Diversity in the South

Popular images of the South have often created the illusion of homogeneity. Talk of the "Solid South," for example, has helped create and sustain the idea of the South as a monolithic region populated by slow-talking Protestants who prefer grits with breakfast and their pork barbequed. That view obscures the diversity that lies within the region. There are other races in the South apart from whites and blacks, other religious groups than evangelical Protestants. Forrest Carter's The Education of Little Tree reminds us of the long history of Native Americans in the region, but at the same time raises fundamental and disturbing questions about autobiography and truth. Stella Suberman's The Jew Store takes us inside the lives of a Jewish family in small-town Tennessee and reveals the challenges "outsider" groups like Jews faced in the South's evangelical heartland.