Monday, January 17, 2011

"A City of Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm"

JFK's description of the city that is the subject of Steve Hendrix's article — D.C. area and Dixie drifting farther and farther apart. Interesting among whom the city's southroness thrives:
    Greg Carr, who grew up in Nashville, sees Southern markers here. Carr, chairman of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, said he recognizes the fading signs of the Old South in this region.

    "For black folks, this is still very much a Southern city," Carr said. "D.C. has very little in common with a stereotypical Northern city."

    Carr cited the presence of an entrenched black elite in Washington as a characteristic of Southern cities, along the lines of Atlanta and Charlotte. Its still-living history of sharply segregated neighborhoods is another sign, as well as the paucity of white ethnic neighborhoods, such as Italian or Irish sections of Baltimore, New York and Boston.

    "Even the architecture is more Southern," Carr said. "You have no concrete canyons in Washington."

    Even as black residents from other states and countries move to Washington in greater numbers, the cultural feeling of African American communities remains Southern, he said.

    "Anacostia, that's the South over there," Carr said. "Folks with their shirts off washing their cars, waving at you as you pass by. That's Southern."

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.