As tends to happen, the implicit claim that the Eastern Shore of Maryland--in the 20s and 30s-- qualifies as the "South" raised some eyebrows in comments. Having traveled the South quite a bit, I can sort of see the point. But not really. It's always felt much more like Virginia to me than, say, Upstate New York or rural Massachusetts. Of course there are those who don't believe Virginia is the South either. Which is sort of the point.
Over the past decade I've heard people from South Carolina insist that Louisiana isn't the South, and people from Louisiana isn't that Virginia isn't the South, and people from Virginia insist Kentucky isn't the South, and people from Kentucky insist that Texas isn't the South, and so on...
As best I can tell, the indisputable South consists of four states--South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. It even seems that Georgia is getting sketchy--Atlanta has always skewed things.
I'm pretty much see myself as a New Yorker at this point, but as in all things, I favor broad definitions over narrow ones. Surely there needs to be some definition--but looking at this list what I'm seeing is places that still bear some resemblance to "The Old South." Again, perhaps this is just a black perspective, but I'd hate to think that deviating from barbecue dogma gets you thrown out the club.
Maryland, I can take. But Virgina?