SALVATION FOR THE SOUTH
The South, which made so eminent a contribution to the art of living during her middle century heyday, has been facing an increased danger of sectional crudity incidental to her great industrial and agricultural progress. In the halcyon days of the pre-civil war period southern plantations were everywhere famous as centers of cultured, cavalier life. Remote traces of this somehow managed to survive the evils of reconstruction. The last twenty-five years have, however, threatened to destroy the few remaining vestiges of this life. The rising tide of commercial prosperity in which all classes shared and the recent influx of speculating northerners suggested the possibility of this region becoming a veritable slough of Babbittry, rivaling even the Middle West in wide-spread vulgarity. Such a condition seemed imminent in the absence of an effective counteracting influence.
The saving force of the South has been found. Wallace Buttrick, writing in the Review of Reviews, asserts that education is developing apace below the Mason and Dixon line. There has been an awakening to the inadequacy of the school system and to the necessity of providing schools for the long submerged classes whose prosperity is growing. In 1924 the amount expended for public schools was over ten times that of 1902. Secondary schools are multiplying rapidly and higher education is not far behind. Great improvement in the existing universities has resulted from greater appropriations and private gifts.
This progress, in education augurs well for a balanced development. Rapid economic advance can only be assimilated to culture by concurrent educative progress. The sudden advent of material prosperity could easily have effected a distorted sense of values and hence a narrowness of life. But the South can yet reconcile her new materialism with the old culture, if the present forward program of education is continued.