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Ancient avenues of live oaks. Family traditions. Heirloom furniture. Historic roots. A sense of place. The familiar catalogue of clichés about the stability, indeed , the immobility ofsouthern life comes easily to mind. Ever since the days of the plantation romances, southerners have been widely imagined as stationary in time and space, passing up the hubbub and distractions of tinsel progress and shallow prosperity for the enduring verities of family, community, and faith. As often as not, eternal bigotries about race and blood usually find their places on the list of unchanging categories as well. Like most clichés, this one has some truth to it, and not just on the obvious subject of race. In 1950 less than one out often residents of the old Confederacy had been born outside the region. The proportion ofnewcomers has dramatically increased since then, but old-timers are apt to reflect on the long history of population stability represented by that statistic. For generations the South was peopled by folks who were from there, who grew up there, and who didn't or couldn't move away. Clichés and their truths notwithstanding, the South has a traveling tradition as well. Throughout the twentieth century, millions of black and white southerners have pulled up stakes in search ofbetter prospects elsewhere, bringing a southern presence to distant neighborhoods from Newark to Chicago to southern California . And long before Flatt and Scruggs sang about the "freight train north to Dee-troit city," antebellum southerners traveled an even wearier trail from the Adantic seaboard to the "Old Southwest"—Alabama, Mississippi, and points west. Even before that, another long journey brought northern whites, European immigrants, and African captives face to face with the Native Americans of the earliest South, to build there a regional tradition where traveling on and staying put have equally powerful cultural resonance. In one way or another, travel is a theme that all the authors touch on in this issue of Southern Cultures, and the journal itself keeps moving on as well. This is our second issue published by the University of North Carolina Press. Our friends at the Press have marked the occasion with a new look for the journal, and we hope you like it as much as we do. We are also beginning a column of stories on southern food. For starters, Jim Ferguson shares the surprising story of what happened when he and Ellie, his wife and collaborator, got the chance to introduce hot biscuits and red-eye gravy to the devoted master chefs of Burgundian cuisine. In issues to come, you'll see other regular sections that focus on southern speech, southern music, and southern sports to add variety to our standard fare of essays and reviews. The first essay in this newly designed issue takes a look at a couple ofworldclass southern travelers, Christopher Columbus and the Native American woman Pocahontas. Purists might object that Columbus's voyages to the Caribbean put him a bit too far south to be a "real" southerner, but for historian Theda Perdue he's a convenient symbolic stand-in for dozens of other wanderers and wouldbe conquistadors, from DeSoto and John Smith to John Lawson and William Bartram, who traipsed across the North American southeast in a process of exploration and encounter that opened the way for the South of European settlement and domination. Columbus's trip was also a courtship of sorts, or at least a blind date, with a people and place that Europeans often symbolized as a fetching Indian maiden. Pocahontas was a real person, of course—she might have been fond ofJohn Smith, she certainly married John Rolfe, and she made a trip to England that probably killed her. But ever since white southerners started writing about themselves , she's also been the symbol of a female continent, submitting to seduction or violation by an invasive European culture, typically symbolized by a male explorer . Where has this symbolism taken us over the years? What is it about the encounter of an Indian woman and a European man that continues to tell us something about the South's long journey onwards from Jamestown? Perdue's provocative reflections are...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 1-3
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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