Read It Now: Summer 2014
The Summer 2014 Issue brings you ghost trains, lost women, and strong drink—plus, the politics of music, mourning, and the modern South. We look at public and private stories of love and betrayal, of honoring the dead, of family histories finally written and spirits gratefully savored.
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Taking Strong Drink
by Bill Koon
“Some devout Baptists complained that there was too much booze in a mini bottle for one drink; the rest of us complained that there wasn’t enough.”
Lindsay Byron tells the story of a northern bride, forcibly institutionalized in the Alabama State Hospital for the Insane by her physician husband because she was “unwilling or unable to perform the brand of femininity compulsory for a woman of her class and race.” You can read Scott Huffard’s account of North Carolina train wrecks, ghost trains, and the capitalist gospel of the New South. Natalie Minik’s photo essay “Teenage Pastime” documents Georgia Piedmont adolescents’ “enthusiastic confirmation” of the culture they come from, or their “bold rejection of the culture they grew out of.” Mark A. Johnson explains how the 1909 Memphis mayoral election demonstrates W. C. Handy’s line that “the best notes made the most votes,” even though political music often continued the tradition of exploited black labor.
Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts chronicle how the once-Democratic South experienced a gradual “partisan realignment” into a Republican stronghold, revealed most extensively through representation in state legislatures. And Donna Tolley Corriher shares some fascinating “snippets” from her research into the history of her West Virginia coal mining family.
Images: Amy C. Evans, Estelle Was Going to Bake a Pound Cake, But She Decided to Pour Herself a Glass of Scotch Instead (Butterscotch), 2007, acrylic on wood, 11.25″ x 12.25″, courtesy of Amy C. Evans (amycevans.com).