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To be or not to be Southern: African Americans and Southern identity in Lynchburg, Virginia
Pennsylvania State University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5123-1357
2004 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

For many years the term “Southerner” was understood to refer to white residents of the South, with the region’s African-Americans present in Southern identity only as a backdrop to the actions of white Southerners. With the reverse migration of many African-Americans back to the South, and with the successful attack on racism in many parts of the South, the tradition of equating “Southern” with “white” has begun to collapse. Polls show that an increasing number of African-Americans in the South embrace the term Southerner and do not hesitate to apply it to themselves. This paper investigates the prevalence of a Southern identity among middle-class African-Americans in Lynchburg, Virginia. Through semi-structured interviews, participants were asked about their identification with geographic and racial identities. The paper will discuss the factors involved in participants’ identification (or lack thereof) with the identities in question, and will address the debates about identity, including the notions of nested identities and the assumptions scholars and the general public make about the extent to which members of a group embrace the identity assigned by the prevailing discourse to that group.

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Human Geography
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-287551OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-287551DiVA: diva2:922909
Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2016-04-25

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Jansson, David
Human Geography

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