Transcending familiar categories of "black" and "white," this volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture complicates and enriches our understanding of "southernness" by identifying the array of cultures that combined to shape the South. This exploration of southern ethnicities examines the ways people perform and maintain cultural identities through folklore, religious faith, dress, music, speech, cooking, and transgenerational tradition.
Accessibly written and informed by the most recent research that recovers the ethnic diversity of the early South and documents the more recent arrival of new cultural groups, this volume greatly expands upon the modest Ethnic Life section of the original Encyclopedia. Contributors describe 88 ethnic groups that have lived in the South from the Mississippian Period (1000-1600) to the present. They include 34 American Indian groups, as well as the many communities with European, African, and Asian cultural ties that came to the region after 1600. Southerners from all backgrounds are likely to find themselves represented here.