In early March of 2020, Americans watched with uncertain terror as the “novel coronavirus” pandemic unfolded in the coastal cities of Seattle and Boston as well as around the world. No one in the heartland state of Ohio had been infected—as far as we knew, given the scarcity of tests. One week later, Ohio announced its first confirmed cases. Just one year later, the state had over a million cases and 18,000 Ohioans had died. What happened in the course of that first pandemic year is not only a story of a public health disaster, but also a story of social disparities and moral dilemmas, of lives and livelihoods turned upside down, and of institutions and safety nets stretched to their limits.
This volume tells the human story of COVID in Ohio, America’s “bellwether” state. Scholars and practitioners examine the pandemic response from multiple angles, and contributors from numerous walks of life offer moving first-person reflections. Two themes emerge again and again: how the pandemic revealed a deep tension between individual autonomy and the collective good, and how it exacerbated social inequalities. When COVID hit Ohio, it found a state divided along social, economic, and political lines. State leaders and health care institutions struggled to react to the growing emergency without much help from the federal government. Meanwhile, individuals and families were put under enormous stress. Many already marginalized and underserved communities were left behind.
Chapters address such varied topics as mask mandates, ableism, prisons, food insecurity, access to reproductive health care, and the need for more Black doctors. The book concludes with an interview with Dr. Amy Acton, the state’s top public health official at the time COVID hit Ohio. Collectively, the volume captures the devastating impact of the pandemic, both in the public discord it has unearthed and in the unfair burdens it has placed on the groups least equipped to bear them.
Emma Bell Miles (1879–1919) was a gifted writer, poet, naturalist, and artist with a keen perspective on Appalachian life and culture. She and her husband Frank lived on Walden’s Ridge in southeast Tennessee, where they struggled to raise a family in the difficult mountain environment. Between 1908 and 1918, Miles kept a series of journals in which she recorded in beautiful and haunting prose the natural wonders and local customs of Walden’s Ridge. Jobs were scarce, however, and as the family’s financial situation deteriorated, Miles began to sell literary works and paintings to make ends meet. Her short stories appeared in national magazines such as Harper’s Monthly and Lippincott’s, and in 1905 she published Spirit of the Mountains, a nonfiction book about southern Appalachia. After the death of her three-year-old son from scarlet fever in 1913, the journals took a more somber turn as Miles documented the difficulties of mountain life, the plight of women in rural communities, the effect of disparities of class and wealth, and her own struggle with tuberculosis.
Previously examined only by a handful of scholars, the journals contain both poignant and incisive accounts of nature and a woman’s perspective on love and marriage, death customs, child raising, medical care, and subsistence on the land in southern Appalachia in the early twentieth century. With a foreword by Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt, this edited selection of Emma Bell Miles’s journals is illustrated with examples of her painting.
Making an obvious reference to Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America, this volume proves that the veins of the postcolonial remain open, having prolonged and reproduced themselves over the course of decades. "The Open Veins of the Postcolonial" traces the emergence of epistemological categories and offers thematic analyses of racial and ethnic differences, as well as those arising from sociability, representations, and sociopolitical and cultural dynamics. This volume likewise unmasks the naturalizing discourse of the ideology of subalternity and institutionalized discrimination through various "beliefs" and tacit practices; discusses how to articulate the place of belonging with ethno-racial identity in the twenty-first century; and contributes to the broad discussion initiated by the United Nations' declaration of the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015–2024 (Resolution 68/237).
In Opportunity Lost, Marcus D. Pohlmann examines the troubling issue of why Memphis city school students are underperforming at alarming rates. His provocative interdisciplinary analysis, combining both history and social science, examines the events before and after desegregation, compares a city school to an affluent suburban school to pinpoint imbalances, and offers critical assessments of various educational reforms.
Employing a rich trove of data to demonstrate the realities of racial and economic inequality, Pohlmann underscores the difficulties that plague the urban schools and their students-problems that persist despite the fact that the city schools often have more resource advantages than the county schools: better student-to-teacher ratios, more teachers with advanced degrees, and even greater spending on each student. Pohlmann demonstrates that post-industrial economic shifts and continuing racial exclusion have resulted in a predominance of low-income students at these schools. This economic disadvantage has had a lasting impact on performance among students at all grade levels and has not been reversed simply by increasing resources.
In addition to his analysis of the problems, Pohlmann lays out educational reforms that run the gamut from early intervention and parental involvement to increasing class size and teacher compensation, improving time utilization, and more. Pohlmann's illuminating and original study has wide application for a problem that bedevils inner-city children everywhere and prevents the promise of equality from reaching all of our nation's citizens.
Marcus D. Pohlmann is professor of political science at Rhodes College. He is the author of Governing the Postindustrial City; coauthor, with Michael P. Kirby, of Racial Politics at the Crossroads: Memphis Elects W. W. Herenton; and editor of the six-volume African American Political Thought.
Since the birth of the nation, we have turned to stories about the American South to narrate the rapid ascendency of the United States on the world stage. The idea of a cohesive South, different from yet integral to the United States, arose with the very formation of the nation itself. Its semitropical climate, plantation production, and heterogeneous population once defined the New World from the perspective of Europe. By founding U.S. literature through opposition to the South, writers boldly asserted their nation to stand apart from the imperial world order.
Our South tracks the nation/South juxtaposition in U.S. literature from the founding to the turn of the twentieth century, through genres including travel writing, gothic and romance novels, geography textbooks, transcendentalist prose, and abolitionist address. Even as the southern states became peripheral to U.S. politics and economy, Jennifer Rae Greeson demonstrates that in literature the South remained central to the expanding and evolving idea of the nation.
Claiming the South as our deviant and recalcitrant “other,” Americans have projected an anti-imperial imperative of domesticating and civilizing, administering and integrating underdeveloped regions both within our borders and beyond. Our South has been a primal site for thinking about geography and power in the United States.
Otto Ernest Rayburn University of Arkansas Press, 2021 Library of Congress F417.O9R3 2021 | Dewey Decimal 917.67104
Published just days before America’s entry into World War II, Ozark Country is Otto Ernest Rayburn’s love letter to his adopted region. One of several chronicles of the Ozarks that garnered national attention during the Depression and war years, when many Americans craved stories about people and places seemingly untouched by the difficulties of the times, Rayburn’s colorful tour takes readers from the fictional village of Woodville into the backcountry of a region teeming with storytellers, ballad singers, superstitions, and home remedies.
Rayburn’s tales—fantastical, fun, and unapologetically romantic—portray a world that had already nearly disappeared by the time they were written. Yet Rayburn’s depiction of the Ozarks resonates with notions of the region that have persisted in the American consciousness ever since.
Vance Randolph was perfectly constituted for his role as the chronicler of Ozark folkways. As a self-described “hack writer,” he was as much a figure of the margins as his chosen subjects, even as his essentially romantic identification with the region he first visited as the vacationing child of mainstream parents was encouraged by editors and tempered by his scientific training. In The Ozarks, originally published in 1931, we have Randolph’s first book-length portrait of the people he would spend the next half-century studying. The full range of Randolph’s interests—in language, in hunting and fishing, in folksongs and play parties, in moonshining—is on view in this book that made his name; forever after he was “Mr. Ozark,” the region’s preeminent expert who would, in collection after collection, enlarge and deepen his debut effort. With a new introduction by Robert Cochran, The Ozarks is the second entry in the Chronicles of the Ozarks series, a reprint series that will make available some of the Depression Era’s Ozarks books. An image shaper in its day, a cultural artifact for decades to come, this wonderful book is as entertaining as ever.