Front Porch: Fall 2005

Return to issue

Front Porch: Fall 2005

by Harry L. Watson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 11, No. 3: Fall 2005

"Appearing in thirty million copies worldwide and almost two hundred foreign editions, the story of Rhett and Scarlett had conveyed something irresistible to readers almost everywhere, surely including many who couldn't tell Stone Mountain from Mount Rushmore."

Southerners, of all people, should know how hard it is to get over a civil war. The bloodshed and physical destruction have devastating material consequences, and the emotional and cultural damage can be just as severe. Destruction by an alien enemy is hard enough, but suffering inflicted by one’s own countrymen, companions in the “imagined community” we call a nation, can inspire the utmost in rage, futility, and despair. Even when the results of a civil war are beneficial, as they obviously were for black southerners, the price paid in ongoing recrimination can be heavy indeed.