Rag Radio: Historian of Anti-Confederate South, Victoria Bynum, Author of ‘The Free State of Jones’

Bynum's book has been adapted into a much-anticipated movie starring Matthew McConaughey.


Thorne Dreyer’s guest, historian Victoria Bynum, is the author of The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, which has been adapted into a major motion picture, starring Matthew McConaughey, to be released June 24, 2016.

Bynum, who is descended from several families that participated on both sides of the uprising known as the “Free State of Jones,” joins us in a discussion about little known Southern history, including white resistance to the Confederacy, as well as recent events involving racial violence and the debate over the Confederate flag. Also joining us on the show are journalist Jeffrey Nightbyrd and musician Gregg Andrews.

Professor Bynum, a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, taught in the history department of Texas State University for 24 years before retiring in 2010. Her research has centered on Southern dissenters, including families that opposed secession and the Confederacy. Her subjects have included the guerrilla band headed by Newt Knight in Mississippi’s “Free State of Jones”; the anti-slavery Wesleyan Methodist community of the North Carolina Quaker Belt; Southern women who defied the social and sexual boundaries of Southern society; and African-Americans who did not follow the dictates of Jim Crow.

This “Best of Rag Radio” episode was originally broadcast on July 3, 2015. Also read “Racial violence, history, and the debate over the Confederate flag” by Vikki Bynum at The Rag Blog.

Bynum’s other books include The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies (2010) and Unruly Women: the Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South (1992). A new “movie edition” of The Free State of Jones. is available through Amazon and other outlets. Vikki also moderates a blog, Renegade South, in which she and readers further explore the lives of unconventional Southerners.

Rag Radio is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The host and producer of Rag Radio, Thorne Dreyer, is a prominent Austin-based activist and writer who was a pioneer of the ’60s underground press movement. The show’s engineer and co-producer is Tracey Schulz and the staff photographer is Roger Baker. The syndicated show is broadcast (and streamed) live Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (Central) on KOOP in Austin, and is later rebroadcast and streamed on WFTE-FM in Mt. Cobb and Scranton, PA., on Houston Pacifica’s KPFT HD-3 90.1-FM, and by KKRN, 88.5-FM in Round Mountain, CA — and is a featured podcast at VT. All Rag Radio podcasts can be found at the Internet Archive. Contact: ragradio@koop.org.



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