90s in the shade by Clarence Cason

By Clarence Cason

Illustrated by way of J. Edward Rice, with an advent via Wayne Flynt

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The Negroes would be there too, chatting pleasantly enough among themselves and with the white men; but the steel muzzles peeping from the rear of the buggies always served to send home their messages of discretion.  The Negro voters were encouraged to attend the circus, and the Democrats won the election.  What they did to keep the Negro from voting was illegal of course; but, being themselves officially deprived of the ballot by reason of the Civil War amendments, their practical nullification of the fourteenth amendment was then necessary for their own self­preservation.

But in the South it is a scientific fact, if a continuous observation of the phenomenon can be accepted as scientific evidence, that cows in the pasture do not face the same way; and it is an economic fact, so well established as to need no proof, that the farmers themselves are by no means going in the same direction.  One's social status can be loosely measured in terms of the inverse ratio of the number of hours spent at the mercy of the July sun.  Not even the bearing of General Johnson's industrial codes upon the South, particularly with respect to the wage differentials, has given southerners as much of a feeling of regional consciousness as have the various federal programs relating to cotton.

But these, after all, are matters for the experts. 5.  Or, in case he gives up and moves away to a cotton mill village, what has the regional sense of right and wrong to say about what happens to him there?  The suggestion that problems below the Potomac might enlist their sense of moral responsibility would impress them as a double­jointed heresy.  While these individuals revere the Old South for the beauty and the charm which it undoubtedly once possessed in certain areas, they find that they cannot always escape a disagreeable present by relying upon mental flights into the past.

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