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Front Porch It will come as no surprise to modern South-watchers that things just aren't what they used to be. You can't count on getting sweet tea anymore. Mississippi votes Republican. Jim and Tammy Faye broke up. And Southern Cultures has a new publisher , the University of North Carolina Press. Change is a bumpy process, of course, and we on the staff lament that change at Southern Cultures has caused publication delays and other unexpected developments. We are grateful to our former publisher, Duke University Press, for helping us get started over the last two years, and we are equally confident that our new relationship with UNC Press will be a happy and fruitful one for us all. We hope that our readers and contributors will think so too, regardless of what they might think of change in general—or unsweetened tea in particular. To dress ourselves up for this special occasion, we've made a few changes in our format, and we look forward to the even more inviting appearance of our next issue. We are also excited about a number of new features for future issues, including a regular column on southern food, and comparable features on southern music and speech. These regular features will take their places beside our old standbys, South Polls, Southward, Ho!, and Not Forgotten, along with our regular fare of thoughtful and eclectic writing about the South and its people. Because the price of change has meant that a few printing deadlines have gone with the wind, we've decided to reconstruct, if you will, with this special double issue. There is no central theme, really, but to some degree each essay touches on the subjects of nostalgia, change, and place. Follow our contributors as they look back over a Dixie that has changed enormously over the course of this quickly passing century, yet has somehow managed to remain itself. We start off with an evocative memoir by Hodding Carter III. During the Iranian hostage crisis, viewers from all over the world came to know Carter as the spokesman for the American government. South-watchers have known him and his family for much longer as the publishers of the Greenville, Mississippi, Delta Democrat-Times, the famous southern newspaper that went against pre- 278Southern Cultures vailing white opinions on race relations during the years of the civil rights movement . In his essay, Carter thinks over his own complex relationship with the southern past and finds that his liberal convictions coexist with primal attachments to other regional icons, a realization that many of us will find both surprising and familiar. Taking a different look at place and change, Thomas Harvey shows us around his native town of Tupelo, Mississippi. Tupelo was also home for Elvis, of course, but that's not its only claim to fame. For Tupelo has somehow come to be one of the most-mentioned place names in southern geography. Why? Maybe it just sounds so southern, but Harvey shows how Tupelo's image has evolved with the times, though always with a special twist of self-conscious boosterism and a steady, even stubborn, stability. So many southern places share this history of change and an enduring sense of identity. South Louisiana, for example, and eastern Kentucky, and upper South Carolina—elusive southern places that our remaining authors introduce to us. Shane Bernard takes us to south Louisiana through its special music, swamp pop. Cajun music and the zydeco sound are becoming increasingly well known, but Bernard shows how this distinctive brand of rhythm and blues that once flourished—and still survives—in south Louisiana is as vital to the cultural identity of Cajun country as its better-known cousins. Steve Green offers another look at the south Louisiana music scene, giving us a firsthand tour of the setting and artistic and business records of the Goldband Recording Corporation. Eastern Kentucky, by contrast, was once known more for enduring, murderous hatreds than rollicking melodies or a pounding beat. Dwight Billings and Kathleen Blee suggest that the mythology of the Kentucky feuds is at least as important as social facts in shaping outside views of that central portion of southern...


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pp. 277-279
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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