Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Road to Redemption, Southern Politics, 1869-1879, An Overview on Michael Perman’s Book

I am rereading Michael Perman’s The Road to Redemption for the second time and taking notes more copiously than when I read it the first time. After a bit, I might even read it a third time to pick up more that I might have missed—or points I failed to give enough thought to originally, and I’m sure I’ll always use it for reference.
The book was published in 1984 so it’s over thirty years old and probably familiar to many of you, so please feel free to add comments below. Professor Perman has now been retired a number of years from Chair of the History Department at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC), a position he had yet to attain when he wrote this book. He is British, having arrived in the United States for his graduate studies back in the mid-sixties. He earned his masters in history at UIC and his doctorate at the University of Chicago (1969). His area of expertise is Reconstruction and Southern politics and Road to Redemption is a detailed breakdown of both covering the years 1869-1879.
What I especially like about the work is the emphasis Professor Perman places on the politics of the Democratic Party, vice the popular narrative to recast the malfeasance and tyranny of Republican rule in the South during this period as a noble failure. (Professor Perman may be unprejudiced, but he’s a proper historian. I’m a Southerner, sure of her roots and neither a proper historian nor unprejudiced). And the book is about politics, after all, not an anachronistic judgment of right and wrong vis-à-vis the new-found (since the 1960s), and patently faux and unfair mainstream depiction of the South’s, having been brought to heel for its great sin of slavery, now giving birth to a new evil, racism, held in place by white terror and the ideology of white supremacy during a Reconstruction Period inserted into the long existing pure democracy framed by our ancestors and practiced by the superior North from the git-go. Yes, that is sarcasm you’re reading.
The Republican Party, of course, is addressed in the book; we couldn’t have had Reconstruction without it. In fact, we couldn’t have had...oh, never mind.

Political faction weighs heavy in Road to Redemption. I imagine one of the things that draws a historian interested in political parties to the South during this period is the clear-cut divisions within the parties themselves (Republican, Radical vs Scalawag; Democrat, New Departurist vs Bourbon; and shoot, I guess you might even say the old-line Whigs had loose factions, leaning either toward the unprincipled Republican Party, spawn of Northern Whigs, or leaning to the Democrats who still gave credence to the Constitution and the Republic [this is Charlsie’s analysis of the  Whigs, not Perman’s].
Perman applies Austin Ranney’s terms of “competitive” (promise voters anything, seducing as many as you can into supporting you) and “expressive” (believe in something and “don’t you potential voters even think of joining us if you don’t believe in it, too”) found in Ranney’s Curing the Mischiefs of Faction. These are clearly marked, in both Southern parties of the day, and Professor Perman identifies the factions as such and explains the why of the schisms. His study covers the entire South in general (each state had its own quirks) and makes reference to parallel events in the North as they affected the parties in the South (and vice versa).
More than anything, Road... is a study of the Democratic Party and its struggle for legitimacy in an altered nation where its own principles burdened its revival. This frustration led to its sometime fusion with the Southern Republicans (Scalawags) in an effort to thwart the Radicals’ quest for power (but not necessarily the Radical agenda) and its dalliance with the New Departure which advocated acceptance of Reconstruction and the amendments to the Constitution [that desecrated federalism and formally ended the Founders’ Republic—the brackets being indicative of me, not Perman]; and the subsequent rise of the Bourbon faction that eschewed fusion and New Departure politics and went on to “redeem” the South, or what was left of it. The book has a rich bibliography and copious notes, which may or may not be appreciated by us prejudiced history lovers. Me, I like them.
It is not my purpose here to complete a synopsis of the book; those details I anticipate folding into the narrative of future posts on Reconstruction. This particular post is a reference point, an anchor, so to speak. Professor Perman’s being a Brit among the teachers up in those Yankee educational institutions is an anchor of sorts, too. I’m comfortable with him. His objective is to explain Southern politics, not to judge them. Further, he appears untainted by the mainstream anti-Southern/drunk-on-democracy agenda rewriting “who we are as a nation.” Nor does he come across as pro-Southern. He comes across as a man with an interest in a period (Reconstruction) and a subject (politics) to which he’s devoted a great deal of study and acquired abundant knowledge.
Thanks for reading,

Monday, May 23, 2016

So, What About Those Mississippi Democrats in 1869?

