23 May 2016

Southern Heritage, Southern Family, Southern Tradition: Part 1

As we approach Memorial Day each year, a lot of fond memories always come to my mind of childhood summers growing up in the Shenandoah Valley. With that in mind, I'm going to post a series on "Southern Heritage, Southern Family, Southern Tradition." Part one is simply some a couple of audio/videos featuring a couple of songs from a recently released album by various country artists. It's a great way to introduce the series - for a whole host of reasons.

As a number of bloggers (who claim to be professional historians) take almost daily victory laps over the removal of Confederate icons from the South's landscape, many Southerners simply shake their heads and continue to live their lives, despite the cultural cleansing. The South is so much more than the four years that made up the War Between the States, though that is a very important part. (I'll address that some in Part 2.) But if you think that Confederate icons are the real issue, you're quite naive. But I digress. 

Part of the South's great heritage is its music. A recently released album both celebrates the South's music traditions, and our way of life as well. To those readers who grew up in the small town, rural South, these songs will resonate. To those who didn't, it's an opportunity to learn.
Perhaps it was defeat and dislocation that solidified the need for deep roots, for tangible heroes and subtle pleasures.  Time moved with the rhythm of nature, slow and plodding.  Southerners had time to think, reflect, and pray under the hot sun and long growing seasons.  They lived in the dirt.  They communed with the dead and wept for the living.  They were patient.  They had a reflective acceptance of the present, knowing that for many tradition served as a reminder of better times.  They knew that death was a journey with God. This pain made great music.  It still does. ~ Dr. Brion McLanahan
Here's a couple of my favorites from this new album, Southern Family:




6 comments:

Phil said...

While the predictable bloggers celebrate the destruction of Confederate iconography, I hope that more Southerners will grow less content to limit their reactions to merely shaking their heads. We can defend our position, as I try to do in the link below.

https://civilwarchat.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/confederate-monuments/

Music, however, is always a matter of personal taste. I don't think anyone can correctly identify racism in the tunes and flag waving in the music video in the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etffxJVAwIc

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Phil. I think contextualizing is absurd on its face. First of all, those who have a known bias will, in most cases, be the ones writing the context. Secondly, its condescending, assuming we need "instruction" on the monuments because we're all too stupid to figure it out ourselves. And, as you point out, ALL monuments would need to be contextualized, including adding commentary on JFK's philandering.

I think the answer is to put up more monuments that honor African-Americans and leave the existing ones alone. I've been involved in two projects like this myself.

Phil said...

Right.

In Little Rock the Arkansas state capitol grounds has two statues pertinent to your point.

First, is one to the ordinary Confederate soldier.

Second, is one depicting the nine African-American students who de-segregated Central High school in 1957. It was erected in 2005 and planned in 1997 without any advice from the you-know-who bloggers presently seeking to destroy or "contextualize" Confederate memorials.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I co-wrote the text for these two monuments:

http://www.markerhistory.com/john-jasper-marker-f-99/

http://www.markerhistory.com/original-african-american-cemetery-marker-i-22-a/

And helped finance them both.

Michael Clinton said...

Is there some type of list of the Confederate monuments that have been destroyed in this cultural cleansing?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Michael - none of which I'm aware, though a Google search would likely provide a good start.