Front Porch: Spring 1997

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Front Porch: Spring 1997

by Harry L. Watson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 3, No. 1: Spring 1997

Ever since the days of the plantation romances, southerners have been widely imagined as stationary in time and space, passing up the hubbub and distractions of tinsel progress and shallow prosperity for the enduring verities of family, community, and faith.

Ancient avenues of live oaks. Family traditions. Heirloom furniture. Historic roots. A sense of place. The familiar catalogue of clichés about the stability, indeed, the immobility ofsouthern life comes easily to mind. Ever since the days of the plantation romances, southerners have been widely imagined as stationary in time and space, passing up the hubbub and distractions of tinsel progress and shallow prosperity for the enduring verities of family, community, and faith. As often as not, eternal bigotries about race and blood usually find their places on the list of unchanging categories as well.