Discovering the South: One Man's Travels through a Changing America in the 1930s

Discovering the South: One Man's Travels through a Changing America in the 1930s

by Jennifer Ritterhouse


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, November 15


During the Great Depression, the American South was not merely "the nation's number one economic problem," as President Franklin Roosevelt declared. It was also a battlefield on which forces for and against social change were starting to form. For a white southern liberal like Jonathan Daniels, editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, it was a fascinating moment to explore. Attuned to culture as well as politics, Daniels knew the true South lay somewhere between Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road and Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. On May 5, 1937, he set out to find it, driving thousands of miles in his trusty Plymouth and ultimately interviewing even Mitchell herself.

In Discovering the South historian Jennifer Ritterhouse pieces together Daniels's unpublished notes from his tour along with his published writings and a wealth of archival evidence to put this one man's journey through a South in transition into a larger context. Daniels's well chosen itinerary brought him face to face with the full range of political and cultural possibilities in the South of the 1930s, from New Deal liberalism and social planning in the Tennessee Valley Authority, to Communist agitation in the Scottsboro case, to planters' and industrialists' reactionary worldview and repressive violence. The result is a lively narrative of black and white southerners fighting for and against democratic social change at the start of the nation's long civil rights era.

For more information on this book, see

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469630946
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 03/20/2017
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Ritterhouse is professor of history at George Mason University and the author of Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

In this impressive work of original scholarship, Jennifer Ritterhouse uses Jonathan Daniels's 1937 tour of the South as guide to better understanding the nation's struggle with the region. The wealth of subjects discussed and the ease with which Ritterhouse presents the era's key events and personalities in well-crafted vignettes is inspired.—Glenn T. Eskew, Georgia State University

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews