Southern Meccas

Dr. Terry Barr & Dr. Molly McGehee
Maymester 2014

The South has long been a site of serious cultural production on the part of writers, artists, and musicians, from Flannery O’Connor to Alice Walker to Elvis. But where in particular did these folks come from? And what was it in their hometowns, their families, or their social circumstances that inspired them and their art? In this course, we will examine “sense of place” as rendered through their works, but we will also go to their former homes or hometowns to try to glimpse some of that sense of place firsthand.

Course Structure:

  1. Before the trip: The course will be taught by Dr. Barr two days a week during the Spring 2014 semester. Those weeks will be devoted to the study of the literary and artistic figures whose home places we will visit on the trip. We will consider primary texts by those figures (e.g., short stories, novels, songs) as well as secondary sources about those figures (e.g., biographies, documentary films).  Assignments will include weekly reading responses and a research presentation.
  2. During the trip: We will go, via bus, on a weeklong trip to the hometowns and, in many cases, the homes of some of the South’s major literary and artistic figures, stopping at significant southern food and musical establishments along the way. You will be responsible for keeping a thoroughly detailed journal of your experiences, due to us upon our return.
  3. After the trip: In the week following our return, you will complete a reflective essay.

Tentative schedule for trip

Day 1—Monday (Milledgeville, GA)

7:30 am    Leave Clinton for Milledgeville (I-20 from Cola.)
Noon         Lunch in Milledgeville
2 pm          Tour Andalusia, Flannery O’Connor’s home
5 pm          Depart for Atlanta
7pm           Dinner at Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Day 2—Tuesday (Atlanta/Birmingham)

Breakfast at hotel
10 am       Tour the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site and visit MLK’s boyhood home
Noon        Lunch at the Taqueria del Sol
2:30 pm   Depart for Birmingham, AL
4:30 pm   Visit to synagogue in Birmingham
7:00          BBQ

DAY 3—Wednesday (Birmingham, AL/Jackson, MS)

Breakfast at the hotel
9 am    National Civil Rights Museum/16th Street Baptist Church
Noon   Depart for Jackson, MS/Lunch on bus
4 pm    Tour of Eudora Welty’s Home
5:30 pm  Visit Lemuria Bookstore
7:00 pm  Dinner TBA
8:00 pm  Depart for Oxford, MS
10:00 pm Check into hotel in Oxford

DAY 4—Thursday (Oxford, MS)

Breakfast at hotel
9:00 am  Visit to the Center for the Study of Southern Culture (presentations TBA)
11:30 am  Lunch at Ajax Diner
2:00 pm  Tour of Rowan Oak and Visit Faulkner’s gravesite
4-6 pm  Free time on the square—must check out Square Books!!
6 pm      Thacker Mountain Radio Show
7:30 pm  Dinner at Taylor Grocery
9:00 pm  Depart for Memphis
10:30pm Check into hotel

DAY 5—Friday (Memphis)

Breakfast at hotel
9:00 am   Tour of the Lorraine Motel
11:30 am  Lunch at Rendezvous BBQ
1:30 pm   Stax Museum Tour
4:00 pm  Graceland
6:30 pm  Dinner on Beale Street on your own/ possible Red Birds game or music show

DAY 6—Saturday (Nashville, TN)

7: 30 am  Departure
12:30 pm  Lunch at Loveless Café
2:00 pm  Visit to Broadway Street
5:00 pm  Free Time or early dinner
7:00 pm  Grand Ole Opry with tour htttp://

DAY 7—Sunday—Asheville, NC/ Home

8:00 am Breakfast at hotel and departure
Noon      Lunch in Asheville
1:30 pm Visit to Thomas Wolfe Home
3:30 pm Visit to Carl Sandburg Home
5:00 pm Dinner at Flat Rock Bakery
6:00 pm  Return to Clinton, SC

Southern Meccas poster