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The Dim-witted South

November 2, 2020

Graham, NC was the site of repressive use of tear gas against African American demonstrators marching yesterday in Graham.

The year 2020 has seen similar acts by authorities against African American citizens. Apparently Graham NC didn’t get the message to “cool it” or didn’t feel it necessary to restrain its police.

Graham, after all, once was a segregated city where the founder of the local newspaper was a veteran of service in the Confederate States of America.

Love for “The South,” as a culture based on ideas about race and acceptance of segregation, dies slowly, especially in small Southern towns. The actions of local police in Graham are representative.

I lived in Dallas, Texas, for three years from 1969-1972, where the traditions of the South and its distinctive literature were honored at the University of Dallas. My colleagues and friends, especially, Melvin E. Bradford, was a “Wallace Democrat,” and Tom Landess supported my work by publishing my history of political theory. My university colleagues in the Literature Department were heirs to the works of William Faulkner, Allen Tate, Caroline Gordon, Katherine Anne Porter, and Robert Penn Warren.

Indeed, I found Miss Gordon most charming when she visited UD.

Even up North at the University of Pittsburgh, as an undergraduate I had read some works of Allen Tate and had a role as Willy Stark in a production by Ralph Allen of All the King’s Men.

Though a “Yankee,” I was accepted by Mel and comfortable at UD, especially when the University invited Eric Voegelin to teach one semester. That is the honorable “South,” not the dim-witted, ill-educated South of Graham, North Carolina.

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