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View Poll Results: Which non-Confederate state is the most Southern?
Oklahoma 63 23.33%
Kentucky 163 60.37%
West Virginia 44 16.30%
Voters: 270. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-25-2015, 09:41 AM
 
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I remember driving from Pittsburgh, PA to Winston-Salem, NC once, therefore going through the entire state of West Virginia. Morgantown seemed so close to Pittsburgh that I couldn't really see it as "southern" and the same probably applies to Wheeling. Wasn't too different from Western PA, not so much "southern" but kind of "northern hillbilly." However, Beckley seemed much more southern and redneck-ish. Still haven't visited Charleston, Huntington, or Parkersburg.

Coming from North Carolina, Oklahoma didn't strike me as very southern when I visited. It's just a little too far west, not the Southeast I'm used to. Hell, it even borders Colorado! Oklahoma City reminded me of Dallas/Ft. Worth, kind of an old cowboy/western town but nothing too "southern." Tulsa seemed a little more southern, almost like Little Rock but still a little different. However, Oklahoma has some southern aspects like being extremely conservative and Bible Belt-ish. The accents are kind of southern, too. Very twangy like Texas, but nothing like the long drawls you'll hear further east (SC, GA, AL, NC, etc.).

Not surprised Kentucky has carried most of the votes.
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:28 PM
 
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As a life long West Virginian I've always considered us to be part of the "Upper South". Most people speak with at least a slight Southern accent and sweet tea is everywhere. Geographically we're a border state but culturally we have a lot more in common with the South versus the North. If it wasn't for the state being created during the Civil War (more due to a longstanding lack of representation in Richmond than the Confederacy), West Virginia would most definitely be considered a Southern State. One of my friends once said "West Virginia is a Southern State, they just don't realize it".

That being said I do agree that parts of West Virginia are less Southern than others. The Northern Panhandle is definitely not Southern. The Eastern Panhandle up until 30 or so years ago was one of the most Southern areas of the state. However as stated earlier in this thread, its turned into DC Metro, losing its Southern affinity. I'm actually from Wood County (Parkersburg) which has some Southern Ohio influence but everyone would look at you like you were crazy if you called them a Yankee.
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:35 PM
 
Location: The City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by West Virginia Gentleman View Post
As a life long West Virginian I've always considered us to be part of the "Upper South". Most people speak with at least a slight Southern accent and sweet tea is everywhere. Geographically we're a border state but culturally we have a lot more in common with the South versus the North. If it wasn't for the state being created during the Civil War (more due to a longstanding lack of representation in Richmond than the Confederacy), West Virginia would most definitely be considered a Southern State. One of my friends once said "West Virginia is a Southern State, they just don't realize it".

That being said I do agree that parts of West Virginia are less Southern than others. The Northern Panhandle is definitely not Southern. The Eastern Panhandle up until 30 or so years ago was one of the most Southern areas of the state. However as stated earlier in this thread, its turned into DC Metro, losing its Southern affinity. I'm actually from Wood County (Parkersburg) which has some Southern Ohio influence but everyone would look at you like you were crazy if you called them a Yankee.
Must be all those Mineral wells

think accurate - the northern parts feel like much of PA, though some would say parts of PA (especially some Appalachian parts) have some southern influences

I always like seeing the signs upon entering WV Wild, Wonderful - I think true

but on this is sort of transitional that leans Southern in many qualities yet fully appalachian if that makes sense. A state vastly under rated for its beauty IMHO
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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KY is a border state. Its had strong influences from both the south and the Midwest. Historically, Louisville is much more reminiscent of an industrial manufacturing city than a true southern city. Although KY was officially a union state there were plenty of confederates that lived there also. A really interesting documentary "long road back to Kentucky" details the war in KY (Free on Amazon prime). The southern part of the state was pro confederate and the northern part of the state was pro union. The Northern KY cities of Fort Mitchell, Fort Wright, and Fort Thomas, were originally three forts setup to protect the southern approach to Cincinnati during the Civil War. By contrast, the southern KY city of Bowling Green, about 20 miles from the TN border, was considered the confederate capital of KY.

Missouri was the same way and was also shaped by southern and mid western influences.

Last edited by ms12345; 04-02-2015 at 07:27 PM..
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Old 04-02-2015, 07:30 PM
Status: "I'm an Unmherkun puppy-kicking Socialist" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Dallas, TX
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Kentucky, for they almost went Confederate. In fact, there was a separate Richmond-loyal state legislature. It also has a fairly well-developed slavery system (though not nearly like much further south).

West Virginia, so little slavery there that they actually voted to secede from the South and side with the north.

Oklahoma, definitely a strongly evangelical and strongly free-market state. However, it was settled mainly by people from Kansas and Texas, IIRC. Even so, it's almost a South from an alternative universe in which slavery never came to be (ok, that's pushing it a bit, I know. But I don't think I'm THAT far from the truth).
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Old 04-02-2015, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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According to the documentary "long road back to Kentucky", when the Civil War started the governor of KY was pro confederate and wanted to succeed. He was never able get enough votes in the state Legislature for succession so he declared the state neutral. Then in the next elections the people spoke and put a decidedly pro-union government in power.

Last edited by ms12345; 04-02-2015 at 08:44 PM..
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:52 PM
 
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I actually ran into someone from Raleigh the other day who told me, "Yeah, Oklahoma is more Midwestern, I can't see how it'd be a part of the South." I'll admit that it's a little southern, though.

