“I love the South in general, Arkansas in particular, and the Delta in spite
Now I love them all in absentia. Someday soon I will love them all in memoriam!”
“. . . laborers in Arkansas and parts of Mississippi . . .
still call the farm up the road the ‘plantation.’”
—List of recommended books from Deep South Magazine on 11/11/15
In my previous recent posts I have presented updates and tidbits on subjects such as the WWII Japanese-American incarceration camps in my native Southeast Arkansas, a book about voyages down the Mississippi River, and changes in the production of cotton and the disappearance of the Cotton Kingdom in Arkansas and the Delta.
As a somewhat change of subject matter, in this post I offer updates and tidbits about the South in general, with special emphasis on preserving Southern speech; Arkansas in particular, with a link to a list of subjects about the Natural State; and the Delta in retrospect, especially steamboats on the Mississippi River, the Japanese-American Internment Museum and the Japanese-American Memorial Garden in McGehee, the Delta Heritage Trail, and Arkansas City, all near the Mississippi River.
Note: To enlarge the photos in this post, click on each photo individually.
“The problem with the South has always seemed to be its
long history of good manners and bad judgment!”
“I come from just far enough South to temper my inherent Southern fatalism with hope
—which is, of course, the worst kind.”
Besides these two samples from my many collected quotes about the South (mine and others’) I tried to keep this section brief in order to devote more space to the other subjects in this post.
However, I would be remiss if I did not insert this link sent to me recently by my McGehee High School classmate Patsy McDermott Scavo. It is a YouTube video of Arkansan Glenn Campbell singing one of his most popular hits: “Southern Nights.”
The video includes beautiful scenes from the state of Georgia, from whose loving bosom my Peacock ancestors migrated to my beloved Southeast Arkansas “just before the Late Unpleasantness Between the States”—thus narrowly averting an unwelcome visit from Union General William Tecumseh Sherman on his famous/infamous “March to the Sea.”
To listen to this classic Southern tune, my tribute to both my fellow Arkansan Glenn Campbell and the South which he praises, click on the title above or on the actual URL in the Sources section at the end of this post.
To view a video of my favorite version of the classic tune “Georgia on My Mind” as sung by Ray Charles (the theme song of reruns of the popular TV show “Designing Women” which got me through a bout with lymphoma back in 1991-92), click on the title or on the URL in the Sources section of this post.
After composing this brief segment on the South, I received from Patsy McDermott Scavo a link to an article about Southern speech from the Web site titled The Bitter Southerner. Since Southern speech is one of my favorite subjects (which I have examined in several of my previous posts), naturally I felt compelled to insert this review of the article about the defense of the disappearing Southern accent.
In Defense of Southern Speech
“‘Everyone has an instinct to celebrate where they’re from, where they were raised,’ says [Professor Walt] Wolfram. ‘We’ve got this need to come from good places. Southern dialect is part of that heritage–our society is so discriminatory that it’s disguised that fact.'”
–Article titled “With Drawl,”
The Bitter Southerner Web site
As noted in the quotation above, on the Web site titled The Bitter Southerner, writer Laura Relyea interviews famed Southern linguist Walt Wolfram and conveys from him much entertaining and informative insight about Southern accents. Part of that insight involves the effect of a Southern accent on the ones who speak with one and especially on those who listen to them.
Any Southerner with a drawl or a twang in the voice is subject to derision, particularly when we venture outside our region. Folks hear the accent and the conclusions come quickly, even if they’re unspoken: We’re stupid. We’re slow. We’re backward. That’s why the work of N.C. State professor Walt Wolfram matters so much. He’s made it his mission to preserve the languages and dialects of the South. Today, writer Laura Relyea presents a great celebration and fierce defense of our twangs. . . .
“Linguistic discrimination is the most socially acceptable form of discrimination in the United States,” Wolfram told me during our first phone interview this past July. His work is focused on debunking the misperceptions we make based on dialect—by educating and spreading their knowledge through the documentaries they make, by speaking publicly and developing museum and cultural center installations to help spread awareness. . . .
