Monday, June 4, 2012

What is the New South?

At first, the "New South" appears to be a confusing term. Vague and indecisive at best, the concept of the New South has a remarkable ability to confuse both young and old. Exactly what is the New South, and why does it seem so out of reach? Perhaps what is its greatest weakness is its greatest strength. Maybe the "slipperiness" of this definition suits the term better than any dictionary could.

The New South began with the end of the Civil War. It continues to this day and includes every single aspect of Southern existence since the surrender of the Confederate forces in 1865, marking the end of America's bloodiest conflict. The New South is everything from that year on. It is the Great Depression of the 1930s, the rise of the textile mills in the late 1800s, and the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. It continues to the present, and is made up by everyone and everything in this region. It is the daily commute of a wealthy banker to the center city; it is the financial struggle of a recent immigrant, working to make ends meet; and it is the story of a young child attending school, learning about her past and growing excited about her future. The New South is quite broad, yet incredibly specific. It is you and it is me.

This is our mission here at Levine Museum of the New South. We seek to educate, spread knowledge, build community, create dialogue and unify those who inhabit the New South. We form bridges between the shared past of the New South, as well as the unique aspects of individual lives. The museum promotes the New South in the larger community, helping connect what has happened with what is happening, providing greater light on what will happen. The Museum embraces the past, present and future of the New South.

Hopefully you will join us. The invitation is on the table.

Do you have any thoughts on the matter? What does the New South mean to you? Please feel free to comment and share below!

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