Announcements: a past interview; an upcoming presentation; the Knight-Booth Family Reunion

Interview by Wisconsin Public Radio

The Long Shadow of the Civil War

This has been a busy week, and the upcoming week will be even more so! As part of Wisconsin Public Radio’s observation of the 150 year anniversary of the Civil War, I was interviewed on Friday, July 8, on the Veronica Rueckert Show.  The topic was my latest book, The Long Shadow of the Civil War, and the discussion included Southern Unionists, participation by Southern women in anti-Confederate uprisings, Newt Knight and the Free State of Jones, and Wesleyan Methodist Unionists in North Carolina. After the first half hour the show was opened to callers, whose questions and comments took us beyond a discussion of the book’s contents. If you’d like to hear the interview for yourself, click on the arrow below:

Upcoming presentation in Jones County

In a few days, Gregg and I will head out for Laurel, Mississippi, where I’m scheduled to present “Newt Knight, Southern Renegade: Patriot or Traitor?” at the Laurel-Jones Public Library. The Library is located at 530 Commerce St., Laurel, and my talk will take place on Friday, July 15, from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. If you’re in the area, come on by!

My thanks to Dan Walters of Laurel for arranging this.

Gregg’s and my day at the Laurel library will be followed by our attendance at the biennial Knight-Booth Family Reunion in Soso, where we’re looking forward to reconnecting with good friends like Florence Knight Blaylock and Olga Watts Nelson, pictured below.

Vikki Bynum

Florence Blaylock, Olga Watts Nelson, and Vikki Bynum, January 2011

14 replies »

  1. Vikki, I wish I could be there if there is a way i would be there. I used all my vacation time when my husband died. It will be 3 months july 12th. You know i work at the leland, Ms Library. i wish you could come here. You, know, maybe I might try and come, i need some time to myself. Hope to see you, and some of my relatives.


    • Hi Janet,

      Well, I sure hope you do make it. I would love to meet you, and I know your relatives would love to see you, too!



      • If my research serves me right, I am the great x’4 granddaughter of John Jackie Knight and Keziah Knight. My name is Bridget Knight. My father, Sam Knight,was from Jones county. I would love any information on this family. I have found a little on Keziah but mostly on Newton. Thank you


  2. Hi Vikki,

    I just finished listening to your interview with Wisconsin Public Radio. It is excellent! I consider it essential “listening” for anyone who is attempting to understand the South.

    I couldn’t help but reflect as you spoke about that other South that could have been. I grew up within the vestiges of the culture of the other South that did survive, as did many of your readers, and as I listened to you speak, I remembered again standing on the grounds of the courthouse in West Virginia in the 1980s listening to Reverend Jackson, and then joining hands with black and white members of the audience.

    We lost a lot. But, in the end, we have–and shall–win and create a more just society. Thank you for giving a voice to the voiceless–and an eloquent voice, at that! Sherree


    • Hi Sherree,

      It is so good to hear from you! And thanks for taking time to listen to the WPR interview. Like you, I am struck by what might have been as I study the defeat of post-Civil War movements aimed at reforming the political system of the South as it moved from its slaveholding base to one of white supremacy. It’s so important to know that it might have gone another way, and that change still lies before us. It’s up to us to make it a more just society rather than one divided between the very rich and those–today as yesterday–who struggle simply to have a voice.



  3. I’m new to the Newt Knight story, and have only discovered it as I’ve been researching my husband’s Booth & Crawford family history. His GG grandmother’s (Martha Crawford who married Charles R Booth) sister Mary Kendrick Crawford married Robert O Harper, whose family was involved with the Knights. Their daughter Martha Elizabeth Harper married James Joshua Hinton, whose mother was Mary Margaret Knight, daughter of James Knight and Harriet Youngblood

    You mentioned a Booth reunion. . . any connection to the Booths of South Carolina & Autauga Alabama?

    I’m excited to get your book about the State of Jones to learn more.


    • Hi Christine,

      Welcome to Renegade South; I hope that you find valuable information about your branch of Knights. James Knight was a son of Jacky and Keziah Knight, and an uncle to Newt Knight.

      The Knight-Booth reunion that I attended as a guest is a gathering of descendants of Newt Knight and Rachel, the former slave of Newt’s grandfather, Jacky, and the African American Booths, who intermarried with them; I do not know whether the Booths have South Carolina or Alabama connections–perhaps a reader can answer that question.

      I hope you enjoy my book–it’s title is The Free State of Jones, however. There’s another book entitled The State of Jones. You can guess which one I recommend.



  4. Vikki, i am starting back on researching my ancestors, the Knights and the Ainsworths. I was wondering if anyone out there knows what happened to my Great Grandfather, Newt Knight’s rifle he used in the Civil War. I remember my mother said she or someone gave it to my Uncle Olin Knight and it was over the fireplace at his homeplace in Clinton, MS


    • There is a photo shown on the article “Yvonne Bivins on the Ainsworth-Smith-Knight-Connection” titled Present day descendants of Lucy Jane Ainsworth. If you look on the wall above the fireplace there appears to be a rifle. Wouldn’t it be a cool coincidence if it were the rifle you were looking for.


      • That does look like it could be the rifle of GGGrandfather Newt Knight, I wonder what happened to it.


  5. Janet, I hope some of our readers can help with the question of where Newt’s gun now resides–I’d love to know the answer to that too!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.