Advanced Search
Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

A Mind To Stay Here: Closing Conference Comments on Southern Exceptionalism

Nashville, Tennessee
Published November 29, 2006


Writer John Egerton reflects upon thirty years of chronicling Dixie's Americanization and America's southernization from his post in Nashville. He discusses the persistence of "southern" themes and offers subjects for books that he hopes other writers will pursue.

A Mind to Stay Here

Part 2Egerton compares his observations in The Americanization of Dixie with social conditions today

Part 3Egerton traces recent politics in the New South, noting how Karl Rove built directly upon Nixon’s Southern Strategy

Part 4Egerton reflects upon the contradictions of the South, highlighting the importance of racial integration and rural life

Part 5Egerton highlights the importance of race in persistent southern distinctiveness

Part 6Egerton calls for further research, highlighting a list of potential contributions about neglected subjects

About John Egerton

John Egerton was born in Atlanta, Georgia, June 14, 1935, the son of William G. Egerton, a traveling salesman, and his wife, Rebecca White Egerton. The family settled in Cadiz, Kentucky, where John remained until leaving to attend Western Kentucky University, 1953–1954. From 1954 until 1956, he served in the United States Army. He earned a B.A. at the University of Kentucky in 1958 and an M.A. in 1960.

Between 1958 and 1960, Egerton was with the Public Relations Department of the University of Kentucky, and from 1960 to 1965, he was the Director of Public Information for the University of South Florida. He was a staff writer for Southern Education Report, 1965–1969, and for Race Relations Reporter, 1969–1971.

In 1971, Egerton began his career as a free-lance reporter. He was a contributing editor for Saturday Review of Education (1972-1973), Race Relations Reporter (1973–1974), and Southern Voices (1974–1975). From 1973–1975, he was a writer for Atlanta's Southern Regional Council. In 1977–1978, he was journalist-in-residence at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Egerton has written or edited eleven non-fiction books and contributed over two-hundred articles to periodicals. He has also been a participant in and writer for many projects or conferences dealing with desegregation and civil rights.

About this Video

This video of John Egerton was taken at "The End of Southern Exceptionalism" conference held at Emory University in March 2006, an event organized by Professor Joseph Crespino of the Emory University History Department and Professor Matt Lassiter of the Department of History at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.