Life Part Two

The adventures of Fay and Bob as they move beyond the 9 to 5 life

History of the South

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What is THE SOUTH?

Bob and I had our first OLLI class last Thursday – The South as Region and Section: Colonial and Early National Beginnings with instructor Dr. A.V. Huff. We have had him for a class before and he is great. Funny, good speaker, interesting and definitely knows his material.  We are having so much fun learning about our new state. 

He started out talking about “What is the South?” Is it geographic area, the area south of the Mason Dixon Line, the states that made up the Confederacy or a culture?

What do you think of when you think of The South?

He spoke about 10 things that he thinks defines The South.

1.  Weather
Generally short mild winters and long summers.

2.  Agriculture
A rural economy in the south vs more a industrial economy in the north.  Crops that defined the south are tobacco, cotton, rice and cane sugar. Along with these crops came the plantations and I know I certainly associate plantations with the south.

3. Decentralized Government – States Rights vs. Federal Gov. control
Not much more to say about that except it sure is true here in SC.

4.  Negro population
I did some more research on this and found this map that shows the ethnic breakdown by state.   Pretty interesting.   I also thought it was interesting to look at where the people are that call themself American.

5.   Image as Southern Gentleman, Southern Belles, Southern Hospitality
Even though the women were not as educated as northern women and they worked hard managing the plantations when they went out in public they were shown off as “Ornaments to Society”.

6.  Religion
Evangelical Southern Religion. He said it was sometimes referred to as Bapto Methodism.   This link shows the different religions by state.   It’s pretty interesting.

I found the chart below on church attendance on wikipidia

Church Attendance by State [5]
Rank↓ State↓ Percent↓
National average 42%
1 Alabama 58%
1 Louisiana 58%
1 South Carolina 58%
4 Mississippi 57%
5 Arkansas 55%
5 Utah 55%
7 Nebraska 53%
7 North Carolina 53%
9 Georgia 52%
9 Tennessee 52%
11 Oklahoma 50%
12 Texas 49%
13 Kentucky 48%
14 Kansas 47%
15 Indiana 46%
15 Iowa 46%
15 Missouri 46%
15 West Virginia 46%
19 South Dakota 45%
20 Minnesota 44%
20 Virginia 44%
22 Delaware 43%
22 Idaho 43%
22 North Dakota 43%
22 Ohio 43%
22 Pennsylvania 43%
22 Wisconsin 43%
28 Illinois 42%
28 Michigan 42%
30 Maryland 41%
30 New Mexico 41%
32 Florida 39%
33 Connecticut 37%
34 Wyoming 36%
35 Arizona 35%
35 Colorado 35%
37 Montana 34%
37 New Jersey 34%
39 District of Columbia 33%
39 New York 33%
41 California 32%
41 Oregon 32%
41 Washington 32%
44 Maine 31%
44 Massachusetts 31%
46 Rhode Island 28%
47 Nevada 27%
48 New Hampshire 24%
48 Vermont 24%

7.  Violent  Culture
Wish this one wasn’t true but  it’s a history of duals, fist fights, knives, lynching,  feuds,  the KKK  and  a strong military culture, domestic abuse, etc.

8.  Southern Language/ Accent
I didn’t know this.  The accent you hear goes back to the very early settlers in Virginia and SC in the 17th century who came from southern England and the pronunciations they used so it is an old style of speaking.   Add in African words and African grammer and you have that southern accent.

9.  Food
Why are corn products, corn muffins, biscuits  and grits so popular?   Because hard winter wheat that grows in the north doesn’t grow well in the south The beef and mutton eaten in the north are replaced by pigs (because they are so easy to take care of) bear, venison and turkey.  The yam and nuts and beans are a big part of the diet.

10.  View of world(the South)  as  wounded
Defeated in war, an economy destroyed by the Civil War and the resulting poverty that came after have defined how some southerners feel about themself and their state.




Author: Fay

Follow the adventures of Fay and Bob, 65 plus, as they explore the country to look for a new home, sell their MN home, finally move and get settled into a new state and town.

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