We are pleased to introduce to you the winter 2015 issue of Southeastern Geographer. The cover art photograph, entitled “The Water Tower in Improve, Mississippi,” was contributed by Sam Miller and David Cochran, both members of our editorial team. The photo was taken in June of this year and it depicts a peaceful, mid-morning scene in the tiny community of Improve. Little more than an intersection on State Highway 44 and located almost equidistant between Sumrall and Columbia, Improve is representative of literally hundreds of rural communities that once dotted the Piney Woods of South Mississippi and are now rapidly disappearing as a result of urbanization and economic change.
The six articles of this issue span a wide range of topics and remind us once again of the diversity and creativity that characterizes geographical research in the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers. The first article, written by Courtney Cooper and Kristan Cockerill, compares perceptions of Appalachian State University students with those of residents in two counties of northwestern North Carolina regarding water. Their results show interesting similarities and differences in how these groups view water as a resource and to what extent they support conservation and regulation of its use. The second article, written by Zebulon Wallace, Lisa Keys-Mathews, and Arleen Hill examines the perceptions of residents in three Alabama communities that were affected by the well-publicized tornado outbreak of April 2011. Attempting to determine whether direct experience with a tornado influences risk perception, the authors find that social experience can be as important as direct experience of an event in determining individual risk perceptions. The third article, written by Joshua Inwood, Derek Alderman, and Jill Williams, draws from speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. to explore how public transportation remains a key civil rights issue in the United States. Focusing on recent events in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the authors demonstrate how access to public transportation plays an overarching role in the economic fortunes of poor people of color and fosters persistent political conflict in many American cities today.
The fourth article, written by Emily Weidenmuller, Taylor Williamson, Courtney Leistensnider, and John Finn highlights how masculinity has been naturalized in the statues, monuments, and memorials of Hampton Roads, near Newport News, Virginia. Women generally are not represented in these landmarks and where they are, they tend to be portrayed as submissive and secondary to men. In making this observation, the authors effectively demonstrate the importance of the material landscape in framing broader societal ideas of gender. In the fifth article, Anne Randle, Rebecca Barlow, and Andrew Gunnoe report on a study in which [End Page 384] timberland in five Alabama counties were mapped to measure landscape changes that have occurred since the early 1990s. In line with national trends, the majority of the timberland in the study area came under corporate ownership during this period, but a large portion was also purchased for conservation. The sixth and final article, written by Rhiannon Leebrick and James Maples, recounts a largely forgotten coal miner strike that occurred in 1914 in Elverton, West Virginia, whose site is now located in the New River Gorge National River (NERI). The 1914 strike in Elverton was an exceptional event in that it led to positive change in the community during a tragic time in the labor history of the United States. Sadly, the event has not been included in the historic narrative of NERI, which is managed by the U.S. Park Service, and a variety of factors have prevented it from being recognized for its historic importance.
This issue concludes with two book reviews. Jordan Moore examines the book, Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University, by Simon J. Bronner. The second book review, written by Nathan Satcher, examines DDT and the American Century: Global Health, Environmental Politics, and the Pesticide That Changed the World, by David Kinkela.
This is our last issue as co-editors of Southeastern Geographer. We have enjoyed ourselves a great deal these last...