The Deepest South of All True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi
Bestselling travel writer Richard Grant “sensitively probes the complex and troubled history of the oldest city on the Mississippi River through the eyes of a cast of eccentric and unexpected characters” (Newsweek).
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Natchez, Mississippi, once had more millionaires per capita than anywhere in America, and its wealth was built on cotton and slavery. Today it has the greatest concentration of antebellum mansions in the South and a culture full of unexpected contradictions. Prominent white families dress up in hoopskirts and Confederate uniforms for ritual celebrations of the Old South, yet Natchez is also progressive enough to elect a gay black man for mayor with 91 percent of the vote.
With humor and insight, Richard Grand depicts a strange, eccentric town with an unforgettable cast of characters. There’s Buzz Harper, a six-foot-four gay antique dealer famous for swanning around in a mink coat with a uniformed manservant. There’s Ginger Hyland, “The Lioness,” who decorates 168 Christmas trees with their jewelry collection. And there’s Nellie Jackson, a brothel madam who became an FBI informant about the KKK before being burned alive by one of her customers. Interwoven through these stories is the more somber and largely forgotten account of Abd al-Rahman Ibrahima, a West African prince who was enslaved in Natchez and became a cause celebre in the 1820s eventually gaining his freedom and returning to Africa.
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