Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Reubin Askew, July 8, 1974. Interview A-0045. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Decline of regional southern character

Although Askew believes that southerners have stronger personal affinity for one another than do most other regional groups in America, he sees that regional character falling away as the South grows.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Reubin Askew, July 8, 1974. Interview A-0045. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

WALTER DE VRIES:
We're writing a book on southern politics. Is the South as a region that much different from the other regions of the country? Can you detect the difference say, among you colleagues at the National Governors Conference?
REUBIN ASKEW:
Well, I think that you might well have a little stronger affinity of people within the South as a region than you might have in any other one.
WALTER DE VRIES:
What holds them together?
REUBIN ASKEW:
Oh, I think traditional affinity. I think you have this sort of in the New England states, you have this close feeling in New England as you do in the South. The others, you don't necessarily have that. And I think that it is just the traditional feeling of regionalism, but I believe that that now is giving way, because of the recognition that it's important that the South be an integral part of national politics. Almost individually, in addition to its any impact as a region.
WALTER DE VRIES:
You see that happening?
REUBIN ASKEW:
Yes. But here again, in the final analysis, it has to be judged at the polls, you know, political parties by sense are not debating socities. We've got of amateur dinner clubs. The ultimate test of a political party is its success at winning, which is its justification for existence, you know, as an integral part of furnishing leadership for a party and stability of checks and balances within the poltical structure. And I think that the South is moving into it and it may be this time, or it may be next time, but it is not so much crystalized as a separate section. The South is economically developing and there is a breaking down of so many of the characteristics that maybe distinguished the South from other parts of the country. I think that they are now being broken down.