Go South to Sorrow, by Carl T. Rowan
Mr. Rowan is not the first who has gone South to sorrow, nor is this his first lamentation. The South has long served as the Wailing Wall of the national conscience. The congestion has been heaviest, curiously enough, in periods when the country was on moral vacation, particularly postwar periods of laxity and prosperity such as the Grant era, the Harding era, and the Eisenhower era. Not long after Appomattox, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the abolitionist, wrote sadly of “the probable excess of prosperity, and . . . the want of a good grievance.” He pitied those who were “likely to have no convictions for which they can honestly be mobbed.” He and his fellow countrymen, of course, soon found the compensatory answer in the South of the First Reconstruction, which served as a vicarious outlet for thwarted reform impulses of the Gilded Age.
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