This post is number forty in a historical series studying Mississippi’s Whig/Republican governor and senator, James Alcorn, following the War Between the States and continues the “saga” resulting from the Democratic victory over the Republican progressive constitution framed during the Black & Tan Convention in the winter/spring of 1868, which resulted in a second election. For earlier posts in this Alcorn-driven series see the sidebar on the right.

The Democratic Party (which at the time called itself the Democratic-Conservative Party) is credited for the defeat of the progressive constitution and the Republican ticket in the summer of 1868 and rightly so, but here, too, something is missing from the record. James Lusk Alcorn is on record for stating it was the Scalawag J. L. Wofford, ex-Confederate and founder of the Republican Party in Mississippi, who led the charge that defeated both. It’s important for the reader to understand there was a great divide between Southern Republicans (Scalawags/conservatives) and Northern Republicans (Carpetbaggers/Radicals). It wasn’t a pure delineation. There were Northern conservatives as well as Southern Radicals, but generally the line was clear. Yes, they worked together to their mutual benefit, but the Northerners learned early on that they couldn’t trust the Southern wing when it came to telling Southerners how things were gonna be. The Scalawags wanted a Southern party not a Northern one, and only a brief perusal of the history of those dark days tells the story written between the lines. It also probably explains, at least in part, the “encourage immigration” point in the Carpetbag platform. 

Now a lot of this is my opinion, but for sure Wofford managed his victory over the Radicals with lots of Democratic-Conservative help. He teamed up with like-minds (and by like-minds I mean those opposed to the Radicals and the proscription clauses) within the Democratic leadership, which would have included the Bourbons who would have played a critical role in the 1868 victory. Analyzing what happened in 1869, I’m of the opinion it was the Bourbons who got the constituents to the polls in 1868 and defeated the Republican agenda across the board. This “conservative” alliance rocked the Radicals’ world—for a hiccup in time. And how different things might have been in Mississippi and across the entire South in the decades following the war had there been only a Southern Republican Party opposing the old Democrats, a healthy choice between two diametrically opposed philosophies on the role of state government that from election to election could have kept the overall political atmosphere balanced. That was, in fact, what Alcorn originally envisioned and was what Wofford had created, but the spectre of the arrogant, self-righteous Radical invaders from a despised section of the nation and their ancillary corruption in tandem with the willingness of the Scalawags to cooperate, all too often, with them for pragmatic reasons (and yes, self-aggrandizement) proved the fodder that fueled the Bourbon resurgence and leaves me unable to find do-diddily-squat on the likes of J. L. Wofford today. 

No doubt, at least in my mind, these two “conservative” bodies thought they could pull off the same victory the second time around. As stated in my last post, in June of 1869 the Scalawag Party had invited many from that same cabal to its “steering committee” meeting. How many Democrats attended, I do not know, but I surmise the “regular” Democrat leadership was represented—Bourbons probably showed up to get a feel for what was going down, though I’m confident they already knew. 

As of the spring of 1869, the Democratic-Conservative Party saw little hope for forward progress as things stood, but did organize as such. It declared itself in favor of ratifying the progressive constitution with the proscriptive clauses removed. As early as 22 April, ex-governor A.G. Brown (Democrat) wrote a letter to the Jackson Clarion, which was then favorably discussed by leading newspapers throughout the state as well as meetings of conservatives in different parts of the state. In the letter, Brown proposed:

-acceptance of the Fifteenth Amendment

-guarantee of civil and political rights of the freedmen

-no “partisan” opposition to the new president (Grant)
-hostility to men who come into the state to make mischief (we’re back to the Carpetbagger’s “immigrants” here)

-good will to all who come to Mississippi in good faith to share in the fortunes of the Southern people 

So, this Conservative-Democratic Party platform had much in common with the Scalawag Party platform, and the two groups soon entered negotiations based on their common opposition to the Radicals and the proscription clauses.  

