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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / State & Local / South
  • Language:English
  • Pages:828
  • Hardcover ISBN:9781543925159

Environmental Influences On Life & Labor in McIntosh County, Georgia

Case Studies in Ecology as History With a Personal Memoir of the Tidewater

by Buddy Sullivan

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How local ecological and environmental circumstances have affected life, labor and economics on a small south Atlantic coastal community.
Few places on the U.S. eastern seaboard better exemplify the economic and societal utilization of a local ecosystem by human populations than the tidewater sections of South Carolina and Georgia. For four centuries Euro-and-Afro-centric cultures in the region have adapted to their particular environmental circumstances—salt marsh ecosystem, fresh water and tidal systems and their hydrology, soil fertility, and meteorological considerations, among other prevailing conditions—to enhance their lifestyles and economies. An antebellum agrarian economy, interwoven with a distinct maritime culture, all linked to the land and water resources of the region, has spanned more than two centuries, and is set against the fascinating backdrop of coastal history. The ecology as history in this book resonates with a recurrent theme, one that relates the story of community, particularly that which involves the use of its land, its economy and the dynamics of its labor, from the perspective of the local environment. The twelve “case studies” in this book examine the unique correlation between the ecosystem and environment of the Georgia tidewater in association with the dynamics of economics and culture. In this regard, one area is scrutinized as a microcosm of the south Atlantic coast, McIntosh County, Georgia. This is a story of land use in association with the intangibles of place and permanence—and by extension, perseverance—as they relate to McIntosh County. It is a story that is applicable to all of coastal Georgia and lower South Carolina. It is argued that the human occupants of the county simultaneously adapted to the ecological circumstances of their locale while utilizing local environmental conditions as an increasingly effective, and resourceful, means of furthering their economic and cultural well-being. The relevance of a communal and cultural sense of place is an important blended theme, as is the significance of the applied scientific research relating to the ecosystem that has evolved since the 1950s in determining the effects of ecology on human life-ways.
About the author
Buddy Sullivan, a fifth-generation McIntosh Countian, has written about the history, culture and ecology of coastal Georgia for almost forty years. He is the author of sixteen books and monographs and is in frequent demand as a lecturer on a variety of historical topics. He is a recipient of the Governor’s Medal in the Humanities from the Georgia Humanities Council in recognition of his literary and cultural contributions to the state. Sullivan’s books include Sapelo: People and Place on a Georgia Sea Island; Georgia: A State History, and two comprehensive local histories, Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater, and From Beautiful Zion to Red Bird Creek. The latter volume received the Georgia Historical Society’s Lilla M. Hawes Award for Georgia’s outstanding work of local history. In addition, he has written several books on nineteenth century agriculture, focusing on rice cultivation and plantation management, and High Water on the Bar, covering the economic and maritime aspects of the post-Civil War coastal lumber industry. His published monograph, The First Conservationists? Northern Money and Lowcountry Georgia, 1866-1930, was read at an important 2016 symposium, “Coastal Nature, Coastal Culture: Environmental Histories of the Georgia Coast.” Sullivan is a contributor to the online New Georgia Encyclopedia, and the University of Georgia Press volume, The New Georgia Guide. He managed the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve from 1993 to 2013 and is now an independent consultant.