Is This the Solid South?
[Burnet, Tx. 1940s]. ,24pp. 16mo. Original brown wrappers printed in black, stapled. Very minor wear and light toning. Near fine. Item #3927
A highly-informative and assured work on racial and ethnic politics in the American South by an obscure Texas woman named Jettie Irving Felps. The author's point of view is somewhat unusual for the South in the Jim Crow era, as Felps basically argues for equality among the racial and ethnic groups who live there. She writes: "If the South could just be 'big enough' to rejoice in any person's advancement, irrespective of race, color, or creed, then we think of it as the 'Solid South'.... But we know that the South is lagging in education, standing about thirty-sixth among the states; and one cause of this is the treatment we have accorded the Negro and the Mexican. We may say that we believe in democracy, but we must give the Negro and the Mexican the same chances as our own whites if we make people believe what we preach. There are towns and towns in Texas where the Mexicans and whites are segregated. The Negroes all over the South have poorer school buildings and the Negro teachers get poorer salaries than the whites. We are discriminating against races just as Hitler discriminated against the Jews." Besides dealing with racism, she also deals with women as second-class citizens and the role of poverty, as well as taking a swipe at the states rights contingent in Texas: "We have the Regulars in Texas, people declaring they stand for states rights, first, last, and all of the time. Is it states' rights the Regulars want, or their own rights and interests? Or did someone want an office?" Every page of Felps's work thunders away at injustice and inequality in the American South, and rings true to history. Her passage on the damage done by political parties, in which she liberally quotes from George Washington's Farewell Address, is another area in which her work is particularly relevant to modern times. The title leaf includes a portrait of the author and her signature in blue ink at the bottom. Felps is sometimes identified as an African American author, though she is listed in the 1940 census as "White." Only seven copies in OCLC, at Howard, Duke, Baylor, SMU, UTSA, UT-Austin, and the Texas State Library.