Though it would take a lot for the Southern accent to disappear completely, the combination of the negative stereotypes that accompany a strong twang, along with the influx of non-natives from all over the world to urban areas, is causing the language to change rapidly. . . .
To this day, ill-founded assumptions are made about intellect and social value based only on the sound of one’s voice. Wolfram and his colleagues are doing everything within their power to change that: talk by talk, recording by recording, presentation by presentation.
To read the entire article and to view several videos illustrating various Southern dialects, go to:
Arkansas Sites to Visit
“Oh, I may wander but when I do,
I will never be far from you.
You’re in my blood,
And I know you’ll always be.
You run deep in me.”
—Wayland D. Holyfield
Quoted on Web site titled:
“Only In Your State: Arkansas”
The quote above from a popular video of the song, “Arkansas: You Run Deep in Me,” by Wayland D. Holyfield, contains many glorious photos of fall foliage in Arkansas. Incidentally, this video and song helped me get through a bout with pancreatitis back in 1988. I have used it several times in my past blog posts about Arkansas as home.
The following introductory paragraph to the entry titled “Everyone Misses These 10 Things When They Leave Arkansas” expresses my own feelings about my beloved and much-missed homeland:
Go anywhere in the world that you want to go. See all of the world’s sights as you please. Whatever you do, though, good Arkansan, you’ll always miss a part of what you’ll always call home. There’s a certain feeling an Arkansas native gets when driving back from a road trip and seeing the familiar sign at the state line, or when you’re flying home into one of the state’s airports; you’re home again, and it feels good. For those that leave Arkansas permanently, though—there will be certain things you’ll miss. (italics mine)
To visit the blog site itself titled “Only in Your State: Arkansas,” go to:
To visit this particular entry about the ten things people miss about Arkansas, which is one of my favorites from among the forty-plus entries on this site, click here or on the actual URL in the Sources section.
My other favorites are:
And my absolute favorite of all (which is understandable knowing my interest in the past) is titled “20 Rare Photos That Will Take You Straight to the Past.”
To summarize that entry and my feelings about the past, the introduction to this entry reads:
There’s a fascination with photographs from the past, and it’s definitely an understandable quirk! History is preserved in a number of ways, but it’s a great thing when one is able to visually connect with prior generations when just reading about these long-changed locales isn’t enough. These vintage photos from Arkansas, taken during the 1930s and 1940s [the days of my Arkansas childhood], are an awesome trip through an era that holds a huge number of reminiscent stories and memories.” (italics mine)
Though this site about Arkansas is obviously written by someone much younger and much more knowledgeable about modern Arkansas than I am—or ever will be again—and though I do not necessarily enjoy or agree with everything written in the individual entries (such as the writer’s assessment of Arkansas’ Southern accents), it may be because of the age/generation gap as reflected in the “reminiscent stories and memories” on which my posts are based.
In any case, to learn more about my beloved homeland from one young person’s perspective, I wholeheartedly recommend that you visit this site and all of the entries on it—beginning with my favorites. See what you think—especially if, like me, you too are an “exiled Arkie of the Covenant”!
“When I first went north, I was surprised to learn that there were people in the world who did not know that Arkansas has both a delta and a culture that goes with southern lowlands.”
—Margaret Jones Bolsterli,
a native of Desha County near McGehee,
writing in Born in the Delta
As indicated by the quote and photo above, the third subject examined in this post is the Mississippi River Delta, of which so many people outside the state of Arkansas (and many even within the state) are not aware.
The first section of that subject is an update on the WWII Japanese American Internment Museum in my hometown of McGehee, about twelve miles from the River.
The WWII Japanese American Internment Museum
And the Japanese-American Memorial Garden
On the front page of a recent issue of the McGehee Times there was a brief article titled “You Are Here.” It featured a small map of the city with some of the historic places with directions of how to locate them.
Here is the written copy that accompanied that map:
A new historic map sign has been installed outside the WWII Japanese American Internment Museum in downtown McGehee. The sign lets visitors know where they are located and the locations of other historically relevant sites in the city.
According to former Mayor Jack May, the sign was funded by Nexus Systems of Monroe, Louisiana in exchange for the city granting the company permission to install new broadcast towers.
