Up From Slavery

Up From Slavery Glossary


Before the war (in this case, the Civil War)


A shady garden alcove created by trees or climbing plants over a wooden framework

"Black Belt"

A region in the southern US characterized by a history of plantation agriculture and a high percentage of African Americans. The rural communities in this area have historically faced poverty, inadequate education, poor health care, and high levels of crime and unemployment. Definitions of its boundaries vary, but it is generally considered to run through the Deep South, from Louisiana to Georgia.

"board 'round"

To board at a succession of different families' homes as part of one's compensation


A person from the northern states who went to the South after the Civil War to profit through politics, through a system in which they could hold office after living in any southern state for just one year


A square opening, common in the south before the Civil War, through which a cat could pass into or out of a cabin or mansion


A supporter of King Charles I during the 17th-century English Civil War

coal face

The part of a coalmine where coal is cut from the mountain


The person in a military unit assigned to carry the flag


A term used by former slaves to describe the names they gave themselves, to which they felt "entitled"


The right to vote


A dance among southern blacks, often characterized by whiskey drinking, shooting, and/or cutting with razors


One of a group of people who judge a competition



New South

A term coined by orator and journalist Henry Grady, referring to a modernization of society and a rejection of the slavery-based economy and traditions of the antebellum period

normal school

A school for training high school graduates to be teachers. It is intended to establish teaching standards or norms, leading to its name. Most normal schools are now called teachers' colleges.


Sheets or blankets placed on the floor for sleeping


Bands of white men who regulated slave's nighttime conduct, such as keeping them from holding meetings or visiting other plantations without a pass

political preferment

Political advancement or promotion


A large opening covered with boards to store sweet potatoes during the war


The period after the Civil War (1865-77) during which the southern states were brought back into the Union


A supporter of the Parliament of England during the 17th century English Civil War

stump speech

A speech used by a politician running for office


To submit or behave obsequiously

Webster's "blue-back"

A well-known spelling book, first published in 1790, containing the alphabet and syllables, used to teach children to read