Eli Hill
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Eli Hill

A Novel of Reconstruction

Title Details

Pages: 278

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 04/15/2020

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5693-8

List Price: $30.95


Pub Date: 04/22/2020

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5719-5

List Price: $104.95


Pub Date: 04/15/2020

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5763-8

List Price: $104.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of Sarah Mills Hodge Fund

Eli Hill

A Novel of Reconstruction

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin’s 1946 autobiography The Making of a Southerner is considered a classic testament of a white southerner’s commitment to racial justice in a culture where little was to be found. Lumpkin’s unpublished novel Eli Hill, which was discovered in Lumpkin’s papers after her death, contributes to the same struggle by imaginatively re-creating a historical figure and a moment in the violent white resistance to Reconstruction.

Born to enslaved parents in York County, South Carolina, Elias Hill (1819–1872) learned to read and write and became a popular Baptist minister. Owing to his influence, Hill was one of many victims of a series of vicious attacks by the Ku Klux Klan. After testifying before a congressional committee that emigration was the only solution, Hill and 135 other formerly enslaved people emigrated to Liberia.

Lumpkin had trained as a sociologist and historian to use archival sources and data in arguing for socioeconomic change. In her autobiography, she uses the lens of an individual life, her own, to understand how racism was inculcated in white children and how they could free themselves from its grip. With Eli Hill, she turns to imagination, informed by archival research, to put an African American man at the center of a story about Reconstruction. In curating this important work of historical recovery for use in the classroom, Bruce Baker and Jacquelyn Dowd Hall have included the full text of the original manuscript and an introduction that contextualizes the novel in both its historical setting and its creation.

Lumpkin is an important figure, and this is an important book—one that adds substantially to our understanding of how Reconstruction has been understood and represented.

—Scott Romine, author of The Real South: Southern Narrative in the Age of Cultural Reproduction

About the Author/Editor

Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin (Author)
KATHARINE DU PRE LUMPKIN (1897–1988) was a sociologist and activist who studied, taught, and did research at a number of schools, including Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Mills College, and Wells College. Although she is best known for The Making of a Southerner, Lumpkin published a number of other books: The Family: A Study of Member Roles; Shutdowns in the Connecticut Valley: A Study of Worker Displacement in the Small Industrial Community; Child Workers in America (with Dorothy W. Douglas); The South in Progress; and The Emancipation of Angelina Grimke. She is an inductee to the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

Bruce Baker (Editor)
BRUCE BAKER is a reader in modern American history at Newcastle University. He is author of What Reconstruction Means: Historical Memory in the American South, coeditor of After Slavery: Race, Labor, and Citizenship in the Reconstruction South, and coauthor of The Cotton Kings: Capitalism and Corruption in Turn-of-the-Century New York and New Orleans.

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall (Editor)
JACQUELYN DOWD HALL is founding director of the Southern Oral History Program and the Julia Cherry Spruill Professor of History Emerita at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was president of the Organization of American Historians (2003–2004) and was awarded a National Humanities Medal in 1999 and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. She is coauthor of Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill Worldand author, most recently, of Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America.