• E-Books
  • Latest Catalogs
  • Books for Courses
  • Exhibits Listing
  • View Cart

256 pp., 8.375 x 11, 33 color and 87 b&w illus., 1 map, appends., notes, bibl., index

Cloth
ISBN  978-0-8078-3397-1
Published: May 2010

Decoration Day in the Mountains

Traditions of Cemetery Decoration in the Southern Appalachians

By Alan Jabbour and Karen Singer Jabbour

 
Photographs by Karen Singer Jabbour

Decoration Day is a late spring or summer tradition that involves cleaning a community cemetery, decorating it with flowers, holding a religious service in the cemetery, and having dinner on the ground. These commemorations seem to predate the post-Civil War celebrations that ultimately gave us our national Memorial Day. Little has been written about this tradition, but it is still observed widely throughout the Upland South, from North Carolina to the Ozarks.

Written by internationally recognized folklorist Alan Jabbour and illustrated with more than a hundred photographs taken by Karen Singer Jabbour, Decoration Day in the Mountains is an in-depth exploration of this little-known cultural tradition. The Jabbours illuminate the meanings behind the rituals and reveal how the tradition fostered a grassroots movement to hold the federal government to its promises about cemeteries left behind when families were removed to make way for Fontana Dam and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Richly illustrated and vividly written, Decoration Day in the Mountains presents a compelling account of a widespread and long-standing Southern cultural practice.

About the Author

Folklorist Alan Jabbour, former director of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, has published widely on folk music and folklore. For decades he and his wife, photographer Karen Singer Jabbour, worked together to document grassroots culture in the American South. Since 2004 they have documented Decoration Day from North Carolina west to the Ozarks.


Reviews

"Captivating, thoughtful, well-researched and detailed."
--Wisconsin Bookwatch

"By far the most thorough examination of the custom available. . . . Necessary reading for anyone interested in Decoration Day as well as death-related customs in general. . . . Those who want to experience how ethnography ought to be done, no matter the particular topic, should read this model work."
--Arkansas Review

"Richly illustrated. . . . [The] photos punctuate, enliven, and graphically augment the authoritative, though accessible, text."
--Appalachian Heritage

Decoration Day in the Mountains offers many features worthy of praise, not the least of which is its physical appeal….It’s necessary reading for anyone interested in Decoration Day as well as death-related customs in general, but those who want to experience how ethnography ought to be done, no matter the particular topic, should read this model work.”
--Arkansas Review

"The most lengthy and authoritative account of this folklore ritual to date."
--Studies in American Culture

"The book is not only a useful reference for its subject matter and interpretations but also a model of research and writing."
--Journal of Southern History

Related Titles

<SPAN STYLE= "" >The Art of Conversion</SPAN>

The Art of Conversion

Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo

By Cécile Fromont

Defines a new corpus of African art

Learn More »

<SPAN STYLE= "" >Intellectual Manhood</SPAN>

Intellectual Manhood

University, Self, and Society in the Antebellum South

By Timothy J. Williams

Understanding southern middle-class masculinity in the context of antebellum education

Learn More »

<SPAN STYLE= "" >Wayfaring Strangers</SPAN>

Wayfaring Strangers

The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia

By Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr

A 400-year story of musical migration Learn More »



© 2014 The University of North Carolina Press
116 South Boundary Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-3808
How to Order | Make a Gift | Privacy
Greenpress Initiative Network Solutions