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Sustaining Identity, Recapturing Heritage: Exploring Issues of Public History, Tourism, and Race in a Southern Rural Town [Kindle Edition]

Ann E. Denkler

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Book Description

Sustaining Identity, Recapturing Heritage examines the complex web of public history, race, cultural identity, and tourism in Luray, Virginia, a rural Southern town. The 'texts' associated with this town's public history_tourist brochures, promotional narratives, historic homes, memorials, and monuments_are devoted to the founding eighteenth-century families and Confederate soldiers in Luray's past, but they also marginalize the history and heritage of African Americans and American Indians, and nearly obliterate the history of women in this region. Thus, the public history does not reflect the actual history of this town. A close look at one town helps to debunk the ideas and ideologies of the existence of a monolithic 'South', since the term could mean Mississippi, North Carolina, or somewhere-in-between. Luray and the Shenandoah Valley, with their distinctive geographical, economical, architectural, and cultural history can boast of its own discrete 'southern' identity. The book reveals how African-American texts and history reveal contributions to the town of Luray and the Shenandoah Valley region. The book studies the 'Ol' Slave Auction Block', a controversial public history site that subverts the white, hegemonic heritage of the town. Sustaining Identity, Recapturing Heritage is groundbreaking in its study of African-American tourism.

Editorial Reviews


Ann Denkler lifts the veil off of one of our most treasured tourist areas to reveal the 'real people' living in Luray, Virginia. Her contributions to discussions of heritage tourism and oral history not only fill a void in our historical knowledge, but also unveil the long reach of segregation. Sustaining Identity shows us what we have been missing by not deeply interrogating the hidden terrain of the tourist destinations we often visit and love. (P. Williams-Forson, University of Maryland, College Park)

This book has an important and laudable thesis. Denkler makes the correct arguments and seems to draw the correct conclusion. (Virginia Magazine Of History - Biography, November 2008)

Denkler argues passionately for writing black history into Luray's displays of public history. (Journal of American History, December 2008)

Succinct, clearly written study....Denkler has provided a highly readable study that raises important challenges....Few works on these topics have so insightfully unpacked views of the past from both sides of the color line. Her work is a monument to the value of interviews in enriching research in published sources and the interpretation of cultural landscapes. (H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online, January 2009)

The body of critically informed interdisciplinary work that engages with African Americans as cultural and heritage agents of tourism is relatively non-existent in this burgeoning field. Denkler’s Sustaining Identity, Recapturing Heritage fills a significant void in the literature on race and travel. This book provides an engaging, thought provoking, and well-researched historical account of ways in which African Americans maneuvered through these designated touristic spaces framed by the backdrop of racial segregation across the American South. The book reveals how travel became yet another system of control that told African American tourists they could only visit, eat, and stay in certain places. The African American tourism experience was separate but not equal, experienced in more private settings and one that, to this day, remains un-documented in the mainstream tourism scholarship that is oblivious to racial context. (Angel David Nieves, University of Maryland, College Park)

About the Author

Ann Elizabeth Denkler is assistant professor of history at Shenandoah University.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1004 KB
  • Print Length: 138 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0739119915
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (August 15, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009GIPOM6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,721,652 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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