Sunday, November 28, 2021

Pull Up a Chair and Sit a Spell at the Conference on the Front Porch

In the South, the front porch has always been for sittin’ and whittlin’ and shellin’ peas and butterbeans. Now it’s also a topic of scholarly discourse at the second annual Conference on the Front Porch, to be held Wednesday and Thursday, October 18-19, at the Mill at Plein Air in Taylor.
The conference will include lectures, panel discussions, live music and meals, plus a porch concert and even a porch play.
According to the conference website, the event “aims to explore the significance of the front porch in the American South, both from an architectural as well as a sociological perspective. The two-day conference explores the origins of the front porch; its role in building and sustaining community; the porch and food; the porch and music; and the porch and its impact on the storytelling tradition in the South.”
The registration fee is $275, which covers all meals, lectures and activities. Interested persons can register online at
John T. Edge, author of “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South” and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, will deliver the keynote address, “Potlikker and the Porch,” at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
Other speakers and performers will include former Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat; Ralph Eubanks, author of “The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South” and “Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past”; blues historian Scott Barretta, host of “Highway 61 Radio” and editor of Living Blues magazine; painter and sculptor William Dunlap; John Maxwell, writer and star of the one-man show, “Oh, Mr. Faulkner, Do You Write?”; Curtis Wilkie, journalist, Ole Miss professor and author of “Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped the Modern South”; country music singer/songwriter Tricia Walker; Garlan Gudger, owner of Southern Accents in Cullman, Alabama; and Michael Dolan, journalist, television writer/producer and author of “The American Porch: An Informal History of an Informal Place” and editor of American History Magazine.