When I was in grad school for history, I wanted to concentrate on the ante bellum South.
I had several reasons for this, including an interest in the causes of the Civil War; the disconnect between history that happened and the “Virginia Cavalier” mythology I was taught in my all-white Jim Crow elementary school; a Virginia heritage that dates to the 1600s; and an ancestry that includes slaveholders, Confederate officers, and proponents of slavery.
In our first meeting, my faculty advisor, whose interest was “the New South,” asked me why I was interested in a society that was–I can still see him say it–“gone with the wind”
But, as we see every day, it was not gone with the wind.
It has not even gone.
And, ironically, that novel to which said adviser so sarcastically alluded was without question one of the most poisonous and effective works of political and social propaganda ever propagated.
This same faculty advisor had written a book about “the New South,” which was most appropriately remaindered in the bookstore across the street from the main campus.
He was less than competent as a scholar, or, for that matter, as an adviser; otherwise, I might not have left grad school and discovered the joys of being a trainer, helping persons do their jobs better and faster.