"Public ritual, including funerals for prominent regional figures, nurtured the growing popular belief in a southern cultural identity."
Despite pronounced divisions and decades of change, the South and southerners have sustained their identity through institutions, customs, and rituals. Funerals for public leaders and cultural heroes are among the most significant. They affirm the community’s values and continuity: the society will survive its loss. Over history, prominent funerals show how the South’s sense of itself has changed.