Culture of the Southern United States

The states in dark red are usually included in modern-day definitions of the South, while those in red are often included. The striped states are sometimes considered Southern.[1]

The culture of the Southern United States, or Southern culture, is a subculture of the United States. The combination of its unique history and the fact that many Southerners maintain—and even nurture—an identity separate from the rest of the country has led to its being the most studied and written-about region of the U.S.

More than any other part of America, the South stands apart. Thousands of Northerners and foreigners have migrated to it ... but Southerners they will not become. For this is still a place where you must have either been born or have "people" there, to feel it is your native ground.Natives will tell you this. They are proud to be Americans, but they are also proud to be Virginians, North Carolinians, South Carolinians, Tennesseeans, Mississippians and Texans. But they are conscious of another loyalty too, one that transcends the usual ties of national patriotism and state pride. It is a loyalty to a place where habits are strong and memories are long. If those memories could speak, they would tell stories of a region powerfully shaped by its history and determined to pass it on to future generations.

— Tim Jacobson, Heritage of the South

Southern culture has been and remains generally more socially conservative than that of the rest of the country. Because of the central role of agriculture in the antebellum economy, society remained stratified according to land ownership, and communities often developed strong attachment to their churches as the primary community institution.

From its many cultural influences, the South developed its own unique customs, literature, cuisine, and music.[2]

History

Slavery in the United States had a major role in shaping the South, its agricultural practices, the American Civil War, and segregation in the United States. The presence and practices of Native Americans and the landscape also played a role in Southern culture. The climate is conducive to growing tobacco, cotton, and other crops, and the red clay in many areas was used for the distinctive red brick architecture of many commercial buildings.

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