Historical archaeology, polk county florida, nalaka, turpentine, debt peonage, jook joint, 1920s
The extraction and distillation of pine sap for the naval stores industry reached its apex of production in the early decades of the twentieth century. Post-emancipation, the industry employed African American labor in the long leaf pine forests of the southeastern United States under a system of debt peonage that replaced the master-slave dynamic with a similar circumscriptive construct. Laborers rented company housing and were paid in scrip, a monetary system that limited their purchase of the basic goods of subsistence to the company commissary at inflated prices, resulting in an endless cycle of debt. Despite the oppressive circumstances of debt peonage labor, African Americans developed venues known as “jook joints” for the expression of agency through leisure. The jook was a structure where laborers congregated on weekends to socialize, dance, drink, gamble, and fight. The Polk County, Florida turpentine camp of Nalaka was in operation from 1919 until 1928. In 1942, the Nalaka site, and thousands of surrounding acreage, were purchased by the United States Government for use as an Air Force training range in anticipation of US involvement in World War Two. Although no structures survive, artifact scatters from the 1920s remain in situ. No known records exist to document the spatial arrangement of the structures at Nalaka. This study reconstructs the layout of the camp based upon artifact provenience, secondary iii ethnographic sources, and historical documents, to determine whether or not Nalaka supported a jook joint, and if so, where was its location.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Ziel, Deborah, "Which Way To The Jook Joint?: Historical Archaeology Of A Polk County, Florida Turpentine Camp" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2948.