In the States and in the souls where Confederate flags still fly, they fluttered at half-mast last March for M.E. Bradford, gentleman, scholar, political thinker, and Good Old Rebel, who departed this world too soon at the age of 58. Yet the legacy he left to an America now being reconstructed to suit political correctness and political expediency is one that not only his Southern friends, students, colleagues, and admirers should receive. The two countries he loved so much—America and the South—need to take their stand on the ground he unflinchingly defended.
Trained as a Faulkner scholar at Vanderbilt. Dr. Bradford wound up best known for his political thought and the political action to which his thought led. At the center of that thought was the American South, whose native and faithful son Mel was, though his thought was not limited to it and the South he represented was a far march from the cavaliers and belles sipping brandy on the veranda that Hollywood and romance novels have inflicted on us.
Mel Bradford's South had the hard beauty of old women who have buried their sons, of Texas frontiersmen who have fought Comanches, of small farmers who have worked barren fields alone and died at Shiloh for a cause that could not win. His was the South that sings the human tragedy, a drama that never leaves the stage no matter how rich, powerful, and progressive its actors and spectators might swell.