Ah, but here’s the problem: Even though the “regular” Democratic platform had much in common with the Scalawag platform, the Scalawag platform also had much in common with the Radical platform, minus that “mischievous men” business. Simple deductive reasoning, therefore, concludes that the “regular” Democrat platform had much in common with the Radicals, too. I stated in an earlier post that there was more wrong with that progressive constitution than the proscriptive clauses, and the Mississippi taxpayer was aware of it—his Democratic-Conservative leadership had drummed it into him in the months and final weeks leading up to the election in 1868, if nothing else. And the Fifteenth Amendment was a desecration, as was the Fourteenth, to the Constitution. One year later that same leadership is saying neither really mattered, but getting back into the Union at any price and reentry under present conditions was the best to be hoped for 

On 7 August 1869, 33 (Democratic) papers across the state endorsed the policy of cooperation with the Scalawags and urged the people to “support” the plan, an appeal echoed on 9 September when the Democratic Party officially announced its intention not to field a ticket, but to support the Scalawag ticket and the progressive constitution with the proscriptive clauses removed. The name agreed upon for the gubernatorial candidate of the conservative Republicans (the coalition, actually) was Lewis Dent, brother-in-law to Ulysses Simpson Grant. Oh my, the beds politicians fall in and out of. “Ain’t” no wonder, is it, that they disgust the people so? 

Unfortunately, there was too much assumption between the Scalawags and the Democratic-Conservatives as to what was and was not acceptable to the Mississippi taxpayer in that Scalawag platform, and my bet is that constitution most certainly was an issue as was the Fifteenth Amendment. That platform was a capitulation to everything they’d fought, suffered, and died opposing between 1861 and 1865. The Conservative-Democratic Party attitude had degenerated to: “Well, boys, we did lose the war.” Not the best expression to make in the face of a proud and stubborn people who never stopped believing they were right and the antics of their occupiers reinforced that conviction every day, and who had, only a year before at those same leaders’ urging, rallied to defeat and expose the forces of tyranny for what they were. Now they were supposed to capitulate? Talk about surrender in the wake of victory! 

The “Bourbons,” the old marginalized Democrats, were waiting in the wings, watching all this. It’s my personal belief they were the force who actually got the rank and file to the polls the year before. One year later, these stubborn leaders have not capitulated to exigency, to the sacrifice of principle in return for representation in a corrupt, tyrannical, and unconstitutional Congress. So on 20 October 1869, the Democrats opposed to the “Dent Movement” held a convention in Canton, Mississippi (Madison County) north of Jackson stating the Democratic Party could not be committed to support either wing of the Republican Party. The statement further said that “this” leadership would not tell people what to do, but the “opposed-to-the-Dent-Movement” faction would remain firm in its devotion to state rights and leave responsibility for the establishment of Republican hegemony in Mississippi to rest where it properly belonged. But, the faction further stated, that in view of the dissention within the Democratic Party itself it would not put forth a candidate in the 1869 election. The Democratic Party, like the Republican, had split. With the Democrats, the split was over principle, or lack of. With the Republicans, who were generally lacking in principle, particularly in regard to the U. S. Constitution and the Founder’s Republic, the split was over which branch would get the spoils. 

Much has been written on the factions within the Republican Party in the South during Reconstruction to the detriment of historical detail on what was happening within the Democratic Party during these years—not just in Mississippi, but across the South. Similar images exist in every Southern state [shoot, perhaps the Northern ones, too, but today, no one seems to care]. With the idealistic deflection by the left on the faux narrative of slavery and “democracy” being “who we are as a nation” it might never be sorted out. Indeed, the perspective is disappearing. Southerners, certainly, should not let that happen.  

What we’re seeing here within the Democratic-Conservative Party is a movement known as the New Departure. As of 1870, it was in vogue across the South and would also come to dominate the Northern  wing of the Democratic Party.

Actually, I think it still dominates the Northern party only now it’s exponentially worse.
Kidding aside, it basically advocated acceptance of Reconstruction and the Republican program. I plan to delve into more detail about the Southern Democrats and the internal turmoil caused by the New Departure in my next post.

Thanks for reading,









Monday, May 16, 2016

Excuse Me? Who Doesn’t Know the History?

