"THERE IS ASTONISHINGLY LITTLE FROM AFRICA WHICH IS OF FUNCTIONAL IMPORTANCE IN THE PRESENT DAY ACTIVITIES OF THIS ISOLATED NEGRO CULTURE"
WOOFTER, Thomas Jackson, Jr. Black Yeomanry. Life on St. Helena Island. New York: Henry Holt, (1930). Octavo, original black cloth, cartographic endpapers, original dust jacket. $650.
First edition of this early sociological study of African Americans living on a Gullah island off South Carolina, in original dust jacket.
"A community where Negroes outnumber whites 500 to one is a rarity in these United States of America. There are, of course, 60 or 70 Negro towns and settlements scattered throughout the country, but not one of these may be likened unto St. Helena Island, the setting for T.J. Woofter's Black Yeomanry. St. Helena is first of the famed Sea Islands dotting the South Carolina coast. In 1920 the population included 5,050 Negroes and 108 whites. Here one finds a complex of social phenomena that proffer a total situation unparalleled in its paradoxes by any other community. Dr. Woofter and his associate specialists have sought an interpretation of these phenomena… The report of their findings is marked by an intelligent simplicity fully warranting the subsequent special studies which it promises" (Opportunity 8-9). "This book is a combination of almost all observations which white persons traveling in an isolated rural community in the South would publish as comments on the life of people of whom they have just begun to learn… While most of these facts are not startling the effort does point the right way, and it is hoped that others will undertake such investigations… The book goes to the beginning of modern life of St. Helena Island, the coming of the English, the importation of slaves, the customs of the place, the dialect, early songs, superstitions, birth rate, health, occupations, and the like. The larger portion of the work, however, is devoted to the treatment of education, the home, recreation, religion, and improvements in the life of the people. Nineteen illustrations dealing with these things appear in the work. The volume is neatly printed and handsomely bound" (The Journal of African American History 16:1). Blockson 2463.
Book near-fine, with occasional faint foxing and slight toning to base of spine. Scarce dust jacket extremely good, with a few faint spots and light wear to extremities.