Sep 1, 2014

Laboring Day

     Some old working photos from Alabama History on this Labor Day...what kind of work did your Great-Grandparents do?

A farm equipment demonstration held in Elmore County, Alabama, in February, 1928.

 Children working in a Cotton Mill in Pell City, Alabama. The photograph was taken in 1910. Notice the cotton fibers on the children's clothing.


Bessie mine, Jefferson County, Alabama

Charlie Foster has a steady job in the Merrimack Mills in Huntsville. School Record says he is now ten years old. His father told me that he could not read, and still he is putting him into the mill.


School children rehearsing Maypole festivity in Gee's Bend, Alabama: photo by Marion Post Wolcott, May 1939 (Farm Security Administration)


Tenant farmer Charlie McGuire plows his field with a team of mules on his Pike County farm in this April 1939 photograph by Marion Wolcott.

Dexter Avenue, late 1800's
"The Sam McCall family of Wilcox County, Alabama" 1910. 1998 print from the original glass plate negative.
Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.

locomotive number 209 in Decatur, Alabama, taken around 1915.

Looking at pictures: Brown McDowell working as an usher in the Princess Theater in 1911. He worked 12-hour days but could barely read in Birmingham, Alabama.

Whatever your work, a Happy Labor Day 2014!

Aug 31, 2014

Bad News/Good News

     The Bad News? This map showing the distribution of ash from a possible eruption of the volcano underneath Yellowstone National Park.

     Yes, that is all of Alabama and the other  South-Eastern States in yellow, covered with a minimal layer of ash from the eruption. Very few places in the country escape with no ash...Key West and extreme South Texas.
     The good news is that the  eruption would not make America uninhabitable, which some people had predicted. Whew.

Silver lining


A Florida first: Crocodile attacks couple during late-night dip


On the positive side, at least they weren't visiting West Alabama and swimming in the Alabama River.

Hawk Talk


"They want to go back and reject modernity," he said. "Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age."

                                         Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

Senator Cruz is a possible candidate for president.
Is nuclear OK, Senator? Faster and more efficient, no? 

Gone, Gone Gone. The Extinction of The Passenger Pigeon

"Martha", the last of her species, 100 years ago.

Smithsonian reports on the hundred years ago this year...and what lesson it holds for us.

Sunday Focus: Where will the prize land?

     What would Rosa Parks say about the battle that is getting underway over her pillbox hat? It is the hat she MAY have worn the day she stopped being a seamstress at Montgomery Fair Department Store and walked onto the world stage.
     The hat and hundreds of other things that were her possessions were purchased for $4.5 Million on Thursday by a foundation formed by Warren Buffett's family.
    And what does the family want to do with the collection that has sat in a warehouse in NY for years because the Parks family fought over it?
     They want to give it away. To an "as yet undecided institution". Let me count the candidates, not in any particular order.

1- The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington won't open til next year. Perfect. That's the 60th Anniversary of Ms. Park's heroic act. Advantage: a national audience and lots of political clout.

2- The Troy University Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery. Located on the spot where it all happened, in Montgomery. Advantage: authenticity, and the only institution with her name on it.

3- The Southern Poverty Law Center's Civil Rights Memorial, also in Montgomery. More clout and money raising ability. Advantage: The site is already a regular tourist magnet.

4--The Henry Ford Museum in Detroit. Detroit? Ford? Well, they already have a key artifact of the Rosa parks story. The bus itself. How Montgomery let that slip through their fingers is worth of a Hollywood movie, but Ms. Parks moved to Detroit and died there. Disadvantage: the museum is too much car and not enough Civil Rights. Actually I think they should give up the bus too, but that's just Tim. Advantage: not many.

5-- The Alabama Department of Archives and History. They just opened the Alabama Voices museum inside. Advantage:  they are a world class facility already preserving Alabama's past, including the shoes Governor George Wallace was wearing when he was shot. Why not let them include artifacts one of Alabama's best known women? Advantage: A State Seal.

6--Alabama State University Center for Civil Rights and African American Culture has a bigger name than building. But ASU has clout too, and land to add on to the existing structure...or build a new building. They managed to convince the U.S. Park service to locate one of three interpretive centers for the Selma to Montgomery March on their campus even though the march never passed by there. Advantage: Persistence.

7--The City of Tuskegee, Alabama. I only mention it because that's where she was born, and there is a photo of the family home in the collection. And because Mayor Johnny Ford likes to think BIG. Advantage: Johnny Ford. And famed Civil Rights lawyer Fred Gray too.

8--The City of Montgomery, Alabama. The city has been planning a huge commemoration of the Parks Anniversary and the 50th of the Selma-Montgomery march.  Hey... The Montgomery Advertiser building is still for sale down at the Alabama River. How about The City of Montgomery Museum?
Advantage: Keeping the collection where it all happened in a dedicated location, though it probably could not be completed in time.

As a child, Rosa Parks also lived in Pine Level and Henry County, Alabama.

I'm sure there are other candidates I have not thought of who will also be making calls to Mr. Buffett.
I hope whoever gets it can make it available to the public in time for next year's 60th anniversary.

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