In Down by the Riverside, Charles Joyner takes readers on a journey back in time, up the Waccamaw River through the Lowcountry of South Carolina, past abandoned rice fields once made productive by the labor of enslaved Africans, past rice mills and forest clearings into the antebellum world of All Saints Parish. In this slave community, and many others like it, the slaves created a new language, a new religion--indeed, a new culture--from African traditions and American circumstances.
From the letters, diaries, and memoirs of the plantation whites and their guests, from quantitative analysis of census and probate records, and above all from slave folklore and oral history, Joyner has recovered an entire society and its way of life. His careful reconstruction of daily life in All Saints Parish is an inspiring testimony to the ingenuity and solidarity of a people who endured in the face of adversity.
This anniversary edition of Joyner's landmark study includes a new introduction in which the author recounts his process of writing the book, reflects on its critical and popular reception, and surveys the path of scholarship in slave history in the decades since the book's first publication.