Since opening its doors just over two years ago, the WWII Japanese American Museum has hosted over 6,140 visitors from 28 countries around the world. Just this week, the Museum added Malaysia to its list of countries. [Susan Gallion, Curator of the museum, reports that it has also received visitors from every state in the Union, except Delaware.]
The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and serves as the permanent home for the exhibit “Against Their Will,” a history of the more than 17,000 Japanese Americans forced into the Rohwer and Jerome Relocation Camps during World War II.
For more information on the museum, contact Curator Susan Gallion or Co-Curator Kay Garling Roberts at (870) 222-9168 or visit the Museum’s Facebook page.
The Delta Heritage Trail
And Arkansas City
“The Delta Heritage Trail stretches through a shaded canopy of native hardwoods, alongside agricultural fields, and across many streams. Wildlife viewing and birdwatching opportunities abound along the trail route due to its diversity of habitats.”
—Arkansas State Parks Delta Heritage Trail Web site
On the Arkansas State Department of Parks and Tourism Web site there is a verbal and photographic presentation of the new Delta Heritage Trail State Park. Part of that presentation is about the Delta Heritage Trail that will begin near Helena in Phillips County on the Mississippi River and extend eighty-four miles downriver to Arkansas City, another river town that serves as the county seat of Desha County in which our hometown of McGehee is located.
Here is a portion of what the Arkansas Parks and Tourism site has to say about the Delta Heritage Trail State Park and the Delta Heritage Trail:
Delta Heritage Trail State Park in southeast Arkansas is being developed under the national ‘rails to trails’ initiative, whereby former railroad lines are converted to pedestrian and bicycle routes. The trail is being developed in phases along the former Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way that stretches from one mile south of Lexa (six miles west of Helena) to Rohwer [site of the WWII Japanese-American Incarceration Camp], and extending via the Mississippi River levee to Arkansas City [our country seat on the Mississippi River].
It will total 84.5 miles when finished, making this one of the longest bike and pedestrian trails in the state. In the northern portion, the first 21 miles of trail have been completed from Helena junction to Elaine. Trailheads are at Helena junction near Lexa, Walnut Corner at the U.S. 49 overpass, Lick Creek (Ark. 85 just south of Barton), Lake View, and Elaine. The compacted, crushed rock trail leads through a shaded canopy of native hardwoods, alongside agricultural fields, and across streams.
Wildlife viewing and birdwatching opportunities abound along the route here in the heart of the Delta and the famed Mississippi Flyway. At the park visitor center, brochures include the guide to wildlife watching along the trail.
When completed, the trail will also offer sweeping views from bridges that span the Arkansas River and the White River.
To learn more about the Delta Heritage Trail State Park and the Delta Heritage Trail, click on the title.
To learn more about Arkansas City, go to the Arkansas City Web site.
Note: Be sure to view the changing photographic slideshow of scenes in and near Arkansas City featured in the masthead of the site.
“In the life of a writer there are no extraneous experiences.”
(Everything that happens to him is grist for his mill.)
“There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.”
—“There Is Power in the Blood,” Lewis E. Jones (1899)
(To hear this old hymn sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, click on the title.)
Earlier in this post I told how listening to Wayland Holyfield singing “Arkansas, You Run Deep in Me” helped me to get through a bout with pancreatitis back in 1988.
Later in the post I told how watching reruns of the popular old TV show “Designing Women,” whose theme song “Georgia on My Mind” as sung by Ray Charles, helped me get though a bout with lymphoma back in 1991-92.
More recently, on April 3, 2015, I published a post titled “Infusion Inspiration: Memory Flood at the Center for Blood.” In that post I described (with photos) my ongoing bout with a lingering blood disease. I noted that I am doing battle with that disease by spending long hours in the blood center at a Tulsa hospital where I pass the time by listening to old cassette tapes of some of my favorite singers from the past such as Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Gospel.
To revisit that post, click on the title above or on the actual URL in the Sources section at the end of this post.
Unfortunately, since my health progress is somewhat hindered this will have to be my final post for this year and probably for the foreseeable future.
