Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Southerner Speaks

This letter was shared with me by a fellow Southerner.
Dr. Dan Jones, Chancellor
University of Mississippi
P.O. Box 1848
Oxford, MS 38677

Dear Chancellor:

In my previous letter to you, I mistakenly thought that your concern over playing"From Dixie with Love" was that use of the melody of Dixie might be offensive to non-Southerners. I have since learned that, in fact, your nose was out of joint because you could not bend a group of students to your will and muzzle the politically incorrect words they substituted for one line of the song.

In the beginning, God took Nothing and made Something out of it-ex nihilo. You, Sir, have almost replicated that feat! Until you called attention to it nationwide, hardly anyone was aware that students were inserting the words, "The South shall rise again" into "From Dixie with Love." I certainly was not aware.

Even so, no serious minded person can possibly think that the quotation, "The South shall rise again," even remotely suggests taking up arms against our beloved America. One has but to watch the Emmys, Grammies, Oscars, and the the CMA awards, and 'as any fool kin plainly see' (Al Capp, "Li'l Abner"), The South abides as the repository where patriotism for our nation is most deeply ingrained and celebrated. Phil Harris's popular song of the 40's, possibly the original source of the quote you so despise, facetiously stated that "all the Yankee bands were playing Dixieland so save your Confederate money, boys-The South shall rise again." Back then, it brought amused smiles, not recriminations or even raised eyebrows.

Indeed, the South shall rise, must rise, and has risen in many other areas. Assuredly, the South needs to rise economically from poverty for many to prosperity for all. In industry and entrepreneurship, strides have been made in recent years. WorldCom was a leader in communications, the preferred carrier for government telecommunication, until mistakes in judgment brought it down. Of the "baby Bells" created in the breaking up of AT&T, it was BellSouth that eventually resumed the name AT&T. The South should and shall rise in the field of communications.

Automotive manufacturing thrives in Mississippi and Tennessee, while languishing in Detroit. The South shall rise and has risen in manufacturing.

The idea for Federal Express was born on the campus of Ole Miss and now thrives in Memphis, the greatest delivery service in the world. Coca Cola, an American icon, was first bottled in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by the Biedenharn family. The South rose and shall continue to rise in entrepreneurship.

The South produces more writers than any other section of the country. The Faulkner brothers, Tennessee Williams, Stark Young, John Grisham, Greg Ihles, Thomas Harris, Euroda Welty, young Amy Vincent, just starting and already published twice--and the list goes on and on. The South rose and shall continue to rise in literature.

Besides the gift of Dixieland jazz, we also gave the world Elvis, B.B. King, Charlie Pride, Faith Hill, Leontyne Price, Van Cliburn, and oh yes! Let us not forget our very own Luther Snavely! The South has risen and shall always rise in the field of music.

The South shall and did rise in political prominence. Four of the last six Presidents of the United States were natives of The South, and whatever you may think of their leadership, they have led the free world for 24 of the last 32 years; i.e., 75% of the time. The South rose and shall continue to rise in national and world leadership.

And so I ask you, Chancellor Jones, in just exactly what area would you prefer that The South not rise?


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