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Vol. 6, No. 4: Winter 2000

  //  winter 2000

In Winter 2000 the dead mule rides again, we commemorate Wilmington’s race riot, we examine the odyssey of Jerry Lee Lewis, we tune in to 40 years of the New Lost City Ramblers, and we look at the economic divergence of North and South.

Table of Contents

Letter to the Editor: The Redemption of Atticus Finch

by Jewell Knotts, J. Wayne Flynt
“Joseph Crespino’s interpretation of To Kill a Mockingbird must be politically motivated, because it certainly is not based on the text.” It’s been some time since an essay has provoked as much debate around here as Joseph Crespino’s “The Strange Career of Atticus Finch” [from the Summer 2000 issue of Southern Cultures]. In his essay »

Front Porch: Winter 2000

by Harry L. Watson
“This old mule has a lot of kick left.” When I was a child, back in the 1950s, mules were still a receding presence on the southern landscape. On visits to country kinfolk, they stood in idle, flop-eared mourning around nearly abandoned barnyards–dark brown mules with bulbous white noses, white mules, even yellow ones. Like »

The Dead Mule Rides Again

by Jerry Leath Mills
“Uncle Jimbo ‘once won a twenty-dollar bet by eating a bologna sandwich while sitting on a dead mule.'” Among many interesting things in Rick Bragg’s All Over but the Shoutin’ (1998) is the revelation that Bragg’s Uncle Jimbo “once won a twenty-dollar bet by eating a bologna sandwich while sitting on a dead mule” (xviii). »

Commemorating Wilmington’s Racial Violence of 1898: From Individual to Collective Memory

by Melton Alonza McLaurin
“On November 10, 1898, an armed mob of whites destroyed the state’s only daily African American newspaper by burning the building in which is was housed.” Scholars do not dispute the essential facts about the racial violence that occurred in Wilmington, North Carolina, more than a hundred years ago, although interpretations of the event by »

Southern Roots and Branches: Forty Years of the New Lost City Ramblers

by Philip F. Gura
“Mike Seeger, a conscientious objector during the Korean War, was fulfilling his alternative national service as a dishwasher in a tuberculosis hospital.” In the early spring of 1999 I drove out of Lexington, Virginia, and halfway up a mountain turned onto the private drive that led to Mike Seeger’s home. Soon enough John Cohen arrived »

Tracking the Economic Divergence of the North and the South

by Peter A. Coclanis
“Plantations dominated the southern economy by the 1770s, and those who controlled them had decisively shaped the region’s economic course, and, perhaps, destiny.” Questions relating to the distinctiveness of the American North and South have intrigued historians and the public for generations. In fact, these questions and broader related controversies have proven among the most »

Good Country People from Throwed Away: Failures of Progress in Eastern North Carolina

by Linda Flowers
But they’re not as common as they used to be, these old farmers in faded overalls, in khaki shirts washed thin and almost white, brogans, hats usually: dusty as a March field. You don’t see them much anymore. Not in Rocky Mount and Goldsboro, Wilson, Smithfield and Clinton; in Faison, yes, in little towns like »

Delta Sugar: Louisiana’s Vanishing Plantation Landscape by John B. Rehder (Review)

by John Michael Vlach
The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999 Although it is commonplace for a recently minted Ph.D. to publish his or her dissertation soon after its completion, making of it the foundation for a scholarly reputation, cultural geographer John B. Rehder took a different approach. Delta Sugar: Louisiana’s Vanishing Plantation Landscape is his dissertation revisited some thirty »

Bloody Promenade: Reflections on a Civil War Battle by Stephen Cushman (Review)

by William L. Barney
University Press of Virginia, 1999 Like a new shoe of the correct size that initially seems to fit awkwardly because of its unusual design, Stephen Cushman’s Bloody Promenade requires patience on the part of the reader before its virtues become apparent. What at first seems to be a series of rambling, disjointed musings soon builds »

Lawyering for the Railroad: Business, Law, and Power in the New South by William G. Thomas (Review)

by Frank G. Queen
Louisiana State University Press, 1999 A new method of distributing goods and services is constructed in a startlingly short period of time. Isolated communities are suddenly connected to each other and the outside world by a universal, common carrier. The builder becomes rich, powerful, admired, and hated. Its monopoly brings government lawsuits, and politicians call »

Lost Revolutions: The South in the 1950s by Pete Daniel (Review)

by Fred C. Hobson
University of North Carolina Press, 2000 The photograph on the front of Lost Revolutions captures what Pete Daniel’s book is about as well as any single image can. In Ellis Auditorium in Memphis in 1955, twenty-year-old Elvis Presley, one year removed from obscurity, stands with his arm around bluesman B. B. King. Race and class »

From Memphis to Nashville: The Odyssey of Jerry Lee Lewis

by Mark Royden Winchell
“‘This old boy wanted to kill me a while back because I married his daughter, but we’re friends again now.'” I first saw Jerry Lee Lewis in the Vanderbilt University football stadium on Labor Day 1973. The opening act that night was Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. Although political incorrectness was not yet in »

Goldsboro narrative #11

by Forrest Hamer
I sorely do love her, I thought said.Actually, he said he loved her surely,but Southerners mix words up sometimesand I have often taken them at face value. So as this Southern man was talking aboutthe Southern woman he would marry, it seemed to me grownups tangled their feelingsunnecessarily, and especially love. And,since we were in »
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