Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 2007 Oral History Association Book Award Finalist, 2008 National Council on Public History Book Award Using oral histories with African American activists and community leaders, Kim Lacy Rogers explores the civil rights movement in several Mississippi communities in the context of the region's history of white supremacy, racial oppression, and African American cultural vitality. Terrorism, black poverty, and economic exploitation led to a condition of collective trauma and social suffering for thousands of black Deltans in the twentieth century. This work reveals the impact of that oppression, and of African American traditions of community service and leadership in the lives of women and men who became activists. It also examines the disillusionment and anger that many Delta leaders feel about the changes that took place during the post-movement years.
"A rich study of African American lives and struggles as seen through the eyes of people who lived through the terror of white supremacy, the hopes for a better future raised by the Civil Rights Movement, the temporary empowerment that came through participation in antipoverty initiatives such as Head Start, and the disillusionment that resulted when black elected officials proved unable (or unwilling) to address effectively the region's social and economic problems."--The Journal of African American History
"Kim Lacy Rogers has been a moving force in the US and international oral history movement for years, and her work on the history and memory of the Civil Rights movement has gained her universal respect. This book is a work of first-class scholarship, deep sensitivity, clear and effective writing: oral history and social conscience at its best. It will be essential reading for a long time."--Alessandro Portelli, prize-winning author of The Order Has Been Carried Out
"Kim Lacy Rogers makes a major contribution to understanding social suffering. She uses narrative as a hinge connecting the personal to the social, telling a story that is moving, dark, and unforgettable."--Arthur W. Frank, author of The Wounded Storyteller
and The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine, and How to Live
Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary.
"Life and Death in the Delta is a stunning collective memoir of African American life in the twentieth century Mississippi Delta. Through oral histories, Kim Lacy Rogers provides us with an important account of the struggles and triumphs of grassroots activists and of the forces that shaped their lives. These are stories of suffering and resilience in the face of overwhelming poverty, illness, terror, and oppression, and they remind us of the sacrifice and courage that produced the civil rights movement. But these tales of sorrow and uplift also caution against an overly triumphal narrative of the civil rights struggle, providing us with a sobering reminder of how much more remains to be done in the struggle for freedom in the USA."--Nan Elizabeth Woodruff, author of American Congo: The African American
Terrorism, black poverty, and economic exploitation produced a condition of collective trauma and social suffering for thousands of black Deltans in the Twentieth Century. Based on oral histories with African American activists and community leaders, this work reveals the impact of that oppression.
About the Author
Kim Lacy Rogers is Professor of History and American Studies, Dickinson College. She is author of Righteous Lives: Narratives of the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Delta Oral History Project and the Stories of Lives * Part I: Survival Among Sharecroppers: Sunflower County
* Conditions of Life and Death * Change and Movement Among the Poor * Part II: A Margin of Independence: Land Ownership in Bolivar County
* Achievement in Bolivar County and the Struggle for Education * World War II and the Era of Massive Resistance * The Movement and Head Start * Part III: The Transformative Path of Service: Coahoma County