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review 2018-09-11 14:34
The Three Faces of Black Women
Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era - Tiya Miles

Wow. Tiya Miles does a very good job of showcasing some of the popular ghost plantation tours in her book and dissecting them. I honestly didn't even get that ghost trails were a thing let alone ghost plantation tours.

 

Miles shows that for the most part, the stories told about slaves were not truthful at all, or if there are some truth to things (Delphine Lalaurie) some parts were embellished. She also gets into looking at how many African American women were portrayed in these stories. They were either Mammies, Jezebels, or Voodoo queens. They were shown to be sneaking, lying, or trying to seduce the poor slave owner and take him away from his wife.

 

I loved that she showed historical evidence and context in her book and showed that many things we believe about the south and plantations is fiction. It wasn't Gone With the Wind, people owned others and treated them terribly. You had to worry about being raped, being forced to "breed", and having your family sold off from you. It's still mind boggling to me anyone would be interested in doing any type of plantation tour. 

 

Miles is able to peel back stories told about Molly and Matilda (see Sorrel-Weed House in Savannah), Delphine Lalaurie (see Lalaurie Mansion in New Orleans), and Chloe and Cleo (Mrytles Plantation in Louisana) and have you see them as living and breathing women. If you are interested in hearing about these women, you can Google and include the word "ghost" and see what pops up. I do concur with Miles findings though and don't believe that most of the people described in this stories existed besides Matilda and Delphine. 

 

I really loved the writing and there were a lot of passages I highlighted in this book.

 

"African American bondsmen and bondswomen had been transformed into virtual ghosts, absent and yet eerily present in historical tours as invisible laboring bodies that made their owners’ fortunes shine."

 

"Enslaved black women on plantations were particularly vulnerable. Historians of black women in slavery have detailed the pervasiveness of sexual coercion and rape in a system that not only offered no legal protection for black women but also rewarded masters economically for forced sex and impregnation that resulted in the growth of the slave population."

 

I also loved that Miles included some information about Native Americas too. 

 

"The enslaved African American ghost is the Indian ghost’s double. While the red ghost keeps alive the memory of Indian removal in U.S. history, representing white “terror and lament,” the black ghost marks the demonic spirit of possession through which Americans transformed people into things."

 

I also never really thought too much about who was behind that whole Mammy thing that many people in the south seemed to talk about. Those that read and saw "The Help" showed that it got pushed into another generation until the Civil Rights Movement. Black women are either supposed to be motherly or we are shown as being "fast", or angry if we dare to speak up for ourselves. It's frustrating to be a black woman in this world right now. 

 

"As scholarship on black women’s history shows, the Mammy myth was called into discursive being by defenders of slavery in the 1830s who sought to challenge abolitionist critiques of the sexual abuse of slave women. Mammy’s image was embellished by memoirs of slaveholders’ children published during the Civil War as well as by tributes to her memory in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the Aunt Jemima pancake-mix brand and plans for a national Mammy memorial spurred by the Daughters of the Confederacy."

The locations that Miles goes to in order to investigate this ghost plantation tours are Old Savannah, the French Quarter, and Louisiana plantations. 

 

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text 2018-09-11 02:53
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era - Tiya Miles

Really good. Left me with a lot to think about.

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-09-10 14:37
Reading progress update: I've read 60%.
Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era - Tiya Miles

Tiya Miles is asking some interesting questions in her looks at the haunted south. Most of the places she goes to investigate are former plantations. 


I do like that Miles does her best to find out the truth behind some hauntings. I also like how she gets at some of the sexism and racism at play behind hauntings with supposed slave women (some Miles could not trace). In most of these ghost stories the slave woman was sly and trying to seduce the master of the house. In some cases she was punished for doing something that was not okay. 

We do get in a bit in one of the hauntings even I heard about, The  LaLaurie House in New Orleans. She was a Creole woman in the 1800s who apparently locked up and abused her slaves. However, Miles gets to some of the sexism and prejudice at play with Delphine LaLaurie for being extremely wealthy and marrying a man 25 years her junior.

 

"African American bondsmen and bondswomen had been transformed into virtual ghosts, absent and yet eerily present in historical tours as invisible laboring bodies that made their owners’ fortunes shine."

 

"Tales about ghosts seem to allow us to entertain the historically grounded social issues that nettle us, like race relations and slavery. But this engagement occurs at a safe distance created by the nature of a particular narrative form, that is, the ghost story, that carries with it a sense of the fantastical and the knowledge that what is said can be taken as fancy rather than fact."

 

"there is no ghost tour at the site of the September 11 attacks because the nature of such a tour would dishonor the lives that were lost there. However, as my tour of the Sorrel-Weed House in Savannah and plantation sites in Charleston had suggested to me, African American lives, and black slavery in particular, seemed to be fair game for the dark-tourism industry, so much so that deceased black slaves are main characters of the southern ghost tour."

 

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text 2018-09-09 23:37
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era - Tiya Miles

Annoyed my plan read isn’t available. It will be getting a re-release in October and will be $13.99. I switched to this and it sounds interesting and it isn’t something I have read before.

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-04-15 22:19
This was sOOOO good
Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era - Tiya Miles

I love this book.  I love this book.  I love this book.

 

I should admit that I think I feel about ghosts the same way that Dr Miles does. I love a good ghost story, and in particular, I love ghost folklore. But I try to be aware of what the stories also say about society - both the source society and the current society. I love the work of L.B. Taylor Jr., in part, because he does deal equally with history and folklore. That's where his interest lay, and while a Southern, he doesn't whitewash.

Miles taps into the question of ghost folklore and tourism in the South, in particular, the use of ghost stories about slave to sell tours. She not only digs at the history (or non-history) behind such stories, but looks at how the various places address slavery. IT is a rather enlighting and anger inducing book, but it does make you think and provides you with a reading list.

Miles' passion and prose is so clear and engaging that I want to read everything she has written and will write after reading this good book.

 

 

I really loved this book.

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