Special Section: Small Town Soul

"The Southern States are an aggregate, in fact, of communities, not of individuals," said John C. Calhoun in 1838. The plantation communities that he was describing have long since disappeared. Yet the South is still an aggregate of communities, the cohesiveness now embodied in myriad small towns that form the backbone of the region. The South has more old towns with fewer than 7,500 residents than any other region in the nation. Both pilloried and praised by native writers, the small town remains the custodian of the Southern lifestyle. The home town's values,...

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