The Southern Writers Who Defined America

How William Faulkner and Ralph Ellison Explained the South—and Taught Northerners About Themselves

Tell about the South. What’s it like there? What do they do there? Why do they live there? Why do they live at all?
           —Shreve McCannon, to Quentin Compson

Struggling in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! to field these questions, flung at him by his Harvard roommate on a snowy evening in 1910, the young Mississippian Quentin Compson plunges into the history of his own Southern community. Drawing on the accounts of his family and fellow citizens of the small town of Jefferson, supplemented by his own …

Our Revelatory Culinary Road Trip Through the New South

What Chorizo, Hummus, and Chiles Rellenos Say About a Changing Region

It was New Year’s Day in Charlotte, North Carolina, and seemingly half of Mecklenburg County had come to the K&W Cafeteria for black-eyed peas, greens, and hog jowls—foods to bring …

How the South Recast Defeat as Victory with an Army of Stone Soldiers

Confederate Monuments to Nameless Infantrymen Were Less About Celebrating History Than Reestablishing Social Order

Monuments to Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders have long been controversial, but monuments to nameless Confederate soldiers, those lone stone figures in public places, are far more …

How the South Uses Its ‘Anti-Union Arsenal’ to Keep Workers From Organizing

At a Mississippi Nissan Plant, New Global Owners Wield Old Local Politics Against the United Auto Workers

The crushing rejection on August 5 of a United Auto Workers bid to organize a 6,500-worker Nissan assembly plant near Canton, Mississippi seemed to present the proverbial déjà vu …

How Southern Rock Reclaims Regional Identity While Facing Down Old Ghosts

By Reinventing Rebel Attitude, the Allmans and Their Brethren Forged a New Genre

The South spawned rock ’n’ roll. Some scholars pin its arrival to the first week of March, 1951, in Memphis, Tennessee. There, in the studio run by record producer, label …

How African Americans Emerged from Slavery with a Hunger for Education

From Plantations to Churches to the Classroom, Ex-Slaves Tirelessly Pursued Public Schooling

The focus of my research and writing is women’s involvement in higher education, especially women from the Pentecostal and Holiness faith traditions. While conducting research on African American female seminaries, …