Southern Heritage on Display
Public Ritual and Ethnic Diversity within Southern Regionalism
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
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Much of the ink spilt defining, explaining, or explaining away the South has examined successive myths of the region. Charles Reagan Wilson summarizes the sequence as follows: “The mythic perspective on Southern history would begin with the idea of a Colonial Eden, then portray the romantic Old South and the crusading Lost Cause, followed by the...
1. “Keeping Jazz Funerals Alive”: Blackness and the Politics of Memory in New Orleans
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I heard a tourist couple ask a grand marshal at a funeral, “This dead man must have been quite a big figure to rate a big funeral like this, huh?” The answer was the usual one, “Oh, no, he was just an ordinary fellow, an old porter who worked at a bank for forty-five years. He was a paid-up member in the old society, and that’s what the society does—turn out with...
2. The Mardi Gras Indian Song Cycle: A Heroic Tradition
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Like other great annual festivals, Mardi Gras affirms memory and continuity amid change. In the Caribbean and in Brazil, as well as around New Orleans, the very permissive Mardi Gras festival tradition allows participants to parody the authorities, invert the power structure, and play with gender codes. On this single day, people may costume themselves and...
3. “There’s a Dance Every Weekend”: Powwow Culture in Southeast North Carolina
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On a June afternoon last year, Derek Lowry and I visited with members of the Ray Littleturtle family in their Pembroke, North Carolina, home to talk about powwow culture in North Carolina’s Indian communities. Derek, a Tuscarora in his mid-forties, and Ray, a Lumbee in his mid-sixties, are longtime powwowers and mainstays in the East...
4. Melungeons and the Politics of Heritage
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When I entered one of the family chat rooms during the Melungeon Third Union, I quietly took my place in the circle of people sitting on the floor. I was running a little late and did not want to interrupt the host, who was explaining her ability to tell a Melungeon by the way he or she stood for a photograph. After she spoke, all the participants introduced...
5. Kin-Religious Gatherings: Display for an “Inner Public”
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One May more than thirty years ago, I boarded a Greyhound Bus in Gainesville, Florida, and headed to the summer community of Montreat, North Carolina, for my first anthropological fieldwork, which was to be the basis of my doctoral dissertation. The summer I spent at Montreat opened my eyes to a complicated and beautiful process in the American...
6. Religious Healing in Southern Appalachian Communities
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Mary was canning pickles as I stepped through the kitchen doorway on an August afternoon. Mary, a seventy-six-year-old widow, was the one to first introduce me to the Missionary Baptist church I attended over several years in Bradford County, North Carolina. The mother-in-law of the preacher who founded the church, Mary and her family, including...
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On a gray Saturday morning in September, a multiethnic group of volunteers and organizers huddles beneath a metal-roofed pavilion at the Eustis fairgrounds in rural, central Florida. They have gathered to decorate and prepare the pavilion and the adjacent exhibition hall for the annual Mexican Independence Day festival, sponsored by the Office of...
8. Forget the Alamo: Fiesta and San Antonio’s Public Memory
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For most of the twentieth century San Antonio has been nationally known as the Alamo city. The site and the 1836 battle cast an enduring shadow on accounts of the city’s past and present. In the decades following the Texas Revolution and U.S. annexation, the call to “remember the Alamo” became a justification for Anglo hegemony and the...
9. “Where the Old South Still Lives”: Displaying Heritage in Natchez, Mississippi
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On a warm March afternoon an elderly, but most assuredly not frail, woman greets her many hundred visitors. Wearing a crisply pressed blouse and hoopskirt that have maintained their shape despite the already oppressive Mississippi humidity, she gracefully conceals a half-smoked cigarette behind her back and receives another group: “I’m Alma Carpenter...
10. “‘Thigibh!’ Means ‘Y’all Come!’”: Renegotiating Regional Memories through Scottish Heritage Celebration
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On a rainy July day at MacRae Meadows on North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain, a small crowd clusters tightly together under Donald MacDonald’s Gàidhlig Céilidh tent, straining to hear a single, clear voice raised in a Gaelic lament. They have come to listen to the annual Mòd (a solo singing competition in the Gaelic language) at the Grandfather...
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Publication Year: 2003