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The Pursuit of a Dream

By Janet Sharp Hermann

290 pp.

1578061296 Paper $25.00R

Paper, $25.00

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* In 2018-2019 University Press of Mississippi will close for the holidays on Friday, December 21, 2018, and will reopen Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Orders sent by Paypal through Friday, December 14, at 11 a.m. Central will ship in time for Christmas. If you are not ordering for the holidays, please leave us a note in Paypal. After December 14, customers desiring shipping before Christmas should call 1.800.737.7788 and ask for rush delivery. Please be prepared to pay extra for rapid shipping. Orders that come to our website after these dates will begin shipping on January 2, 2019.

The story of a utopia created by Mississippi freedmen on a white man's former plantation

This fascinating history set in the Reconstruction South is a testament to African-American resilience, fortitude, and independence. It tells of three attempts to create an ideal community on the river bottom lands at Davis Bend south of Vicksburg. There Joseph Davis's effort to establish a cooperative community among the slaves on his plantation was doomed to fail as long as they remained in bondage. During the Civil War the Yankees tried with limited success to organize the freedmen into a model community without trusting them to manage their own affairs.
After the war the intrepid Benjamin Montgomery and his family bought the land from Davis and established a very prosperous colony of their fellow freedmen. Their success at Davis Bend occurred when blacks were accorded the opportunity to pursue the American dream relatively free from the discrimination that prevailed in most of society. It is a story worthy of celebration.
Janet Hermann writes here of two men--Joseph Davis, the slaveholder and brother of the president of the Confederacy, and Benjamin Montgomery, an educated freedman. In 1866 Montgomery began the experiment at Davis Bend.
The Pursuit of a Dream, published in 1981, received the Robert F. Kennedy Award, the McLemore Prize of the Mississippi Historical Society, and the Silver Medal of the Commonwealth Club of California.
"Historical writing at its best . . . her research is impressive and is presented in balanced, ironic prose." --David Bradley, New York Times Book Review
"A marvelous story for all readers with a taste for the ironies, the ambiguities, and the surprises of history." --C. Vann Woodward

Janet Sharp Hermann, a freelance writer and historian, is the author of Joseph E. Davis: Pioneer Patriarch (University Press of Mississippi).

290 pp.