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Vol. 18, No. 4: Winter 2012

  //  winter 2012

NASCAR vs. College Football. Inside the World of the Debutante. Country Stores and the Days of Yore. Race and Religion in the American South and Beyond. Cotton Milling in Alabama. Understanding Personal Identity in the South. And more!

Table of Contents

Front Porch: Winter 2012

by Harry L. Watson
“If the South can survive, should it—cotton mills, deb balls, and all?” Reflections on the South frequently turn on questions of identity. Is the South really different? Different from what? How so and why? What is “southernness”? Is it disappearing or just changing? What is all this mysticism about “place”?

Secret Sharing: Debutantes Coming Out in the American South

by Susan Harbage Page, Cynthia Lewis
“‘There’s no choosing. It isn’t choice. Are you the daughter of somebody who was somebody who was somebody? And if you are, and you’re not a heroin addict, you are there.'” The grand staircase fronting the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston leads to large, wooden, locked double doors and instructions to ring the bell »

NASCAR vs. Football: Which Sport Is More Important to the South?

by Harvey H. Jackson III, Daniel S. Pierce
“The outlandish stories of the antics of early stock car racers immediately attracted me. Lloyd Seay and Roy Hall hauling liquor from Dawsonville to Atlanta one night and winning races the next day in the same car; Fonty Flock winning the Southern 500 wearing Bermuda shorts and argyle socks; his brother Tim racing with a »

The Country Store: In Search of Mercantiles and Memories in the Ozarks

by Brooks Blevins
“The country store survives. The survivors—and there are more of them than you might imagine—are models of adaptation.” There’s nothing quite like going back home. If, like me, you’re a child of the rural South, you’ll know that feeling, see and smell and hear and feel that feeling. The smell of tilled earth or freshly »


by William Harmon
“. . . there’s Humphrey pumping drugs all out & sundae soda cracker pop . . .” general merchandise the old testament.wares notions sundries dry goods ready to wear candy hats cash & carry HarryTruman making change thanks.

Race as Region, Region as Race: How Black and White Southerners Understand Their Regional Identities

by Melissa M. Sloan, Ashley B. Thompson
“‘You’ve never been black, have you? No, if you’d been black, you wouldn’t ask no silly-ass question like that.'” The “South” is virtually inconceivable without sustained attention to race, yet most scholarly examinations of southern identity have focused almost exclusively on the experiences of white southerners, ignoring the experiences of other racial groups in the »

A Natural-Born Linthead

by JL Strickland
“I would stand outside the mill fence mesmerized by the shadows of pumping Jacquard loom arms on the opaque windowpanes. I had found where I wanted to go. It looked like fun to me. It looked like magic. It didn’t take long for that silly notion to be knocked out of my head. But, I »

What Reconstruction Meant: Historical Memory in the American South by Bruce E. Baker (Review)

by Michael Kammen
University of Virginia Press, 2009 A flourishing cottage industry customarily called “memory studies” is now thrusting into its third decade. This well-researched volume makes a useful contribution to the field as well as to our understanding of southern culture. The author rightly declares that “social memory is one of the key elements that constitutes social »

Freedom’s Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark by Katherine Mellen Charron (Review)

by Cynthia Stokes Brown
University of North Carolina Press, 2009 Katherine Mellen Charron’s Freedom’s Teacher, winner of the Julia Cherry Spruill prize for the best monograph on southern women’s history, has clearly won the approval of historians, but it richly deserves to reach a wider audience. From her vantage point as the daughter of a black southern teacher, Charron »
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