I haven’t seen many Confederate flags since the coup attempt on January 6. I did see one soon after crossing the border into Maryland on one of the drives I went on to break in my new car. I don’t know for sure, but it seems likely this would have been one of the counties where there is interest in seceding from Maryland and joining with West Virginia.
In one of many discussions of places to live, my mother once expressed hesitation about moving south of the Mason-Dixon line, the line that separates Pennsylvania from Maryland, and it was on that trip that I saw what she meant. I also traversed a longer stretch in Virginia and while the state has largely turned blue in the red-blue dichotomy that polarizes the U.S., I saw a number of houses that evoked a plantation style. And yes, that was unsettling.
As for West Virginia, I have a storage locker in Follansbee, south of Weirton, and so, on the way back from one of my trips there, I stopped in Weirton at a Kroger store to get a fruit cup and at a car wash to get the car washed. I saw stereotypical coal mining town houses. I saw people who very strongly evoked the Appalachian archetype. The contrast from Steubenville, just across the Ohio River, was stark. The car wash folks worked hard for, judging from the amount I paid, not very much money at all and certainly did a decent job. But this, too, was unsettling and I see the Greater Appalachian connection that Colin Woodard stopped short of—and shouldn’t have—drawn to Allegheny County. And I think maybe those folks in Maryland ought to take a closer look at what they’re asking for.
Michael Levenson, “Bye, Maryland? Lawmakers in 3 Counties Float a Plan to Secede From the State,” New York Times, October 22, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/22/us/politics/maryland-counties-west-virginia-request.html
- Michael Levenson, “Bye, Maryland? Lawmakers in 3 Counties Float a Plan to Secede From the State,” New York Times, October 22, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/22/us/politics/maryland-counties-west-virginia-request.html↩
- Colin Woodard, American Nations (New York: Penguin, 2011).↩