Frontiersmen, hillbillies, moonshiners and banjo players — these are a few stereotypes of Ozarkers.
But Dr. Brooks Blevins, the Noel Boyd professor of Ozarks studies at Missouri State University, works to change these misconceptions through his research.
“It’s often a warts-and-all story like the American experience in general,” Blevins said. “But there are many interesting and iconic people and things that had their origins right here in the Ozarks.”
The first in a trilogy
Blevins’ latest book – “A History of the Ozarks, Volume 1: The Old Ozarks” – came out in summer 2018. It’s the first volume in a trilogy that offers a comprehensive history of the region.
Blevins says the most surprising discovery during his research was the central role “immigrant Indians” played in the old Ozarks. These displaced natives from east of the Mississippi River came from different tribes.
“For about two generations, thousands of them lived in the region. In the 1820s, they even attempted to establish a sort of autonomous Indian nation in the Ozarks,” Blevins said.
A sneak peek
Blevins is working on volumes two and three of his trilogy. The target publication dates are summer 2019 and 2021, respectively.
Volume two will focus on the long Civil War and Reconstruction era. Its main topics include slavery in the Ozarks, the secession crisis, the resulting war and the region’s reconstruction. It will also introduce the idea of the cultural Ozarks.
“Underlying almost all the books’ subjects is an ongoing exploration of the perpetuation of cultural stereotypes and the role that the region’s image has played on its history and development,” Blevins said.
Leave a Reply