Baltimore: Northern or Southern?

November 30, 1992

AT least one fellow poet and friend has remarked to me tha Baltimore has an old-world flavor, old world meaning European. I can see that in some of the older sections of the city, especially the downtown area near the Washington Monument, and it is a character I haven't seen in Richmond, Macon, Atlanta or New Orleans, all of which I consider to be genuine Southern cities, cities I think of when people refer to Baltimore as being Southern, as they often unsuccessfully attempt to equate Southern with backward.

There is nothing backward about these Southern cities. It's just that some of the people I've met in Philadelphia and New York are quite proud of their concrete rubble, and it's when I sense this attitude that I feel the comradeship with my father, although I know that, as someone born in Baltimore as opposed to having moved there, I have been given the Northern character through the forces that helped to steer me through childhood and adolescence, a character that is adscititious to my father's way. What people perceive as the Southern character in Baltimore is a quality of culture that I have seen all over Philadelphia, Newark and New York. It is the presence of people like my father and

mother, born and raised in the South to a certain age and then transplanted by exigencies of economics.

There is more South in the North than there is North in the South.

-- From "My Father's Geography," by Michael S. Weaver, University of Pittsburgh Press, reviewed Nov. 9.

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