Commentary by Joan Hough
Ah! Southern men! Southern Men, for the most part, are marvelous specimens of human nature. I contend that there are no males on this planet superior to those found in the South. I think I qualify as an expert on the subject. I grew up sitting in the laps of eight Southern farm boys & men— my dad and his brothers, my mom’s siblings, a great uncle, and one super grandfather. My father and his brothers, in a family still crawling out of war-caused, Confederate poverty, were the first in the family since "the war" to be able to attend college. As the first grandchild, I was spoiled rotten by those really fine specimens of bright Southern masculinity and even allowed to sit, the only girl child, at the first “sitting” of the Hough men at the long dining table on my grandfather’s Louisiana farm.
That was the time when I, judging all males, by my beloved ones, thought good men were supposed to smell of gun powder and wet dogs and earn their living by the sweat of their brows.
Those good men of mine taught me that the world was filled with gentlemen put on this earth just to look after all of us young and old ladies. It took a number of years before I discovered that every male person capable of growing whiskers on his chin was not, necessarily, a gentleman, even worse—was not necessarily a Southern gentleman.
Fortunately, my life was filled with enough who were –and, thus, I was, largely, shielded from scumbags. In addition, I was never taught to believe my gender inferior to that of males–in fact, I was taught that I was superior. My thought, when some weird women started their battle for equality was, Lordy, Lordy! Those women are going to fool around and make me equal!
Southern men do know how to make a woman feel special!
Of course I’m not the only feminine admirer of Southern men folks. I recall an occasion when a female Yankee co-worker of mine, in front of an entire room of females, said to me, "Why do Southern men have such beautiful voices and Southern women have such ugly ones? " Her admiration for our male population carefully noted, I smiled and responded in most melodious Claiborne Parish, Louisiana accent, "Odd that you should say that– Yankee men tell me just the opposite." The Southern gals in the room clapped. We were all, however, pleased that a Yankee gal agreed with us about the voices of our men. I could not avoid, however, informing the group that Winston Churchill, himself, one of the world’s greatest orators once stated "The most beautiful voice in the world is that of an educated Southern woman," and "The perfect speech would consist of the diction of the east, the vigor of the mid-west and the melody of the South."
All of this is not to say that Southernism cannot exist even in Northerners. Many Southern girls can testify that their Yankee spouses have been converted to the noble "cause." Men all over America are now devoted to not only lovely Southern ladies, but have developed a certain fondness for turnip greens and cornbread and are learning to dip said corn bread into pot liquor. Why, some of the guys have become addicted to fried okra and even grits, and that says it all!
Persons, unfortunate enough to have been born and reared in locales other than the South, are incapable of understanding the intensity of the love we Southern "natives" have for our land of peaches, pecans and black-eyed peas. We Southerners hear the melody of "Dixie" and our hearts echo the beat. Northerners have nothing in their music repertoire to engender the strength of feeling that is ours, just as they have nothing in their culture to match the reverence we hold for our Confederate ancestors and the beautiful flag under which they bled and died for our homes and for the very dirt beneath our feet. No, Northerners may never understand why we Southern whites feel we, also, have rights and they include the right to honor all of our flags.
Those "other" folks, however, are at least beginning to comprehend a wee bit of the feelings we have for those of our blood who stood up against the overwhelming odds of Yankee invaders during that War of Northern Aggression.
And how do I know this? — because of the vast growth of interest in Southern genealogy. Now, due to the Internet, genealogy is the number one hobby in the world. Genealogy has even precipitated scholarly research into our Southern past at a level never seen previously in the history of America. As Americans learn the identities of their blood kin participants in the War Between the States, wonder is born and doubt begins to seek truths not taught in public schools. Even Yankees are beginning to realize that Lincoln was neither an integrationist, nor a “liberator” except by default.
Southerners are the natural leaders in the exposé of the fallacies found in Northern manufactured history of the South.. Because our ancestors were just a hop, skip, and jump in time from the big break away from the British Empire, Southerners felt justified when they told the North to leave them alone and let them go. The South, clubbed almost to its knees with taxes by the U.S. government, was filled with strong memories of the highly similar situation which caused the American "secession” from England, so the South fought for Southern Independence– a fact hotly denied by educators brain-washed to believe the emancipation fantasy story.
Somehow the educators and the educated, have forgotten that at the time of the War, an uncivil one if ever there was one, there were still alive in the South, men who had lived through the Revolution able to pass on their understanding of the cause of that first war — independence and freedom from unjust taxation. Even the Revolution war deceased still had living children able to recall the words and ideals of their dead fathers, grandfathers, and other relatives.
One must remember that since the time of the settling of the South, we inhabitants of it have placed great value on the oral recounting of Southern history to our offspring. In my own instance, my Great Aunt Georgia Emmie Hough Beck shared with our family, orally and in writing, her knowledge of the Hough participation in the War Between the States….
From her I learned that my young Hough ancestor was buried by a Yank cannon ball during the Battle of Vicksburg. To my good fortune, he lived, dug out and became a progenitor of me! My Great Aunt learned the story at her grandfather’s knee. From my mother’s kin, I learned of the involvement of her two Confederate direct ancestors and how they, raggedy and starving, walked home after the war on bloody bare feet.
Many, many of Confederate- Southerners had no interest in slavery, but they had strong interests in repelling invaders on Southern land– attacking Southern homes. Slaves were, however, property sold to Southerners by Northerners. Only Northern Clipper ships brought black folks to this continent. Southern ones did not. Yankees sold the slaves to the South and filled their pockets with Southern gold.
Had the North, once it got the emancipation bug, merely, used some of the Southern paid tax monies and reimbursed the South, the slaves would have been freed and there could have been an easy transfer from slavery to paid employment. In fact, a voluntary, Christian inspired, freeing movement had already begun in some areas. Bible holding, praying Southerners were freeing and paying blacks throughout the South. But few people are aware of this, just as few people are aware that two of the holders of the largest number of slaves found in Louisiana were both black people. Their names have been published in Louisiana State documents.
Few folks are aware that New York City had its own slave-operated plantations. How little most Americans know about America’s true history. How dark their thoughts because of ignorance! How easy it is for Northerners and some misguided Southern residents to continue to believe the ”Myth of White Southerners’ Hate for Anyone Black.”
Georgia is at the forefront of the enlightening process. Here’s hoping the rest of the South will soon follow suit.