The Mind Of The South
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Citations Publications citing this paper. Thompson also worries about how many roads now pass by Big Agra tracts instead of family farms and through hazy suburban sprawl instead of more sensibly—and sustainably—arranged communities.
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Some patch-jobs should be easy. Presented with that kind of response, my high-school self suffers visions of Sherman burning Columbia. Only when my adult brain intervenes am I reminded that, oh yes, there are historical facts to contend with—like the fact that those fires may well have been set by Confederates.
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But then, historical facts and historical feelings are difficult to marry. So many of us Southerners do not know—or are not willing to know—the factual truth of our own history even as, ironically, many of us are family-Bible- obsessed with a feeling of the past , and so we do not know ourselves very well either. Thompson knows that we are a capable, adaptable people but that we all too often think on a small, immediate scale.
We love our families and close friends fiercely—these days, whatever color they are—and yet we cannot seem to address the larger problems of racial inequality and poverty corroding the steel roots of cities like Atlanta. We value personal property, private space, local autonomy, and the support of our neighbors and community, but those same values blind us to the fact that some struggles require cooperation on a larger, dare I say it, governmental scale. In several Southern states, truth and reconciliation groups are reaching across racial lines to heal long-standing wounds.
The Mind of the South by W.J. Cash
Although wrong about race, the book was right about much else. The Agrarians championed sustainable family farms, ecology, human scale and, most of all, community.
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They were green many decades before the rest of America, and they were down home. Thompson believes that the philosophy of the Agrarians is as basic to the South as collards and grits. Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, it suggests that if Dixie can make peace with the hellish parts of its legacy while fostering its inherent strengths, it just might achieve a real breakthrough.
There is, of course, one last outstanding matter. Cash could not have imagined.