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Book Review

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 17: Education

From the general introduction: “In 1989…the University of North Carolina Press joined the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi to publish the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. While all those involved in writing, reviewing, editing, and producing the volume believed it would be received as a vital contribution t our understanding of the American South, no one could have anticipated fully the widespread acclaim it would receive from reviewers and other commentators. But the Encyclopedia was indeed celebrated, not only by scholars but also by popular audiences with a deep abiding interest in the region. At a time when some people talked of the ‘vanishing South,’ the book helped remind a national audience that the region was alive and well, and it has continued to shape national perceptions of the South through the work of its many users—journalists, scholars, teachers, students, and general readers.”

This New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture surveys educational developments, practices, institutions, and politics from the colonial era to the present. With over 130 articles, this book covers key topics in education, including academic freedom; the effects of urbanization on segregation, desegregation, and resegregation; African American and women’s education; and illiteracy. These entries, as well as articles on prominent educators, such as Booker T. Washington and C. Vann Woodward, and major southern universities, colleges, and trade schools provide an essential context for understanding the debates and battles that remain deeply imbedded in southern education. Framed by Clarence Mohr’s historically rich introductory overview, these essays in this volume comprise a greatly expanded and thoroughly updated survey of the shifting southern education landscape and its development over the span of four centuries.