A post in the “Skewing Southern History Series”

I recently published my sixth fiction novel, Honor’s Banner, a sequel to my post-Civil War Gothic, Camellia Creek, and was dismayed to see that my first Amazon review was a one-star. “[B]ut if she did research, she translated it to her own version and trying to rewrite history,” the reviewer says of my Historical Note at the end of Honor’s Banner 

If the review had been a critique of my writing, I would have simply let the matter drop. I’ve learned there’s no way to defend oneself against a critique on craft without appearing gaseous on sour grapes. This reviewer, however, chose to attack the historical accuracy of my work affording me not only an excellent example supporting the theme of my recent posts on the subject of skewing Southern history but also providing me the opportunity to rebut the reviewer’s negative critique. Hereupon, I risk public censure: 

This challenge was put forth by someone who believes it was, and I quote, “Johnson (Lincoln’s Vice President) who made the south a mess after the war because he was a Southerner and he tried to make it so the Plantation owners could use Blacks to rebuild the south even though they were free, by paying little o[r] nothing for wages and generally keep them slaves even though they were free. Blacks were murdered by the thousands in the south after the war, but she [she being me] doesn’t mention that at all.”  

This reviewer’s understanding of Reconstruction is based on revisionist history promoted over the past fifty years. Johnson, a mule-headed man from east Tennessee hated the plantation elite. His falling out with Congress was actually due to his attempt to carryout Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction (not rebuild the plantation economy, but one of reconciliation), which stumbled in the face of the Radical’s plan of centralization, nullification of state rights, and the demise of Federalism as the Founders meant for it to be. A strong argument can and has been made that Lincoln’s plan cost him his life. I don’t place a lot of stock in Lincoln, but he was not a Radical. Johnson, who the Radicals believed was in their camp, primarily because of his overt enmity to the plantation system, proved a ringer to the Radical cause. He was easier to turn public opinion against than Lincoln would have been, though, so they let him slide (or missed him if one buys into the conspiracy theory of Atzerodt being part of Booth’s team the night Lincoln was murdered and the ancillary belief the Radicals were behind the assassination. I have no opinion either way regarding that particular conspiracy theory.). Nevertheless, the Radicals neutralized Johnson in the fall 1866 elections when the Radicals gained control of Congress.  

As for paying the freed slaves, the Southern economy was in shambles. England, the South’s primary foreign cotton market, had, with the encouragement of Washington and New England mercantilists, cultivated new sources of raw cotton. There was no significant amount of capital to pay anyone until a cotton crop came in—that meant labor with a promise to pay—and the laborers weren’t interested in working and no one made them work. Johnson couldn’t have replicated the plantation economy even if he’d wanted to.  

And those thousands of murdered blacks? I don’t know if a body count was ever made covering twelve years of Reconstruction, and I would be suspect of any number thrown  out there—including the reviewer’s “thousands,” but yes, many were killed: by white Democrats, by white Republicans, and Freedmen killed one another. They killed white folks, too, and white folks killed one another. Some were killed for political reasons, some in self defense. Some murders were real, some were fabricated for fodder in Northern newspapers. At the time of my story, the great majority of Federal troops in the South were Negro and when those troops were disbanded in the spring and summer of 1866 they were trained soldiers. In the years going into Congressional Reconstruction these men (who were all born and raised in the South) made up the bulk of the armed militias supporting the puppet Republican administrations, themselves backed with Federal bayonets. What was happening in the South during these years were pockets of armed warfare. The Negro was not innocent and he was not helpless, no more so than his white counterpart anyway, who, I should add, he outnumbered in Mississippi and South Carolina and made up a significant plurality in the rest of the South. All in all, most of both races survived, actually managing to remain halfway decent to each other despite the aggravation of Northern interlopers.  

But whatever the overall body count, the time period covered by my two novels combined is six months, October 1865-March 1866. Presidential Reconstruction in Mississippi ended in December 1865. At that time, things had begun to unravel between Congress and the man they thought was on the Radical side (Johnson), the fall elections of 1866 are a half year away and the Reconstruction Acts, officially issuing-in Congressional Reconstruction are a year down the road. The murders and alleged fraud and intimidation which are today the lore upon which the righteousness of Reconstruction is woven (and which are, I believe, what the reviewer is basing her critique on) are in the future. The white South is trying to find its footing, the Freedmen either remain on the plantations where they lived prior to and during the war for the reason that it was home, it was relatively safe, and they cared for their white folks and their white folks cared for them. Those who left did so because the plantation was either abandoned by its demoralized and defeated owners (assuming they were still alive) or they believed freedom included the freedom to do as they pleased, and that included doing nothing. These indigents numbered in the hundreds of thousands and they found succor in the larger communities secured by Union troops (who, I reiterate, were mostly black), living off the taxpayer—including the Northern one. I know the history, sans slant, which on close inspection of modern works doesn’t add up.  

