Southern Exposure: A New Day for the South?

In 2008, fully one-third of Electoral College votes for president coming from Southern states went to Democrat Barack Obama, who went on to become the nation's first African-American president.

The 2008 elections weren't just historic, they were deeply personal. This was especially true for African-American voters and those concerned about racial justice in the South, where not long ago the election of a black man to the White House was considered unimaginable.

After President-elect Barack Obama's victory, the online organizing group ColorOfthange.org asked its members for their reactions. They were deluged with nearly 7,500 responses, with a large share coming from the South. Throughout the issue, you will find these stories reprinted from http://stories.colorofchange.org

What do the 2008 elections tell us about the changing political landscape of the South? In this widely-circulated issue, Southern Exposure's writers look at how the South is changing and what it means for the future of our region and country.

Featured in this issue:

A New South Rising | By Chris Kromm
The 2008 elections revealed that the South is rapidly changing and a key political battleground. Then why are pundits saying it's time to write off the region?

A Divide has been Erased | An Interview with Julian Bond
Civil rights veteran and co-founder of the Institute for Southern Studies Julian Bond reflects on the meaning of Barack Obama's victory.

Election 2008 by the Numbers | The Institute Index
Facts and statistics of a historic election season in the South.

Hope For The Gulf Coast? | By Sue Sturgis
President-elect Barack Obama made Gulf Coast recovery a key theme of his campaign.
Today, thousands of struggling residents - including those still displaced by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike - are prepared to make sure Obama lives up to his promises.

Unblock The Vote | By Desiree Evans and Chris Kromm
Elections in the South and around the country ran a little smoother in 2008 --
but our election system still keeps millions from having a voice.

Contents

  • 2 A New South Rising
    • A Changing Political Landscape
    • Time to Write Off the South?
    • A New Southern Strategy
  • 9 "A DIVIDE HAS BEEN ERASED" Julian Bond Reflects on the 2008 Elections
  • 12 ELECTION 2008 BY THE NUMBERS
  • 14 HOPE FOR THE GULF COAST?
    • The President's Promises
    • A Stalled Recovery
    • A New Agenda for the Gulf
  • 19 UNBLOCK THE VOTE
    • Making the List: Voter Registration
    • Easing Pressure at the Polls: Early Voting
    • Safeguarding Democracy: Enforcement of Voter Laws
    • Restoring the Vote: Full Citizenship for Former Felons
    • Taking Money Out of Politics
    • A New Moment for Reform?

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Since 1973 Southern Exposure has gained critical praise for its thorough investigations, unsentimental portraits of Southern life, and public interest reporting. Click here to subscribe.