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Vol. 9, No. 2: Summer 2003

  //  summer 2003

Is it true that a woman once threw a punch at Shelby Foote and hit Walker Percy? Is that Dollar Bill on the diner radio again? Do southern birds of a feather really flock together? Who said that he must be measured by his soul? Did you ever thank God for the weather and yourself for that brand new transmission? Does anyone remember Top Hat and Zip Coon? Have you ever searched the fruits of your memory for an orchard where snakes rise from the dead? Summer 2003 answers all these and more!

Table of Contents

Front Porch: Summer 2003

by Harry L. Watson
“Take a little Shakespeare here, add a little Scripture there, rework a bad joke, and voilà, another masterpiece.” For me, the funniest part of Huckleberry Finn is an example of what our author Ralph Luker calls “sampling.” Twain’s bogus King and his equally fraudulent Duke of Bilgewater are planning to present an evening of theater, and the »

A Conspiracy of Dunces? Walker Percy’s Humor and the Chance of a Last Laugh

by Bryan Albin Giemza
“Percy took a punch intended for Foote — from an outraged woman, no less — and had the good grace to earmark the scene for fictional purposes.” When Walker Percy was buried on May 12, 1990, at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Covington, Louisiana, sounds of life intruded on the occasion of his death. Writer Doris »

Quoting, Merging, and Sampling the Dream: Martin Luther King and Vernon Johns

by Ralph Luker
“‘I must be measured by my soul — the mind is the standard of the man.'” Near the end of the exhilarating day of December 5, 1955, Martin Luther King Jr. stepped into the pulpit of Montgomery, Alabama’s Holt Street Baptist Church. With seven years of preaching behind him and “only twenty minutes to prepare »

To the Land I Am Bound: A Journey Into Sacred Harp

by David L. Carlton
“As I found myself climbing over clay and gravel, negotiating switchbacks and sudden steep upgrades, I found myself thanking God for the weather and myself for my brand new transmission.” One Saturday before the fourth Sunday in August, as such things are reckoned, I arose early in the morning and drove south from my hometown »

Images of African Americans in Southern Painting, 1840-1940

by A. Everette James
“Southern paintings showed African Americans as largely dehumanized caricatures, black stereotypes rather than distinct individuals.” From the 1840s through World War II, paintings by artists working in the South for the most part mirrored images fashioned throughout America. These paintings were different from those created in other parts of the country, however, in that they »

Dollar Bill

by Michael Chitwood
“Outside, in the parking lot, sparrows bathe in the dust. Empires rise and fall. He’ll notice and say nothing of it on the air.”” Small-town AM station, morning show, still doing a gospel number every hour.

Birds of a Feather

by John Shelton Reed
“Do southerners prefer one another’s company?” The tendency to form friendships with those who are like oneself has been called “homophily.” Do southerners prefer one another’s company, other things equal? Do nonsoutherners seek each other out? Some anecdotes suggest that, in this respect, regional origin is one of the differences that makes a difference, but it »

The Fruits of Memory

by Amy E. Weldon
“The orchard was still hot, still rustling and green, still haunted by the terror of snake bodies writhing to life under your feet.” Each fall I receive an exact intimation of how far away I have become. Such signs are not always dramatic, the Old Testament notwithstanding. When God, or memory, or the past, or »

The Last Days of Big Grassy Fork (Review)

by Fred C. Hobson
University of Kentucky Press, 2002. Hunter James is a journalist who has written for the Baltimore Sun, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other newspapers, as well as the author of books on subjects ranging from the civil rights struggle in Alabama to the rise and fall of Jim Bakker. A native of Winston-Salem and a descendant of its »

Still Fighting the Civil War: The American South and Southern History (Review)

by David W. Blight
Louisiana State University Press, 2002. In this provocative book on an old subject, written for a broad audience, David Goldfield maintains that southerners have, since 1865, lived under a “burden” of history and memory. The southerner, writes Goldfield, is “either fixated upon the past and therefore immobilized by it, or. . . a total amnesiac »

Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’: Country Music and the Southern Working Class (Review)

by Patrick Huber
University of Illinois Press, 2002. Hank Williams once remarked on the important connections between so-called hillbilly music and the hardscrabble rural backgrounds of its singers. “He sings more sincere than most entertainers,” Williams explained, “because the hillbilly was raised rougher than most entertainers. You got to know a lot about hard work. You got to »
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