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Old 05-11-2007, 12:24 AM
Location: Richmond
1,489 posts, read 8,121,488 times
Reputation: 698


Here's a Map from Wikipedia. Best map so far Ive seen representing the Southern states.

http://wikitravel.org/upload/shared//thumb/c/c8/Map-USA-South01.png/743px-Map-USA-South01.png (broken link)

Old 05-11-2007, 12:28 AM
Location: Debary, Florida
2,267 posts, read 2,528,436 times
Reputation: 685
I always kind of went with where the Mason-Dixon line falls...
Old 05-13-2007, 07:50 PM
301 posts, read 1,266,392 times
Reputation: 174
Default Louisville and Kentucky are Southern

Now honestly, I do see why you’d think it has a Midwestern under-culture, but it is a major city. The same argument, I assure you, can be made of New Orleans, Atlanta, Charleston. Major cities have major immigration, and people from all over the country--and the world--make their homes there. Sad as it is, it has shown its effects on the cities, but I assure you, at Louisville’s core, is the South. It has even been said that during the darkest days of the war, Louisville had more “Johnny Rebs” and “Southern Belles” than the entire state of Mississippi. As an historian, I might be inclined to believe that. Having mentioned Southern Belles, you’d be well advised to note Sallie Ward was a Louisvillian. Her portrait is often named “The Southern Belle.” That is because she was THE Southern Belle in the ante-bellum days. More Scarlett O’Hara than Scarlett herself! Literally, she was considered THE belle of the South! None of that is even mentioning that, as someone else noted, Louisville is a river city, giving it all the more reason to intermingle cultures. Nonetheless, to the trained ear, one can hear the traces of Southern accents in downtown Louisville, and thick as molasses accents among some of the older residence. Step outside the city limits--you can no longer judge the South by its cities. Anyone who lives in a Southern city will note the changes over the years. They’ve become melting pots, good or bad! Oh, and what is Louisville’s nickname? You don’t know? Let me tell you, “Gateway to the South!” That’s a take on its old days as a river port, and its being a Southern city, noted for two great Southern pastimes, horseracing and bourbon!

From a cultural geography perspective the usual northmost line of Southern cultural influences in the lower Midwest is US 40, so it might be more accurate to consider southern Indiana and Illinois more southern than it would to consider Kentucky Midwestern. The Southern Focus study referenced earlier seems to confim the Southern character of Kentucky. About the only part of the state that could be considered Midwestern are the three northern counties across the river from Cincinnati.

Louisville is probably a bit more unusual in that it has aspects that are not traditionally associated with the South. In terms of historical aspects the city was settled by Virginians, and then recieved a large immigration from Germany and Ireland. Unlike other Midwestern cities it did not experience input from the second immigration from southern and eastern Europe to any signifigant degree, and lacks any historical "ethnic neighborhoods" that characterize true Midwestern cities like Dayton or Fort Wayne or South Bend. Louisville has experienced in-migration from the rural areas of central and western Kentucky (the areas directly south and west of the city), which has reinforced its southern character in modern times, which reinforced the southern character of the local working-class.

Louisville was and is industrial, but that is not necessarily a marker of being a Midwestern anomaly in a southern region, as numerous southern cities have an industrial base, such as the textile cities of the Carolina Piedmont. Louisvilles industial development was part of the New South, and marketed to the South, and its leading newspaper editor of the postbellum era, Henry Watterson, was considered an expontent of the New South ideology. During the postbellum era the L&N Railroad, headquarted in Lousiville, was a major carrier into the deep South, terminating at Pensacola and New Orleans, and painted its locomotives "confederate gray".

Another aspect of Louisville that gives it a historical and modern Southern character is the experience of slavery. Louisville did have a large slave population (one of the largest), and slaves were used in industry (44 worked for one company), building trades, steamboat trade, and as household servants. During the Jim Crow era Louisville did segrate blacks and whites into seperate school systems, and event tried to enact ordnances restricting blacks to certain neighborghoods (found unconstitutional by the USSC). One did not see this type of legal Jim Crow elsewhere in the Midwest. Some of the residential patterns of black settlement also paralled other urban south centers. In Midwestern cities blacks settled in older inner city neighborhoods, but in Louisville there was a tendancy for blacks to settle on the urban periphery, originally in Smoketown, but later in neighborhoods like Little Africa (later Park Duvalle) and in the Wet Woods (the Newburgh Road area). This pattern is similar to that identified by Harold Rabinowitz in his "Race Relations in the Urban South", where freed slaves formed settlements on the edges of Southern cities (which is quite visible in Lexington, too).

http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/images/slave_census_US_1860_b.jpg (broken link)

The aspect of religion as a indicator of southern cultural character is also key as Louisville is a center of the Southern Baptist faith, with a large seminary in town. Baptists vie with Catholics as the largest denomination in the city. You will not find a Midwestern city ouside Missouri (one county in Kansas city) that has a signifigant Baptist population. Louisville however does.

