterling Stuckey, written by Kendra Field of Tufts University.Tweet