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Parchman Farm was built in 1900 in the heart of Mississippi, where slavery had had a stronghold before the Civil War. For the next 70 years, until the Civil Rights movement got a toehold, the Farm was operated pretty much like a Southern plantation. What brought it national attention, however, was not its penal conditions but the music and the literature it fostered. In the 1930s, John and Alan Lomax collected the chants and blues that its inmates sang, while writers as esteemed as Faulkner wrote about it as a place of security and solitude away from the madness of society. Taking a more factual approach, historian Taylor (Brokered Justice; Race, Politics, and Mississippi Prisons, 1798-1992) gives an account of what went on at Parchman over the years and how and why the old farm was finally replaced by a modern correctional facility. His tone is objective, although he clearly has reservations about the changeover. This volume should be of interest to prison historians and to general readers familiar with the mystique around the Parchman Farm. Not an essential purchase but a good choice if funds permit.AFrances O. Sandiford, Green Haven Correction-Facility Lib., Stormville, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.