Metaphors become instruments for social and political reform. The idea of southern exceptionalism, however, while valuable in facilitating civil rights achievements in the 1960's, is a limiting conception for political strategies and moral critiques that seek to achieve a more substantive and meaningful equality today.
"Mississippi as Metaphor State, Region, and Nation in Historical Imagination," a presentation by Joseph Crespino
Published on October 23, 2006
Mississippi emerged as an iconic space for the struggle over the meaning of democracy and equality in the South and in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. Examining three metaphors widely used in those years, Professor Joseph Crespino argues that, as "the South on steroids," Mississippi became as much a contentious, imagined space as a real location for addressing national problems of white racism. The Mississippi of metaphor continues to affect, and to limit, how the South and the nation pursue social reform and equality.