Generation X in
the Deep South
level:deepsouth is an online anthology about growing up Generation X in the Deep South during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. The anthology is open to submissions of creative nonfiction (essays, memoirs, and reviews) and images (photos and flyers), as well as to contributions for the lists.
from the editor:
Generation X was born between the 1965 and 1980, and in the Deep South, that meant we were raised in newly integrated neighborhoods, schools, parks, restaurants, and stores by parents who had grown up segregated. Extremely high divorce rates also meant that we were the “most unsupervised generation in American history,” and our babysitters were often MTV and VBS.
In a time after the Selma-to-Montgomery March and before the internet, our upbringing in the Deep South was steeped in an eclectic cultural stew made from Boy Scout jamborees and little league sports, dirt bikes and secret forts, Smokey and the Bandit and Valley Girl, Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson, The Cosby Show and Dukes of Hazzard, Members Only jackets and break dancing.
Today, the youngest of Generation X are turning 40, and times have changed a great deal. The Boy Scouts went bankrupt. Michael Jackson, Burt Reynolds, and Prince are all dead. Bill Cosby is in prison. Only old white guys wear Members Only jackets. And kids don’t play outside anymore. So, while the Boomers and the Millennials fight over who’s best, we can ignore them both and tell our stories.
Definitions, Numbers, an Exodus, and the Stories
We’re talking about somewhere in the range of eight or nine million people, born between 1965 and 1980 and raised in the southeastern-most region of the United States, sometimes called the Deep South. Definitions of this place – the Deep South – are amorphous, and they vary. In contrast to the Upper South or Appalachia, this region-within-a-region doesn’t have clearly defined borders. Some definitions are political, others geographic. I have mine, too.