These words are beautifully spoken. I vividly remember my first visit to the deep South. I was in Atlanta for a conference. I was shocked at how many Confederate monuments there were, and it made me — a white woman — feel very uncomfortable. I could only imagine how those monuments made people of color feel every day. Because those monuments were a deliberate reminder to people of color that they had best not step out of line.
I can love New Orleans with all my heart (and I do) and still be glad that the Liberty Place monument (and many others) are now going into museums instead of standing on public streets.
I’m a child of the American South. I’m the Witch of this Southern place, this place here in Virginia, close-by the shores of Spout Run and the Potomac River. I’m a woman whose spiritual life consists mainly of being in relationship with my Southern landbase. And there’s a lot about the South that makes me proud.
I’m proud of our cooking, a melange, as Michael Twitty notes, of African, European, Island, and Native traditions. Chef Twitty has called our cuisine a family affair and sometimes one full of family fights. Give me ham biscuits, a mint julep, Old Bay, crawfish étouffée, fried catfish, my Aunt May’s hushpuppies, and a chess pie.
I’m proud of Southern writing, a genre not afraid to explore the shadows and the weird and to claim them, to claim them fully.
I’m proud of Southern gardens, Southern architecture, and Southern music. Jazz, ya’ll. Bluegrass. Rock and…
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