Ure̓s Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines: Containing a Clear Exposition of Their Principles and Practice, Volume 1

Longmans, Green, and Company
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Publisher
Longmans, Green, and Company
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Published on
Dec 31, 1878
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Pages
1038
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Language
English
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THE beginning of this collection of Popular Romances may I be truly said to date from my early childhood. I remember with what anticipations of pleasure, sixty-eight years since, I stitched together a few sheets of paper, and carefully pasted them into the back of an old book. This was preparatory to a visit I was about to make with my mother to Bodmin, about which town many strange stories were told, and my purpose was to record them. My memory retains dim shadows of a wild tale of Hender the Huntsman of Lanhydrock; of a narrative of streams having been poisoned by the monks; and of a legend of a devil who. played many strange pranks with the tower which stands on a neighbouring hill. I have, within the last year? endeavoured to recover those stories, but in vain. The living people appear to have forgotten them; my juvenile note-book has long been lost those traditions are, it is to be feared, gone for ever.
Fifteen years passed away--about six of them at school in Cornwall, and nine of them in close labour in London,--when failing health compelled my return to the West of England. Having spent about a month on the borders of Dartmoor, and wandered over that wild region of Granite Tors, gathering up its traditions,--ere yet Mrs Bray [a] had thought of doing so, -- I resolved on walking through Cornwall. Thirty-five years since, on a beautiful spring morning, I landed at Saltash, from the very ancient passage-boat which in those days conveyed men and women, carts-and cattle, across the river Tamar, where now that triumph of engineering, the Albert Bridge, gracefully spans its waters. Sending my box forward to Liskeard by a van, my wanderings commenced; my purpose being to visit each relic of Old Cornwall, and to gather up every existing tale of its ancient people. Ten months were delightfully spent in this way; and in that period a large number of the romances and superstitions which are published in these volumes were collected, with many more, which have been weeded out of the collection as worthless.
This is the first book-length study of Delta Cooperative Farm (1936–42) and its descendant, Providence Farm (1938–56). The two intentional communities drew on internationalist practices of cooperative communalism and pragmatically challenged Jim Crow segregation and plantation labor. In the winter of 1936, two dozen black and white ex-sharecropping families settled on some two thousand acres in the rural Mississippi Delta, one of the most insular and oppressive regions in the nation. Thus began a twenty-year experiment—across two communities—in interracialism, Christian socialism, cooperative farming, and civil and economic activism.

Robert Hunt Ferguson recalls the genesis of Delta and Providence: how they were modeled after cooperative farms in Japan and Soviet Russia and how they rose in reaction to the exploitation of small- scale, dispossessed farmers. Although the staff, volunteers, and residents were very much everyday people—a mix of Christian socialists, political leftists, union organizers, and sharecroppers—the farms had the backing of such leading figures as philanthropist Sherwood Eddy, who purchased the land, and educator Charles Spurgeon Johnson and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who served as trustees. On these farms, residents developed a cooperative economy, operated a desegregated health clinic, held interracial church services and labor union meetings, and managed a credit union. Ferguson tells how a variety of factors related to World War II forced the closing of Delta, while Providence finally succumbed to economic boycotts and outside threats from white racists.

Remaking the Rural South shows how a small group of committed people challenged hegemonic social and economic structures by going about their daily routines. Far from living in a closed society, activists at Delta and Providence engaged in a local movement with national and international roots and consequences.

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