Likewise, I’m not sure what to make of the reviewer’s take on my characters:  “...she has taken history and twisted it to make it sound like all who supported the north, anti-slavery, President Lincoln (in other words all things Northern) evil and the Southerners were all wonderful people who treat their slaves so wonderful that they continued to serve them after the War.” 

Did she expect me to make my hero a slave-beating, murdering bigot? Hardly sympathetic, and her implication is not true. The hero of Honor’s Banner is a United States Marine, who honored his oath primarily in support of his Blue-grass Kentucky family. The primary antagonists in both stories are Southerners. Yes, my story is prejudiced in favor of the South, but no more so than most works of escape fiction that happen to portray the hero as the “good” guy. Oh duh. I am a Southerner; my ancestors were Southerners. My pro-Southern stance on history is my brand; other than a love of storytelling, it is the reason I write.  

No, what the reviewer finds fault with is that I have dared to challenge the current liberal orthodoxy of Southern treason and intransigence by making heroes of unrepentant Southerners, who refuse to acknowledge the South’s sins against the faux idolatry of Union and democracy both symbolized by that boogeyman, slavery. Or, perhaps it’s simply that I’ve made the South and Southerners—repentant or not—heroic at all. Guess that makes me guilty, too. 

Well, I can handle it.
Thanks for reading,





Monday, May 9, 2016

The 1869 Mississippi Republican Platform(s): So, What’s the Difference? Discerning Taxpayers Want to Know

This post is number thirty-nine in a historical series discussing Mississippi’s Whig/Republican governor and senator, James Alcorn, following the War Between the States and continues the “saga” resulting from the Democratic victory over the Republican progressive constitution framed during the Black & Tan Convention in the winter/spring of 1868, which resulted in a second election. For earlier posts in this Alcorn-driven series, (best read in sequence from oldest to most recent), see the sidebar on the right.

On 23 June 1869 the National Union Republican Party of Mississippi (and like-minded leaders of the Democrats, old-Whigs, and the unaligned who participated by invitation) met in Jackson and took steps to “promote general interests of the state.” To clarify, this was technically a Scalawag convention. [If you’re wondering why the Scalawags bear the name of the national party vice the Carpetbaggers, it’s because J. L. Wofford, a Mississippian, founded the Republican Party in Mississippi early on, before the Carpetbaggers were established.] These were the men who organized the defeat of the progressive constitution and the Republican ticket in the summer of 1868 and they were conspicuous in their opposition to the “committee of sixteen”, following that group to Washington in the early winter of 1868-1869 to counter Radical demands that Congress declare the Republican defeat a victory. Now, in June 1869, they appointed an executive committee and adopted a platform of principles: 

-that our state should be reconstructed in accordance with the acts of congress (that would be the Reconstruction Acts beginning in 1867) and the amendments passed by Congress

-toleration, liberality, and forbearance will inspire confidence, restore harmony, and bring peace and prosperity

-solicited the aid of very citizen, black, white, rich, or poor

-expressed unfaltering devotion to the National Union Republican Party (that would be the party in control back in Washington, folks, and the wing in control was the Radicals)

-endorsed the Fifteenth Amendment

-deprecated all attempts at further disfranchisement other than required by the Constitution and U.S. law (and, as an adjunct, declared that the Mississippi Reconstruction Convention’s attempt to bring the state back into the Union using the proscriptive clauses rendered it unworthy of respect

-thanked President Grant for rejecting the progressive Mississippi constitution

-voted to put the platform to the people

-called a state convention to nominate candidates (the group made no nominations at this time)

The Radical or Carpetbag wing met on 2 July 1869 in Jackson and framed a seventeen point platform: 

-unfaltering devotion to the National Union Republican Party (that would be the same group of Radicals in Washington)

-favored an impartial and economic administration of government

-free speech for all

-free schools

-tax reform

-equality for all before the law

-removal of disabilities, which the convention qualified, as soon as the “spirit of toleration” now dawning is so firmly established that Congress recognizes it as such to justify universal amnesty

-universal suffrage (a bit oxymoronic, don’t you think in reference to the previous point—but this is a reference to the Fifteenth amendment and to insuring the Negro vote)

-encourage immigration (I think they were talking about bringing in more white Yankees to lead recalcitrant white Southerners who didn’t know how to govern and the ignorant Negro who knew nothing about almost everything)

-endorsed President Grant

-expressed confidence in Ames (the same man who as provisional governor had supported them during the failed election of 1868 and who now, serving as both the commanding general of the Fourth Military District and provisional governor, has set up the upcoming election. The reader did note that in the Scalawag platform expression of confidence for Adlebert Ames was absent, right?)

