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A Century of Life in a Negro Community

Elizabeth Rauh Bethel

Published: Oct 1 1997






OA Ebook



The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

A portrait of a dynamic African American community in the rural South

Promiseland chronicles the intergenerational story of fifty African American families living in the rural community of Promised Land, South Carolina. From the newly emancipated slaves who established the settlement in 1870 to the third- and fourth-generation descendants who remain a part of the community, Elizabeth Rauh Bethel describes the personal strength, cooperative spirit, family integrity, and gender equality that have united residents in the face of unyielding racial abuse.

Elisabeth Rauh Bethel is a professor of sociology at Lander College in Greenwood, South Carolina. She holds degrees from William Woods University, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Oklahoma.

"Simply a splendid study in American social history. No recent book tells more about the twentieth-century rural black community and how its men and women dealt with opportunity and oppression. Southern black immigrants to northern cities look very different because Bethel has liberated them from sterile social stereotypes."—Herbert Gutman

"What emerges from [Bethel's] impressively abundant raw data is a picture of Promised Land as an evolving, growing community. Miss Bethel's use of living informants in conjunction with historical sources produces a rich blend . . . Stimulating and important."—New York Times Book Review

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