Drums and Shadows
Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes

Georgia Writers' Project
Introduction by Charles Joyner
Photographs by Muriel and Malcolm Bell Jr.


"The reissue of this valuable collection of interviews . . . with former slaves and descendants of slaves living along the Georgia coast is a welcome addition for folklorists, historians, and general readers."
Georgia Historical Quarterly

"Perhaps the most memorable federally financed book to come out of the New Deal."
—Theodore Rosengarten


Set against the background of the antebellum slave trade, Drums and Shadows traces the persistence of African heritage in the culture of blacks living on the Georgia coast in the 1930s. In the later years of the depression, members of the Georgia Writers' Project visited and interviewed blacks, many of whose grandparents, smuggled into slavery as late as 1858, had passed on the customs and beliefs of their African past. Seeking evidence of African traditions, the project's workers questioned the blacks about conjure--the curses and potions responsible for turns of luck, illnesses, and even death--about dreams that often determine the course of daily life, and about spirits and other apparitions as real as walking, breathing people.

Page count: 352 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9.25

Read more about slavery in antebellum Georgia at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $28.95

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This study of African survivals was conducted by the Savannah unit of the Georgia Writers' Project, under the direction of Mary Granger, the district supervisor. Muriel and Malcolm Bell Jr. are natives of Savannah. Charles Joyner, the author of Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community and editor of several collections of sea island black folk tales and songs, is Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History at Coastal Carolina University.