Front Porch: Things

Lee Circle minus the statue of Robert E. Lee, 2017, by Kate Medley.

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Front Porch: Things

by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Southern Cultures, Vol. 23, No. 3: Things

"Southern things are speaking up. They say, ‘Listen. Pay attention. Do something.'"

Southern things have been very loud of late. Like a scene from any one of the dystopian television series so popular right now in an anxiety-ridden America—imagine a Deep South setting for The Leftovers—”things” are misbehaving. Across the South, a number of iconic southern landscapes and objects are shifting in meaning, and we cannot turn away from those conversations. A low hum has grown into a loud chorus, and even violent protest. Consider the Confederate battle flag lowered from its place of honor on the grounds of the South Carolina State House on July 10, 2015—a once-unimaginable act authorized by Governor Nikki Haley in response to the horrific murder of nine black members of Charleston’s beloved Emanuel A.M.E. Church, itself a powerful material symbol of both the South’s historic African American community and the region’s divisive racial history.