I regret the cessation since the blog has now reached more than 93,000 visits since its launch in May 2011; I had hoped to be able to continue blogging until it reached my personal goal of 100,000.
Nevertheless, until we meet again, Merry Christmas and Happy—and Healthy—New Year!
The list of recommended books from Deep South Magazine was sent to me by Patsy McDermott Scavo. It can be accessed at:
The photo of the map of the American South was taken from an unknown source.
The photo of Arkansan Glenn Campbell was taken from:
The YouTube video of Glenn Campbell singing “Southern Nights” was sent to me by Patsy McDermott Scavo and taken from:
The YouTube video of Ray Charles singing “Georgia on My Mind” was taken from:
The photo of Ray Charles was taken from:
The Web site titled The Bitter Southerner was sent to me by Patsy McDermott Scavo and can be accessed at:
The article about Southern speech titled “With Drawl” by Laura Relyea that appeared on The Bitter Southerner Web site was sent to me by Patsy McDermott Scavo and can be accessed at:
The photo of the Beverly Hillbillies was taken from:
The photo of Andy Griffith was taken from:
The photo of the Mark Twain riverboat on the Arkansas River at Little Rock was sent to me by Patsy McDermott Scavo on July 30, 2013, and cited in my earlier post titled:
“A Few of My Favorite Things II: Arkansas. The South, Elvis Presley, Gone With the Wind” at:
The link to Wayland Holyfield singing “Arkansas: You Run Deep in Me” was taken from:
The photo titled “Autumn in Arkansas” was taken from a postcard produced by Jenkins Enterprises, North Little Rock, AR 501-945-2600.
The site titled “Only in Your State: Arkansas,” can be accessed at:
The site about ten things Arkansans miss when they leave the state can be accessed at:
The site titled “You’ll Love These 30 Marvelous Arkansas Photos Taken by Local Photographers—Part 3” can be accessed at:
The site titled “These 15 Amazing Photos of Arkansas Were Taken by Local Photographers—Part 4” can be accessed at:
The site titled “20 Rare Photos That Will Take You Straight to the Past” can be accessed at:
The personal photo of me at the Arkansas state line on the Talimena Scenic Drive that runs across the tops of the Ouachita Mountains between Southeast Oklahoma and Southwest Arkansas was made in the 1980s when I was much younger and slimmer.
The Welcome to Arkansas: The Natural State sign that appears at every entrance into the state was taken from the cover of Arkansas Destinations, 2013 Fall and Winter issue.
The map of the regions of Arkansas with the state’s visitor centers was taken from the 2013 issue of Living in Arkansas magazine.
The photo of the East Arkansas cotton chopper standing in front of a Marianna downtown storefront was made by Carl Mydans in 1936 (two years before my birth in Selma, Arkansas) and taken from a book titled A Photographic Legacy by I. Wilmer Counts, Jr.
The photo of the boy holding a diamond found at the Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, was taken from:
The Web site of the Crater of Diamonds State Park may be accessed at:
A photo of the Arkansas state flag with its stars in the shape of a diamond and an explanation of its other symbols can be accessed at:
The photo of the two steamboats on the Mississippi River was sent to me by Patsy McDermott Scavo from an unspecified source.
The photo of the Japanese-American Internment Museum in McGehee, Arkansas, was taken from the McGehee Times.
The photo of the Japanese-American Memorial Gardens in McGehee was taken from a personal collection of McGehee photos.
The photo of the cypress slough bordering the Delta Heritage Trail was taken from the Delta Heritage Trail State Park Web site at:
The photos of the Delta Heritage Trail signs at Arkansas City were sent to me by Patsy McDermott Scavo from Facebook.
The photos of the Red Star Grocery and the planned Delta Hotel in Arkansas City were sent to me by Patsy McDermott Scavo from Facebook.
To learn more about Arkansas City, go to the Arkansas City Web site at:
The video of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing the old Gospel song “There Is Power in the Blood” can be accessed at:
The previous post on this blog titled “Infusion Inspiration: Memory Flood in the Center for Blood” can be accessed at: