Saturday, November 15, 2008

Is 'Strange' the Right Word?

Strange Maps has posted this amazing image showing the pattern of cotton production circa 1860 (the dots) versus the pattern of red-blue voting in the 2008 election. (Follow this link to see the cotton map separated from the voting map.)

To a surprising degree, after nearly 150 years, African-Americans continue to live in large numbers in the same counties where their slaveholders placed them. Strange? Sad? Telling? Tragic?


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Nice catch. I subscribe to Strange Map's RSS feed and found that map fascinating and telling.

If Republicans want to win, they'll have to appeal to minorities, and not in the condescending, cynical, just-get-you-to-vote-one-way way they've been doing ever since ... oh, pretty much forever.

As far as black families still living in the areas that they were once slaves a few generations back, I don't think there's one thing to say about it. Some people stay in one place because they're too poor to leave. Some stay because home's home and family ties are family ties, regardless of the dark nature of their personal history.

What they make of their lives depends on what happens down the road, which is still an unwritten story regardless of how the deck's stacked against them due to history or economics (not contradicting you here, just pointing that out). If this election's taught me anything, its all about looking forward rather than dwelling on the past.

Dale said...

SJKP, thanks. I suppose it's just an instance where I am reminded that the New South -- the new, more hopeful one I've been hearing about all my life -- is yet again proven to be the Old South. This set of facts -- where people live today versus where they lived in 1860 -- isn't the saddest example of the genre. It is, of course, explainable. There might even be good things about it -- maybe. Sigh.