The Southern Issue - Atlanta Magazine

How Southern Are We?

What does it mean to “be Southern,” and how do we fit into the picture? Does it even matter? Birthplace of both Margaret Mitchell and Martin Luther King Jr., Atlanta embodies the collision of Old and New South myths. Read about our identity crisis


  • Grounded

    We knew it was hard to starve in the country

    The south holds memories of my people. Beneath blistering suns and torrential rains, we toiled that someone else might prosper. Read More
  • Don’t You See?

    We gossip because we care

    Technically I’m Southern because I was born on the corner of State and Carlisle in Jackson, Mississippi. But I suppose that’s not what we’re talking about here. Read More
  • Just Being Myself

    I’ve spent decades 
analyzing Southern identity, but that doesn’t mean 
I can explain my own

    Asking someone who has made a career out of studying Southern identity to share his feelings about being a Southerner himself is a bit like asking a dermatologist to describe his own skin. Read More
  • Growing Home

    Family roots are perennial

    The first thing i did was plant marigolds in 
the red earth. I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it. I didn’t especially like marigolds. Nor would they last long in the shade garden I had acquired upon moving to Atlanta. Read More
  • Southern Kosher

    It wasn’t easy being God’s chosen in Alabama

    You have asked me, as a Southern writer, to produce a short personal essay on my Southern identity. I cannot do it. Read More
  • Interwoven

    My piece of africa came by way of Mississippi

    When I got to New York, it was an entirely different story. As a Columbia student in the early 1990s, I found the self-professed NYC melting pot very anti-South. Read More
  • My 
Haunted South

    I’m trailed not so much by guilt, but ghosts

    The South is supposed to be haunted—crumbling houses and graveyards crowded with specters, spirits dripping like Spanish moss from ancient gnarled trees. Read More
  • 10,000 

    I may seem like a prototypical Southerner. But there is no such thing.

    To most of the world, I’m your standard-issue Cracker, a good ole boy who loves his mama and bourbon and Jesus (order subject to change). Read More

Photo Essay

If there’s one time of week that Atlanta is indisputably Southern, it’s Sunday morning

Honey Boo Boo and other signs of the apocalypse · A mathematical examination of four Southern glossies · The ritual of cotillion


How Southern are you? Do you know your SEC from your ACC? Got Grandma's sweet potato pie recipe? And what do you know about potlikker? Measure your Southern IQ


Behold, the results of our "How Southern Is Atlanta?" survey, which ran on our site in July 2012. Featuring your thoughts on sweet tea, the SEC, and saying "Yes, ma'am." See all the stats

Pig Tattoos

Pork dominates Atlanta's menus, so it should be no surprise to find pigs adorning the tattooed arms of our restaurants cooks. View a slideshow of tattooed chefs

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