Throughout the South, mansions and plantation homes, old tobacco barns and dilapidated slave houses still stand as a reminder of the South’s decadent and checkered past. Some of these homes are in irreparable decay; others have been restored to their original splendor.
This is my house in Cuthbert. If its haunted-looking walls could talk, they would tell stories of hot summers with the curtains blowing in the scarce breeze; of dark desolate nights when only the crickets break the silence; of parties, dancing, and music; of standing tall while the Confederacy declared its independence and then lost in America’s bloodiest war. Yes, if this house could tell us of its past, it would recount tales of children laughing and playing in the yard; it would tell about Christmas mornings, huddling around the fireplaces; but it would probably also mention the slave bell ringing, signaling that the mistress of the house required warm water.
This house acts as a perfect symbol of the South’s mixed past: built high and mighty in the era of Southern affluence, the foundation is still strong, but the chipped paint and patchwork reflect the modern time of economic downturn that hits the South particularly hard. But like many Southerners themselves who may seem a little worn or rough around the edges, it stands as a reminder of what once was and what could be again.
The South: A Photo Essay by W. J. Newsome is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.