-eulogized Congress as the assembled wisdom and “expressed will” of the nation [Does that turn your stomach, or not?] 

This group then organized for the upcoming election and adjourned without nominating a state ticket. 

Okay, now what about those Democrats? Next time.
Thanks for reading,



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

“True For the Cause of Liberty”

A post in the “Southern History Series”

Not long after reading Ilario Pantano’s Grand Theft History, I came across the history of the Second Spartans, a South Carolina patriot militia regiment formed during the American Revolution. The beauty of the Second Spartans is that it was made up of  men drawn from the northwest section of South Carolina (Union, Chester, Fairfield, York counties/districts to name a few) who were there during those critical years when the British initiated their Southern strategy against the colonies of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, and they were there at that last critical juncture beginning with Patrick Ferguson’s defeat at King’s Mountain, which Lord Clinton, commander-in-chief of British forces, said put in motion a “chain of events that followed each other in regular succession until they at last ended in the total loss of America.” This timely publication of Oscar and Catherine Gilbert’s True For The Cause of Liberty dovetailed sweetly with Pantano’s book. 

The co-authors’ individual talents dovetail nicely, too, which, no doubt, explains this exceptional work; he at one time a Marine Corps artilleryman with an interest in battlefield history, she a genealogist. Together, their interests testify to hours upon hours of research required for deciphering the battle actions—some, such as Cowpens, with contradictory accounts—and the painstaking scouring of pension applications and family histories, letters, and diaries reiterated in the book to create a remarkable look at what proved to be the strategic scenario that convinced Lord Cornwallis he really did need to get out of the Carolinas and ultimately convinced mother England she’d be better served without this entire war.  

I stated in an earlier post that I knew the war in the South to have been particularly nasty. This book, drawn from the statements of the men who actually fought it, leaves the reader with no doubt as to just how nasty. It also speaks of dedication, determination, and sacrifice. In their struggle against the king and his agents, these men had to leave their families vulnerable to their loyalist counterparts, British regulars, and Britain’s Indian allies, and there were many, many militias throughout the South, so take this sketch of the Second Spartans and magnify it a hundred times. It was no easy decision and no small sacrifice, and the bloody battles, skirmishes, revenge killings, retribution, hangings, tortures, rapes, and pillaging went on, constantly, for years—even well after the war. 

For the purposes of this blog post—one in an ongoing series to do justice to the South’s role in the founding of this nation and in securing that nation in the aftermath, and to emphasize my unwavering belief in the Confederacy’s place as the true link to our Founders’ lost Republic, I direct readers to the “Author’s Preface.” There note is made of the systematic marginalization of Southern history since the mid-nineteenth century (before South Carolina seceded). After the secession crisis and the South’s defeat, the South’s role in the Revolutionary War was relegated to only a few lines of text in mainstream history books, and it’s been shrinking since.  

To their credit, for it’s not the purpose of their book, the only place the authors point out the current injustice being fomented against the South is in the preface. [Pointing out the current injustice is my purpose in writing this post.] That said, general lovers of American history and of the Revolution—and I refer to those without an agenda either for or against the South—will find much of value in this well-written, fast-paced work. Truly, there is never a dull moment, and there is so much to learn and questions answered—like “How, when all the battles were fought and won in the north, did Cornwallis manage to get himself surrounded in Yorktown, Virginia? And why, with Cornwallis’ surrender, did the British just up and say, “We don’t want to play anymore, we’re going home”? I mean, really, our history books make that surrender of Cornwallis sound as if we’d razed London itself. He surrendered one army. Clinton was still alive and kicking in New York. 

Yes, there’s a lot more to the Revolutionary story on, actually, both sides of the Atlantic, and it’s been missing from the mainstream for a long time now—and a big chunk of that missing narrative lies in the South.  

Thanks for reading,