28 Aug 2017

Southern Heritage to Be Proud Of …

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bobby's World, Culture, Forgiveness, Humor, Journey, Martin Luther King, Personal, Race Relations, Slavery, Unity

Some one sent me a rather scalding letter (PM on FB) asserting that I am a liberal hater of the South. This is because I support removing Confederate monuments from publicly paid for land and placing them in appropriate contexts such as a museum or national battlefield (like Shiloh, Vickesburg, Gettysburg, etc).

I do not support the mob destruction of such monuments. I do not think we need to rewrite the past.  We need to be honest about the past. So I do not believe in rewriting but I do repudiate the “heritage” associated with such monuments.

But to repudiate slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, etc is not a repudiation of the South. Unless you believe those things are equivalent to the South. But I for one do not.

The Heritage of the South the World Wishes it Had …

But I am far from liberal and far from a hater of the South. I am in fact quite proud to be from Alabama. So since reading my “love note” twenty minutes ago I decided to share the wonderful people, places and genuine heritage that I love and am quite proud of. There is plenty about the South to be proud of.

Jesse Owens from Oakville, Alabama. Trashed the Nazis and became a 4x gold medalist in 1936 Olympics in Berlin itself. Be proud that black man from Alabama defeated white supremacy in front of Adolf Hitler.

The Tuskeegee Airmen, the famous Red Tails, were from Alabama. Be proud of them.

Johnny Cash from Kingsland, Arkansas. A bad boy most of his life but what a musician … and promoter of justice. Be proud of the Ghost Rider in the clouds, not just for his music but for his stance against racism and injustice.

Jazz, the Blues and Rock n’Roll are from the South! Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, James Brown, Otis Redding, Jim Morrison, Louis Armstrong, Tom Petty, ZZ Top, W.C. Handy, Janis Joplin,  and some one named Elvis … all Southern. I’m proud of the fact that the South pretty much created music as we know it.

Can there be better food than New Orleans? Beignets! Hello! BBQ. Red beans & rice. Muffalettas. Po-Boys. Popeye’s. Tabasco sauce. Be proud of it.

Martin Luther King Jr, is a southern hero from Atlanta, Georgia. Name a bigger hero than the man from the South.

Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and even Jack Daniels, Jim Beam and George Dickel are all Southern. I’m proud of it.

Helen Keller is from Tuscumbia, Alabama. One of the greatest stories of our time comes from the South.

Hank Aaron, Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks, and Harper Lee are all American heroes from Alabama. Celebrate with pride these people who changed our world for the better.

Tom Wolfe, William Faulkner, John Grisham, Flannery O’Conner, Willie Morris and Mark Twain are all Southern writers that the world continues to read.

The Beach Boys sang about California Girls but have you been to the South? In case you did not know Beyonce, Eva Mendez, Eva Longoria, Sandra Bullock, and Megan Fox … all Southern.

Blanche Bruce, Robert Smalls, and John R. Lynch are all from the South. If you do not know who these heroes are then it is time to learn. The obstacles they overcame and what they accomplished is something to be proud, I am.

George Washington brought the British army to its knees on Southern soil at the Battle of Yorktown (in Virginia).

The Crimson Tide is from the South! Roll Tide!

George Wallace, Governor of the great state of Alabama stood on the steps of the University of Alabama with a baseball bat yelling “Segregation Today. Segregation Tomorrow. Segregation Forever!”  George Wallace shows that a true Southerner can not only admit she or he was wrong but even change.  After he was shot in 1972, Wallace underwent a “baptism.”  He died to the racist nonsense and came out fighting for equal rights and when he died Coretta Scott King and even Jesse Jackson attended his funeral.  True Southerners have COURAGE.  They face the facts and change.  What a courageous legacy.  That is something to be extremely proud of.

Southern Culture is the original multicultural mix.  From the Tennessee River to the sandy beaches of Florida. From the Bayou of Louisiana to the Smokey Mountains. From Beale Street to Orange Blossom Trail. Cultural diversity is the very definition of Southern.

Millions of Reasons for Pride

There are millions of reasons to be proud of the South and to be a “Southerner.” There are genuine heroes in the very best American tradition of opposing tyranny.

There are are poets, novelists and scientists that have changed the world for the better.

There are athletes that make us cheer and food and drink to celebrate with.

And we have music that the entire world sings, dances and rocks too!

These are just some of the Southern traditions and culture that are incredibly rich, incredibly diverse, and worthy of celebration.

As Southerners lets celebrate with gusto love and triumph over all evil … let us run away from those things that tarnish our heritage. As Hezekiah got rid of a symbol because it was hurting the nation, so we can too (go read 2 Kings 18.1-5. It is not difficult to make an analogy to our day).

Graven images singing the glory of slavery tarnishes what we stand for.

This is my response to an ignorant note.

One Response to “Southern Heritage to Be Proud Of …”

  1. Tim Brinley Says:

    Sweet!

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