The Bible Belt

If it's worth mentioning Richmond Va (former capitol of the Confederacy) has a larger Catholic population than Louisville. While Texas has always had a large Hispanic Catholic population, the cities of San Antonio and Galveston, Texas were hot beds for German Catholics. It should also be noted that Louisville German and Irish in migration was to a MUCH less degree than St.Louis and Cincinnati, so much less that Louisville's blacks will be the largest ancestry in the city within 2 or 3 years.

Louisville like every other Southern city lost black population during the first black migration North. This is quite the opposite in St.Louis and Cincinnati, in which this played a major role in the building of the cities we see today. St.Louis especially was a hotbed for black migrants, which was the complete opposite for Louisville, being steeped in Southern culture and idealology.

http://www.uic.edu/educ/bctpi/greatmigration2/dataviewer/usa/USAleftcolumn.html (broken link)

http://ucdata.berkeley.edu:7101/rsfcensus/graphics/blkp10_00.gif (broken link)

Here are two excellent sources showing how Louisville and the South in general held the highest concentration of blacks until the migration.

The physical character of the city is more southern to me. The common vernacular housing of the older pre-WWII city is not like that in other Midwestern cities, where one sees the use of one or two story houses or cottages (sometimes duplex apartments) with the gable end facing the street. Louisville uses the very Southern shotgun house, as well as other forms that are appear to be unique to Louisville, such as a variation on the foursquare. For post WWII building, there was the continued popularity of neoclassical or colonial revival in developer housing. Even the local version of the ranch house sometimes uses wrought iron on the front porches as a sort of generic reference to "New Orleans/River City".

All of the following sources label Louisville and Kentucky as Southern in terms of dialect.


accent example http://www.acoustics.org/press/141st/south.wav


In terms of pop culture, there is that popularity of deep fried fish and seafood, and hush puppies, in local fast food chains. Fairly banal but you dont get hush puppies up north. Ultimatly this is all anecdotal, but from my time in Louisville, compared to Chicago, Louisville is quite southern to me. I really do not see the Midwestern aspect in the city. The place seems to identify more with the South, and feel more southern, than even close-by Midwestern cities like Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

http://www.pfly.net/misc/GeographicMorphology.jpg (broken link)

Here is a cultural map created by this nations most reknown geographer D.W. Meinig. He draws the Southern boudary line through Southern the Southern ares of Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio, So obviously Louisville is safely tucked below that line (not saying that it doesn't have Midwestern influence). If you notice however the only Midwestern cities that remotely compare to Louisville (Cincinnati and St.Louis) are litterally on top of the Southern cultural boundary, obviously suggesting that those cities are heavily influenced by the South. Again I'm aware that Louisville has Midwestern influence, however it does not top the Southern influence.
Old 05-13-2007, 07:54 PM
301 posts, read 1,266,392 times
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Originally Posted by vasinger View Post
Here's a Map from Wikipedia. Best map so far Ive seen representing the Southern states.

http://wikitravel.org/upload/shared//thumb/c/c8/Map-USA-South01.png/743px-Map-USA-South01.png (broken link)
LOL I was actually apart of the creation of this new map we based it greatly on the findings of the Southern Focus Study

John Shelton Reed Percent who say their community is in the South (percentage base in parentheses) Alabama 98 (717) South Carolina 98 (553) Louisiana 97 (606) Mississippi 97 (431) Georgia 97 (1017) Tennessee 97 (838) North Carolina 93 (1292) Arkansas 92 (400) Florida 90 (1792) Texas 84 (2050) Virginia 82 (1014) Kentucky 79 (582) Oklahoma 69 (411) West Virginia 45 (82) Maryland 40 (173) Missouri 23 (177) Delaware 14 (21) D.C. 7 (15)

