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WEJ at 21: Charles Joyner on "Down by the Riverside - A South Carolina Slave Community"

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"Slave Dance and Music"
Attributed to John Rose, Beaufort County, South Carolina.
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Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA.
The Old Plantation (Slaves Dancing on a South Carolina Plantation), ca. 1785-1795. Watercolor on paper.
Dr. Charles Joyner
Courtesy of Coastal Carolina University

In Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community, Charles Joyner takes readers on a journey back in time, up the Waccamaw River through the Lowcountry of South Carolina, past rice fields made productive by the labor of enslaved Africans, past rice mills and forest clearings into the antebellum world of All Saints Parish. In this community, and many others like it, the enslaved people created a new language, a new religion - indeed, a new culture - from African traditions and American circumstances.

From the letters, diaries, and memoirs of the plantation whites and their guests, from quantitative analysis of census and probate records, and above all from slave folklore and oral history, Joyner has gathers the story of a society and its way of life. His careful reconstruction of daily life in All Saints Parish is an inspiring testimony to the ingenuity and solidarity of a people who endured in the face of adversity.

The 25th anniversary edition of Joyner's landmark study includes a new introduction in which the author recounts his process of writing the book, reflects on its critical and popular reception, and surveys the prior three decades of scholarship in slave history. He joined Dr. Edgar in 2010, during the 10th anniversary celebration of Walter Edgar's Journal, to talk about this edition.

- Originally broadcast 03/26/10 -