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Dwelling Place - Clarke, Erskine - Yale University Press
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Dwelling Place

A Plantation Epic

  • Erskine Clarke
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Winner of the 2006 Bancroft Prize sponsored by Columbia University.

Winner of the 2006 Malcolm Bell Jr., and Muriel Barrow Bell Award for the best book in Georgia history published in 2005 given by the Georgia Historical Society.

Selected for the 2006 Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries list by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP)

Winner of 2008 Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia's History, presented by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board.

Won Second Honor for the 2006 Mary Lawton Hodges Book Prize in Southern Studies, awarded by the Institute of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina.

Published some thirty years ago, Robert Manson Myers’s Children of Pride: The True Story of Georgia and the Civil War won the National Book Award in history and went on to become a classic reference on America’s slaveholding South. That book presented the letters of the prominent Presbyterian minister and plantation patriarch Charles Colcock Jones (1804–1863), whose family owned more than one hundred slaves. While extensive, these letters can provide only one part of the story of the Jones family plantations in coastal Georgia. In this remarkable new book, the religious historian Erskine Clarke completes the story, offering a narrative history of four generations of the plantations’ inhabitants, white and black.

Encompassing the years 1805 to 1869, Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic describes the simultaneous but vastly different experiences of slave and slave owner. This “upstairsdownstairs” history reveals in detail how the benevolent impulses of Jones and his family became ideological supports for deep oppression, and how the slave Lizzy Jones and members of her family struggled against that oppression. Through letters, plantation and church records, court documents, slave narratives, archaeological findings, and the memory of the African-American community, Clarke brings to light the long-suppressed history of the slaves of the Jones plantations—a history inseparably bound to that of their white owners.

Erskine Clarke is professor of American religious history, Columbia Theological Seminary.

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