To die game: the story of the Lowry Band, Indian guerillas of Reconstruction.

Record Number: 
1118
Citation: 

Evans, W. McKee. To die game: the story of the Lowry Band, Indian guerillas of Reconstruction. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1971. Reprinted, with a new foreword by James M. McPherson. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1995 Key source

Annotation: 

Detailed, extensively researched, and engagingly written account of Lowry, his family, all gang members, and others involved in the incidents (including Capt. Owen C. Norment, John Sanders, Andrew Strong, and Col. Frank Wishart). Analyzes the political background of the gang’s activities. Reviews various accounts of Lowry’s death or disappearance. Copious footnotes and an evaluative “Essay on Sources.”

The front cover illustration of the 1995 reprinted edition is a painting of the Lowry Band by Lumbee artist Gene Locklear.

McPherson's Foreword to the 1995 reprinted edition briefly and effectively sets the stage for reading and appreciating Evans's excellent book. He outlines the status of the Lumbee during the Civil War; the events that provoked Henry Berry Lowry to form his band; support for the band by Lumbees and freed slaves; Lowry's disappearance in 1872; and the sense of identity and pride Lowry has given the Lumbees.

McPherson praises several elements of Evans's approach to the story of the Lowry band. He notes that (1) Evans doesn't romanticize the band or downplay the violence of some of their acts; (2) he attends to the broader significance of the band's acts--beyond family feuds and local politics to the failure of Republicans to “. . . carry out the root-and-branch destruction of conservative influence or to prosecute White murderers of Indians vigorously enough” (p. xii); (3) he states, “Evans comes close to endorsing the Lowrys' method of an eye for an eye as the only way to deal with Ku Klux Klan violence and White counterrevolution. The radical Republicans could have successfully brought off their social revolution, he thinks, if they borrowed a leaf from the Lowry band” (p. xii).

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