Percent who say they are Southerners (percentage base in parentheses) Mississippi 90 (432) Louisiana 89 (606) Alabama 88 (716) Tennessee 84 (838) South Carolina 82 (553) Arkansas 81 (399) Georgia 81 (1017) North Carolina 80 (1290) Texas 68 (2053) Kentucky 68 (584) Virginia 60 (1012) Oklahoma 53 (410) Florida 51 (1791) West Virginia 25 (84) Maryland 19 (192) Missouri 15 (197) New Mexico 13 (68) Delaware 12 (25) D.C. 12 (16) Utah 11 (70) Indiana 10 (208) Illinois 9 (362) Ohio 8 (396) Arizona 7 (117) Michigan 6 (336) All others less than 6 percent.


Thias study has been conducted for over a decade by UNC and is still being conducted.

I think this definantly labels Kentucky and Virginia as Southern states.
Old 05-13-2007, 07:58 PM
301 posts, read 1,266,392 times
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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/8d/US_map-South_Modern.png/300px-US_map-South_Modern.png (broken link)

Last edited by Louisvilleslugger; 05-13-2007 at 08:07 PM..
Old 05-13-2007, 08:07 PM
Location: Lakewood, CO
353 posts, read 377,902 times
Reputation: 50
I've always wondered, how is the geographic boundaries for the Bible Belt decided? I've heard Colorado Springs described as the belt buckle for the Bible Belt--but your map omits Colorado from the Bible Belt. Yet, your map incluldes a hefty part of Eastern New Mexico. If you were to ask me, I'd say that Colorado has far more in common with the Bible Belt--except maybe weather--compared to New Mexico. Maybe we can agree that the Bible Belt is a fluid concept that could, in fact, stretch from central virginia down around Texas and up through Colorado and Utah and Idaho. Of course, that all depends on what the Bible Belt means to people. I'd say it's a measure of religious influence in the daily lives of ethos of most people in the areas constituted within the Bible Belt. If that's the case, a lot of western states should not be excluded.
Old 05-13-2007, 10:12 PM
Location: Mississippi
3,927 posts, read 7,885,737 times
Reputation: 11393
Originally Posted by magrack View Post

That being said, y'all just keep on arguing the finer points of what y'all consider the "south"...I'm pretty sure the folks around here know where and how we live, so it doesn't much matter what you decide.
Hey, that is one of the most pure southern statements I have heard on this subject. LOL.

Only a true Southerner would dare tell someone that. I love it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, now that transportation is so widespread, one can find pockets of Southern Culture all over our country. But....

To be Truly considered a Southern State one must look at the current culture and majority of people who reside in such state.

I'm all for letting Texas be from Texas...they have always been a little different than us anyway.

Now with Virginia...I agree that they fall into what is known to us Southerners as Applichaian with all the coal mines and hills there.

Kentucky....hey, you can't make good whiskey if you are not Southern.

I agree that the panhandle of Florida can still be called Southern, farther down and you have the retired rich influence then the Cuban influence which is Tropical/sub-tropical.

Lousiana is indeed a true blue-blood Southern state with a bit of cajun/French flair.

Tennessee is, has, and always will be a Southern state.

Arkansas? you bet most of the people are Southern to the core...I will condede and say that there is a bit of difference in the NorthWest corner of the state, but hey, they'll come back around.

What I am always truly amazed with is the ferver we have while defending our Northern/Southern/Western status. I usually do not think of it, but when I do and a debate starts, I quickly find my ire rising as I defend the great South in anything.

Being Southern is not really about the war ya know. It is about our culture, our manners and we take great pride in our geentel hospitality. Southerns are naturally a friendly lot, until you cross them, then watch out. We are nosy as well, but we do it with such charm one cannot be offended.

I have lived all over, and let me tell you, we Southerners catch it from Northerners. I can remember coming home in tears from playing with neighborhood children who made fun of the way I spoke. I tried and tried to lose my accent so I could be accepted. It was only when I grew older that I realized how special it was to be Southern, and then I stopped trying to be someone I wasn't. Yes, all regions can be cruel to people who are different which is sad isn't it? Our country was founded on the right to be different without fear of reprisal.

