“I am a redneck myself, born and bred on a submarginal farm in Appalachia, descended from an endless line of dark-complected, lug-eared, beetle-browed, insolent barbarian peasants, a line reaching back to the dark forests of central Europe and the alpine caves of my Neanderthal primogenitors.” — from”In defense of the Redneck”
from Abbey’s Road by Edward Abbey
The term “Redneck” has a long and illustrious history although today many people think of it as a pejorative description for rural people. In fact, if you look up redneck in any current dictionary, you will find it shown as slang with its disparaging meanings. But originally, “redneck” stood for the concepts of freedom and self-determination. We here at Save the Redneck want to help restore the original meaning of the word, and we want to honor rednecks in every state, and in every walk of life, with the respect that heritage and adherence to redneck values bestows. We think that once you read this brief but well researched history you will understand why rednecks everywhere deserve to proclaim, “Proud to be a redneck.”
One of the values that a redneck holds true is the concept of individual freedom. The Covenanters of 17th century Scotland prescribed to this ideology and are the true founders of the “Redneck” movement. The Covenanters rejected the Church of England as their sanctioned church. In doing so, they also refused to be ruled by bishops which was the conventional method of church government. Many of the self determined Covenanters signed documents with their own blood that rejected episcopacy and demanded a Presbyterian Church government. To show their allegiance in this movement the Covenanters began wearing red pieces of cloth around their necks and were appropriately called “Rednecks.” Out of defiance, the original redneck was born.
The American redneck is a direct descendant of these fiercely independent people. The Scotch-Irish migrated from Ulster to the American colonies in the 18th century. They were the first immigrants to settle in the bountiful Appalachian Wilderness and large parts of the South. They were characterized by their distinct Scotch-Irish heritage, language and distinct ability to craft anything they needed out of the rough landscape. They were a resourceful group of honorable people who maintained their old ways and carried forth the proud title of redneck.