Tag Archives: the South

Thou art the outside (the South) agitator – by Terry Howard

In her enormously important book, Going Southern, Deborah Levine takes the inquisitive reader deep into many aspects of life in the South, Southern culture, and other things people need to know about us Southern folks.

And she courageously touches on the thorny issue of race as an undeniable part of southern history. Her experiences and mine are about occasionally stepping into racial landmines, reconciliation, contrition and hope.

Here’s one of my recent ones.

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Pastor Paul McDaniel and the Interfaith South — by Deborah Levine

When I arrived at Chattanooga’s Second Missionary Baptist Church, A true Southern gentleman, Pastor Paul McDaniel, met me personally met at the door.   Born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Pastor McDaniel has been part of the Southern landscape and its African American community for most of his life. After attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, he received a Masters of Divinity degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School and a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Rochester in New York. A Chattanooga resident since 1966, Rev. McDaniel stepped down from his post at the Second Missionary Baptist Church after almost 50 years of service.  A larger-than-life figure in the community, I share our conversation in his honor.

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Global Leadership: Southern Women Lean In – by Deborah Levine

Chattanooga’s Lean In – Women GroundBreakers is a Think Tank of diverse faith, community, youth, and business leaders. The women meet monthly to discuss trends and strategies for making a difference. As part of the international Lean In movement, their Think Tank discussions are published locally and globally. Be inspired by their Words of Wisdom on Global Leadership. First, check out their strategies for building a global mindset.

4 Top Strategies for Building a Global Mindset

1. Be Aware

  • Acknowledge your biases.
  • Be open to the ideas of others.
  • Know yourself and be authentic.

2. Be Educated

  • Learn about issues on a global level, not just locally or nationally.
  • Know the customs of other countries and religions.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Continue your education. You can’t speak out on something you don’t understand.
  • Research how other women developed into global leaders.

3. Communicate across Cultures

  • Consolidate your ideas into a format that is easily shared with others.
  • Listen and understand life from a person who is not like you.
  • Respect the customs of different countries and religions when you speak your mind.

4. Put your Ideas into Action

  • Decide how you want to make a difference.
  • List and then prioritize the paths you want to take.
  • Contact the community leaders working in your areas of interest.
  • Pursue your mission and encourage others to pursue their dreams.

Groundbreakers’ Words of Wisdom

Carrie DiMemmo, nonprofit and development professional
“Global leaders did not wake up one day and decide to lead on a global scale. They started doing small things within their local communities and built on that. They may have a global vision, but they always have a local start. You can’t change the world without changing yourself first.”

Tina Player, Event Planner
“We should recognize who we are and the purpose of our existence. Never be classified or placed in a specific box. Create your own box with a unique size, color, and bow. It’s most important to know who you are and WHY!

Denise Reed, Chief Business Connector at The Concierge Office Suites
“Share your life experience and business experience so other can see the opportunities in front of them and make a positive difference.”

Brenda Freeman Short, Lawyer, teacher, and political leader
“Global leadership requires the recognition of all human beings as valuable citizens of this plant, However, caring for others does not necessarily mean acceptance of another’s lifestyle. Leadership can agree to disagree.”

Laura Hessler, Owner of The HR Shop
“Everyone has a story and a part of leadership is understanding the solicitation, verbalization, and promotions of those stories that in turn can inspire others to act.”

Cathryn Cohen, Retired attorney and county library executive director
“Remember that women, whether by birth or by choice, are entitled to everything men have always had.”

Ardena Garth, Attorney and former public defender
“Fear keeps me from getting to know and understand what is going on in the world around me. Caring about others is a start to develop global leaders. Knowledge will help combat that fear.”

Leanne Baron, Consultant
“If we can come together in our local communities and identify the top issues and then make a plan to work together, we can can make a difference which can spread to the national global level. We’ve been good at coming up with ideas, but need to be better at putting those ideas into action and bringing about change.”


Inspiration Stories & Strategies of Southern Women

How do Chattanooga’s women overcome obstacles to Think Big and help others do the same? Chattanooga’s Lean In – Women Groundbreakers tackled the question at their recent Think Tank meeting. Their Success Stories and How-to Stories have inspired family members, colleagues, friends, community leaders, church youth groups, and former inmates. The Words of Wisdom from these groundbreakers will inspire you, too.

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Tennessee’s First African-American Female Public Defender: Ardena Garth — by Deborah Levine

Ardena Garth Hicks was the first African American female public defender in Tennessee’s Hamilton County. When the State of Tennessee created the office of public defenders 18 years ago, it was an appointed position by the Governor. Ardena was the only applicant with both defense and prosecutorial experience. Of the 27 initially appointed public defenders, only two were black females.

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Race Relations and the Confederate Flag – by Deborah Levine

Morris Dees, Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), was the featured speaker at the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga annual First Amendment dinner. Mr. Dees was introduced by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. Mayor Berke, a member of Chattanooga’s Jewish community was comfortable in the Federation setting and shared that he was not wearing a tie due to the well-known perils of ketchup. Picking up on the informality, Dees removed his own tie and listened, along with a packed house, to the mayor’s remarks.

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Going Southern Book Review from Paris – by Dr. George Simons

A few years ago I had the task of preparing a dozen mid-level managers from a large German corporation that was establishing itself in South Carolina. As part of the training, I conducted a role-play in which one of the employees, on a Saturday morning, heard a knock on the door.

How to Navigate Southern Culture
Going Southern: The No-Mess Guide to Success in the South

The woman opened the imaginary door and, standing in front of her, I said, “Hello M’am, my name is George Simons. I just live down the street, and I was wondering what church you go to…” She slammed the door in my face. In debriefing the incident, the woman felt she was being belittled by being called “M’am,” and that this “intruder” had invaded her private sphere. Slamming the door was the best way to make it clear that neither of these was acceptable.

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A Baptism Guest — by Spencer McCall

The good people of the First Waughtown Baptist Church were consumed by utter jubilation – it was Baptism Sunday. Wearing the best of their Sunday best they sang hymns as they proceeded to the banks of the Belview Creek not far from the Church and just beyond the old Belview School. The candidate for baptism was none other than my mother’s distant relation Brother Hines. Bro Hines hailed from a strong old Baptist family and his people were numbered amongst the founders of First Waughtown and it’s mother church First Baptist Winston and his father was a Baptist pastor of the family church in Davidson County.

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Grandson of the South — by Spencer McCall

Although my grandmother has been dead, for over ten years her cousin Magalene Dulin Gaither, still refers to me as “Betty’s grandson.” Magalene, while mature in age is far from being absentminded as a matter of fact, she reigns as a sort of Queen Mother of Davie County. She is active in a number of civic and social organizations; she organizes weddings; her phone is the first to ring upon a death – even before the undertaker; she writes, directs and produces dramatic performances; she is an acclaimed historian, educator, and musician; she assists folks with their college thesis and anyone seeking public office or any other place of notoriety is sure to ring her phone and to knock at her door to receive her blessings. In the words of our late cousin, Sadie Dulin Jones, “if Mrs. Gaither doesn’t know about it, then it just didn’t happen…”

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Culture Clash in the South – by Shay Bishop

I got into a fight at church last night.
Furthermore, I got into a fight, at church, over sweet tea.

I had brought my small son to youth group at a church I went to years ago as a teen before I went to college. We moved back home last year, and this is only his second time to go. I am not overly-religious, but around here, church is the main social hub for the kids, with sports being the second.

Continue reading Culture Clash in the South – by Shay Bishop