Let us all remember that we might be SOuthern, NOrthern or Mid-Western or whatever, first and foremost we are Americans and that should never be forgotten.

by the way, if you're ever by my way, I will invite you to my front porch for some iced sweet tea and great conversation, being very hospitible and a true Southern belle; just like my grandmother taught me.
Old 05-14-2007, 09:39 AM
2,356 posts, read 2,638,337 times
Reputation: 864
Wow, great analysis, Louisville slugger, I'm impressed. 90% of this thread has been garbage, and I think you hit the nail on the head.
Old 05-14-2007, 10:28 AM
5,857 posts, read 14,041,383 times
Reputation: 3482
Originally Posted by anonymous View Post
Wow, great analysis, Louisville slugger, I'm impressed. 90% of this thread has been garbage, and I think you hit the nail on the head.
I second that! Great job, Louisvilleslugger! (BTW, having been thru Louisville , I've never had any doubt as to whether it was Southern.)

Don't want to open any old wounds, but I have had doubts that Washington, Baltimore and St. Louis are 100% Northern, though. Houston? 100% Southern. Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso: Definitiely not Southern.

*Disclaimer*: These are my personal opinions based on my extensive travels as well as data such as Louisvilleslugger has provided.
Old 05-14-2007, 01:28 PM
Location: 602/520
2,441 posts, read 6,118,248 times
Reputation: 1815
I agree that residents are the only people who have the ability to decide whether or not their area is in the South. I am a former resident of New Jersey, and many people considered areas as far north as Elkton, MD (the first Maryland exit off of 95 South) the beginning of the South. I think that arbitrary lines such as the Mason-Dixon line, where sweet tea is available, and where Baptists are in the majority do not determine where the South begins from the North. There are far too many complexities involving modern settlement patterns, including immigration, that influence where the boundary between North and South is. McDonalds has started a campaign where sweet tea, a longtime southern staple, as far north as New York.

I've heard many attempt to argue that Northern Virginia (NOVA) is no longer in the South, because many immigrants and Northeners have decided to make the area their new homes. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. One of the primary arteries in NOVA is Jeff Davis Highway, named after the one time president of the Confederacy. Many high schools in that area also retain the names of many confederate generals who fought in the Civil War. Just because people in North Viriginia tend to have much higher household incomes and educational attainment levels than other areas of the South, does not disqualify the region from being part of that region. I would truly hate to think that Southerners define the South as being composed of people who are largely uneducated, live in rural areas, have accents as thick as molasses, and who's idea of health food consist of hog maws, greens cooked with hamhocks, sweet potatoes, peach cobbler, and sweet tea. Just because people choose to move to an area an "drown-out" the underlying culture that the area had for years and years before, doesn't mean that you can completely re-classify that area. Let's not forget that Virginia was home to extreme racial segregation less than 40 years ago, and that blacks could not eat, shop, live, and even attend school with whites. Virginia is home to Prince Edward County, which chose to SHUT DOWN its entire public school system, rather than integrate. If those facts do not associate Virginia more with the South than with the North, I don't know what does.

As far as I'm concerned, part of Missouri IS southern. The only regions of the state that dabble in southern culture include southcentral and southeastern Missouri. There are some portions of the Bootheel that are only 2 hours from extreme northern Mississippi. Go to areas around Cape Girardeau from Sikeston and Caruthersville, and PLEASE tell me that those areas are not immersed in southern culture. Though I agree with many of you that the majority of Missouri is a midwestern state, there is a small portion that is a part of the mid-south.

I can't believe there is an argument over whether Dallas and Houston can be considered Southern cities. The accents of many residents of both cities, along with history and settlement patterns prove that those two cities are undoubtedly southern. I would even argue that Austin and San Antonio can be considered southern cities, again, as they experienced widespread racial segregation, and because many longtime residents of both cities have southern accents.

From Pensacola to Jacksonville to Tampa to Miami to Key West, Florida is a southern state. Although there has been massive international migration and migration from the Northeast and Midwest, Florida roots are definitely southern. Miami was a city that no to long ago has extreme segregation, to the point where blacks and whites could not use the same beaches, stay in the same hotels, eat at the same restaurants, shop at the same stores, or go to the same schools. While areas south of Gainesville have expereinced international migration, many of them faced the same plight of Miami. Go to many historically black neighborhoods in Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Miami and you will find residents not only with southern accents, but who can tell you about the injustices they faced for many years.

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