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Without PrecedentThe Life of Susie Marshall Sharp$
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Anna R. Hayes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832141

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807887813_hayes

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(p.1) Introduction
Without Precedent

Anna R. Hayes

University of North Carolina Press

This book begins with a discussion of Susie Sharp's most obvious characteristics: brains and a propensity for hard work. On both sides of her family, these qualities had enabled Susie's forebears to survive and even prevail over the difficulties of war, poverty, and the general benightedness of the backcountry in the South. In Susie's parents were joined long lines of patrician plantation owners on one side and yeoman farmers on the other, both sides smelted in the furnace of the Civil War and the hard years that followed. Susie embodied the paradoxes of the South, with its twin strands of pride and humility, romance and pragmatism. The brutal years after the Civil War had imbued her family with a deep-seated fear of poverty, ignorance, and stagnation, but also with a dawning and determined optimism arising from unprecedented opportunities. In Susie, the determination and optimism were matched to an exceptional intelligence.

Keywords:   Susie Sharp, brains, hard work, plantation owners, yeoman farmers, Civil War

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