The Indicted South

Public Criticism, Southern Inferiority, and the Politics of Whiteness

By Angie Maxwell

324 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1164-8
    Published: April 2014
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1165-5
    Published: April 2014
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4293-0
    Published: April 2014

New Directions in Southern Studies

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Awards & distinctions

2015 V. O. Key Book Award, Southern Political Science Association

Honorable Mention, Holman Award, Society for the Study of Southern Literature

By the 1920s, the sectional reconciliation that had seemed achievable after Reconstruction was foundering, and the South was increasingly perceived and portrayed as impoverished, uneducated, and backward. In this interdisciplinary study, Angie Maxwell examines and connects three key twentieth-century moments in which the South was exposed to intense public criticism, identifying in white southerners' responses a pattern of defensiveness that shaped the region's political and cultural conservatism.

Maxwell exposes the way the perception of regional inferiority confronted all types of southerners, focusing on the 1925 Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee, and the birth of the anti-evolution movement; the publication of I'll Take My Stand and the turn to New Criticism by the Southern Agrarians; and Virginia's campaign of Massive Resistance and Interposition in response to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Tracing the effects of media scrutiny and the ridicule that characterized national discourse in each of these cases, Maxwell reveals the reactionary responses that linked modern southern whiteness with anti-elitism, states' rights, fundamentalism, and majoritarianism.

About the Author

Angie Maxwell is Diane D. Blair Assistant Professor of Southern Studies at the University of Arkansas.
For more information about Angie Maxwell, visit the Author Page.


“Highly recommended.”--Choice

“An ambitious, carefully researched, and well-written study.”--Journal of American History

“Expands the canon on whiteness generally and brings new depth to research on southern whiteness”--American Studies

"Maxwell's insightful reading of previous studies covering her three fulcrums of southern history and deft parsing of motives and ideas demonstrate the usefulness of her approach."--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

“An ambitious, carefully researched, and well-written study that helps academics and general readers better understand the history of the mid-twentieth-century South and the roots of contemporary conservatism.”--Journal of American History

"A well-researched and often stylishly written study of the intellectual history of the twentieth-century South."--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Multimedia & Links

Follow the author on Twitter @AngieMaxwell1.

Read: In this guest blog post, Maxwell discusses the origins of the evolution and creationism debate in the 1925 Scopes Trial, and how that argument is still being processed today. Read "The Long Shadow of Scopes."