Cover for Joyner: Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community. Click for larger image

Down by the Riverside

A South Carolina Slave Community
Awards and Recognition:

Co-winner of the Chicago Folklore Prize. Winner of the Eugene M. Kayden Award, 1985.

A new edition of the classic study of slave life in the American South

In Down by the Riverside, Charles Joyner takes readers on a journey back in time, up the Waccamaw River through the Lowcountry of South Carolina, past abandoned rice fields once made productive by the labor of enslaved Africans, past rice mills and forest clearings into the antebellum world of All Saints Parish. In this slave community, and many others like it, the slaves created a new language, a new religion--indeed, a new culture--from African traditions and American circumstances.

From the letters, diaries, and memoirs of the plantation whites and their guests, from quantitative analysis of census and probate records, and above all from slave folklore and oral history, Joyner has recovered an entire society and its way of life. His careful reconstruction of daily life in All Saints Parish is an inspiring testimony to the ingenuity and solidarity of a people who endured in the face of adversity.

This anniversary edition of Joyner's landmark study includes a new introduction in which the author recounts his process of writing the book, reflects on its critical and popular reception, and surveys the past three decades of scholarship in slave history.

"Beautifully written and richly suggestive."--Washington Post Book World

"Reaches beyond any other single work in recreating in its pages a texture so fine and full that readers may feel the ribs and twills of slave life. Highest recommendation."--Library Journal

"The finest work ever written on American slavery."--George P. Rawick, editor of The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography

"Charles Joyner has been a joy to work with from the beginning to the present, and Down By the Riverside is one of the most significant books published by the University of Illinois Press in the past quarter century. This book, like all of the others published in the series Blacks in the New World, benefitted from the sagacity and tenacity of series editor August Meier."--Richard L. Wentworth, former director of the University of Illinois Press

Charles Joyner is Burroughs Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Southern History and Culture at Coastal Carolina University, past president of the Southern Historical Association, and the author of Shared Traditions: Southern History and Folk Culture and other works.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Shared Traditions - Cover
Shared Traditions

Southern History and Folk Culture

Charles Joyner

Journal of American Folklore - Cover
Journal of American Folklore

Edited by Ann K. Ferrell