Cosmopolitan southern belle Zelda Fitzgerald, John Dollard’s famous southern sojourn, John Henry’s hammer, God’s field of snow, Indian schools, Cold Mountain and southern community, and O Brother and the folk fad. This is Summer 2004!
"Some southern traditions don't pretend to be liberating."
"That whole church would be a riot of the most beautiful songs. To be in the middle of it was for me an ecstasy, one of the greatest experiences of my life. I found it heavenly and unbelievably delightful, freeing and liberating. An odd thing about it was that the singing would never completely die down."
"There are few more memorable wives in twentieth-century American culture than Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, who was married to the successful young author F. Scott Fitzgerald."
"Think of the tale of Bob Dylan going electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and an enraged Alan Lomax trying to pin Dylan's manager to the ground while Pete Seeger hunted for an ax to cut the cables."
"I saw God, my son once told me. He lives in a field of snow. What could you see? Just snow. And footprints."
"John Henry and his shaker apparently kept hammering and drilling, hour after hour, while the steam-powered drill got tangled up in the hard rock. Years later, a hammer with the initials 'J. H.' was found in the tunnel."
It's hard to believe, but one of the puzzles that early-twentieth-century folklorists spent time sorting out was whether John Henry and John Hardy were the same man.
Today, the community of Talcott, West Virginia, bases its fledgling tourism industry on John Henry.
"But I could walk in the classrooms, and I could name ninety percent of those kids' parents, because I taught a lot of their parents. If a problem surfaced, I said, 'Do you want me to talk to your mother and daddy about you?'"
In addition to a common preference for a less hurried and direct approach to business and commerce, given their "inherited paternalism," who better than the descendants of the South's old slaveholding class to commiserate with their kindred spirits south of the border about the intricacies of sweating peons and Jamaican labor without breaking a sweat yourself?
The Southerners who have gone North have had to drop their drawl and their restful afternoons and the ceremonious manners their mothers taught them, because the North thinks such manners an affectation in business hours. They have had to become Go-Getters and some have become Babbitts of the worst order.
"This is a world in complete turmoil -- a civilization falling to pieces -- and one seldom so strongly presented in Civil War films. And yet, in the end, there is a regeneration of southern family and community."
University of North Carolina Press, in association with the Center for Documentary Studies, 2002.
Beacon Press, 2003.
W. W. Norton, 2003.