Actually, from what I've heard, Oklahoma was mainly settled by people from the Deep South. Tulsa has a history that isn't too dissimilar from southern cities, just look at the 1921 race riot and the presence of Oral Roberts (making the city a Bible Belt buckle). Also, it's kind of Ozark-ish or at least getting there. Oklahoma City, not so much IMO. Tulsa strikes me as much more southern, while OKC is a little more of a cowboy town with western influences.
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JayJayCB View Post
I actually ran into someone from Raleigh the other day who told me, "Yeah, Oklahoma is more Midwestern, I can't see how it'd be a part of the South." I'll admit that it's a little southern, though.

Actually, from what I've heard, Oklahoma was mainly settled by people from the Deep South. Tulsa has a history that isn't too dissimilar from southern cities, just look at the 1921 race riot and the presence of Oral Roberts (making the city a Bible Belt buckle). Also, it's kind of Ozark-ish or at least getting there. Oklahoma City, not so much IMO. Tulsa strikes me as much more southern, while OKC is a little more of a cowboy town with western influences.
What about exactly about Oklahoma made your friend say it's more Midwestern so much so that they can't imagine it being part of the South? Is it the fact that much of Oklahoma is on the Great Plains? Is it because it wasn't a state that seceded during the Civil War? I am genuinely curious because growing up in Oklahoma, I have always thought of it as part of the South.
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Studying Okie View Post
What about exactly about Oklahoma made your friend say it's more Midwestern so much so that they can't imagine it being part of the South? Is it the fact that much of Oklahoma is on the Great Plains? Is it because it wasn't a state that seceded during the Civil War? I am genuinely curious because growing up in Oklahoma, I have always thought of it as part of the South.
Probably because it's so different from states like North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, etc. People think it's a little too far west, even Arkansas belongs in the same boat to a lesser degree in the eyes of many southerners further east. Seriously, when people think of the South around here, they think of cities like Charleston, Savannah, or Montgomery. They don't think of cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Amarillo, etc. Also what you mentioned, though. Take someone from Raleigh or Atlanta and drop him in the middle of Oklahoma City, and he'll feel very out of place along with the area feeling extremely foreign. The "Gone with the Wind" image doesn't really pop into the minds of most folks when they think of Oklahoma. It doesn't help with Oklahoma bordering states like Kansas, and even a small chunk of Colorado!
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Old 04-02-2015, 10:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JayJayCB View Post
Probably because it's so different from states like North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, etc. People think it's a little too far west, even Arkansas belongs in the same boat to a lesser degree in the eyes of many southerners further east. Seriously, when people think of the South around here, they think of cities like Charleston, Savannah, or Montgomery. They don't think of cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Amarillo, etc. Also what you mentioned, though. Take someone from Raleigh or Atlanta and drop him in the middle of Oklahoma City, and he'll feel very out of place along with the area feeling extremely foreign. The "Gone with the Wind" image doesn't really pop into the minds of most folks when they think of Oklahoma. It doesn't help with Oklahoma bordering states like Kansas, and even a small chunk of Colorado!
I really do find stuff like this fascinating!

I think that when most people from Oklahoma think of the South, they similarly think of Charleston, Savannah, or Montgomery and not OKC, Dallas, etc., but they do think of Arkansas as being part of the South. At the same time, lots of people in Oklahoma refer to Oklahoma as the Midwest, but not because they think we are culturally more akin to Iowa, Illinois, etc., but because most people think it means "middle of the country".

What's most frustrating about the ambiguous use of "Midwest" is that some Okies who are Southerners (i.e. their family came here from the South, they have Southern accents, attend a Baptist church, and could be from literally anywhere in the South) consider Oklahoma the Midwest or the Southwest and, therefore, themselves as Midwesterners or Westerners. These folks will consistently acknowledge that Oklahoma is culturally like Texas, Arkansas, and the rest of the South rather than the states that make up the Census Bureau's Midwest or West, but to them we are not the South because of stuff like lack of grits at McDonald's or not being a state during the Civil War.

There are tangible traits that are universally Southern, and the presence of those traits in the people of a state is what makes a state Southern, in my opinion. Oklahoma, as a state, has Southern qualities much more than qualities typical of the Midwest or any other region.

There are people in Oklahoma who aren't from a Southern background, whose families came to Oklahoma from Kansas and farther north, and who have little exposure to Southern culture that will argue that Oklahoma is the Midwest, like Kansas, Nebraska, etc. There is a part of the state (the Northwest part, excluding the Panhandle) where the people and the agriculture do not resemble those in the South, but this is not most of the state at all, and Southern culture (accents, religion) is still found up there.

I got a kick out of this example of Oklahoma's inaccurate image. The lyrics of a Jason Aldean's (from Georgia) song "Flyover States":

"Thirty thousand feet above, could be Oklahoma,
Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms"
Jason Aldean - Fly Over States Lyrics | MetroLyrics

The problem is we don't have much corn in Oklahoma. In 2004, for example, Oklahoma grew less corn than just about every state in the South, including Jason Aldean's home state of Georgia. Cotton and wheat have historically been Oklahoma's biggest crops. I guess 50% correct is good enough for Jason Aldean.
Corn for grain - State Agricultural Production Rankings from StuffAboutStates.com

I enjoy discussing Oklahoma's culture and history, so I enjoy hearing other people's interpretations of our state, but count me in with the folks who think Oklahoma is the South.
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