My Story- A Southern Concept Of Life

There’s just no question about it, I love the South. I think many of you do too. No other region in America is more studied, vilified, misunderstood, visited, remembered, or cherished than the South. As a native South Carolinian, I developed an early appreciation for my home, the place where my Grandparents told stories about the way things used to be. It’s the place where my Daddy told me I should never apologize for being from. In this place, Daddy taught me how to play the banjo, and why it matters that others should enjoy my music as well. It’s where Mama taught us children how to love God, and one another. It’s where I met my wife. Here, I learned the merits of hard work, the importance of the land, and how to see God’s fingerprints all around me. The South is the place where my memories are kept, and I’m sure the same can be said for thousands, if not millions of others. My story is not unique. The values instilled in me are the same values shared by many traditional families in the South today. I have studied the South, its land, people, history, and culture, since I was 12 years old. At an early age, I began doing something most kids would think strange. I built a personal library of books that I liked to read. That interest led me to college, then to graduate school, and finally to where I am today, a PhD candidate still trying to understand a place in the world that some call an anomaly, others call it gone, I call it home. In recent years I noticed a growing need for a voice, or many voices, to celebrate the South and what it means to those who have contributed to its life and culture. The region, whether one is talking about its history, religion, music, economy, or food, has often, in my mind at least, been grossly misrepresented and under-appreciated. There is much these days in the way of criticism when it comes to the Southern experience. No people, no society, no history, is perfect. From my point of view, and one shared by most families in this region, past and present, all people live in a fallen world. Be that as it may, I felt a sense of pride and joy when I studied the South as a boy, and I still do today. There’s just something about the South that makes me smile. And that’s what I want to make happen for others: you need to see the South that makes you smile, makes you laugh, makes you cry, and most of all, lets you see that God provides the elements of life that make you feel good, even though, for some of you, you don’t even know that it’s Him. -Alan Harrelson
Alan Harrelson
Alan Harrelson
Founder

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