History 248 Reading Guide

Slavery and the Shaping of Antebellum Southern Society

  • Anthony E. Kaye, “Neighborhoods and Solidarity in the Natchez District of Mississippi:  Rethinking the Antebellum Slave Community,” Slavery and Abolition 23.1 (2002), 1-24.  (e-reserve
  • John William Graves, “Jim Crow in Arkansas:  A Reconsideration of Urban Race Relations in the Post-Reconstruction South,” Journal of Southern History 55.3 (1989), 421-448.  JSTOR

Further reading:

  • Allan Gallay, “The Origins of Slaveholders' Paternalism:  George Whitefield, the Bryan Family, and the Great Awakening in the South,” Journal of Southern History 53.3 (1987), 369-394.  JSTOR


  • Questions for Kaye, "Neighborhoods and Solidarity," forthcoming.
  • How does Graves describe the complex reaction of urban blacks in the post-Reconstruction south to discriminatory racial restrictions?  Under which circumstances did blacks accept Jim Crow segregation?  Why?
  • How did they manipulate the ambiguity of the legacy of Reconstruction legislation to prevent a system either of total exclusion or total segregation?  What did they gain from these efforts?
  • How does Graves explain the increase in legal segregation requirements which occurred at the same time that “caste attitudes” about racial distinctions weakened among urban whites?

 Questions for the further reading:

  • Take careful note of Gallay’s review of the historiographical debate about paternalism in the antebellum south.  How does Gallay locate his argument—that, in spite of an inherent contradiction, paternalism and an orientation toward free-market commercialism developed together—within that debate?
  • What complex role did the First Great Awakening, and the reforms that it inspired, play in the evolution of antebellum slavery?  How did Anglican slaveholders react to the reform messages of the Evangelicals?  In response to this resistance, how did Evangelicals recast their message and alter their approach?
  • Did masters and slaves necessarily view their relationships (e.g. paternalism) in the same way?  How did the assumption of a “paternalistic ethos” serve southern slaveholders?