tidbits, fragments, and ephemera 3

tidbits, fragments, and ephemera is a usually weekly but not always, sometimes substantial but not making any promises glimpse at some information and news related to Generation X in the Deep South.

Alabama’s first Free Thinkers Club, 1996

Twenty five years ago this month, two Pelham High School students started Alabama’s first chapter of this atheist organization, which is chartered by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The article cited here was written by one of the two students, and he describes being frustrated by the presence of Christian symbols and groups on campus.

Dollywood’s Grand Opening, 1986

Thirty-five years ago this month, in May 1986, country singer Dolly Parton opened her now-famous theme park Dollywood in East Tennessee. According to the article on her website, “The Dollywood opening featured many family attractions including the Flooded Mine, Blazing Fury, the Dollywood Express, Smoky Mountain River Rampage and Fun Country, featuring a family favorite, the Big Log Flume.”

Klansman and Louisiana politician David Duke, 1991

Thirty years ago this month, David Duke was making national headlines for his efforts to give “welfare mothers” an extra $100 per month to go on birth control so they couldn’t have more children. Duke was an bizarre and unfortunate fixture of Southern (and national) politics in the 1980s and ’90s. At this time, he was a state representative who was running for governor.

Creationism in Arkansas and Louisiana, 1981–1982

In searching for information to share, creationism and science education seemed to be on some Southern politician’s minds in the early ’80s. In 1981, both Arkansas and Louisiana passed laws requiring that “equal time” be given to creationism and evolution. Arkansas’s law and Louisiana’s Balanced Treatment Act were both declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court the following year. Nature magazine ran an article about this titled “Creationism again an issue in Arkansas,” and more recently, PBS produced a documentary that featured these events called Evolution Revolution. In 1981, GenXers would have been as old as 16 and stood to be affected by those requirements for science education, had the laws been upheld.

level:deepsouth is an online anthology about growing up Generation X in the Deep South during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. The anthology is open to submissions of creative nonfiction (essays, memoirs, and reviews) and images (photos and flyers), as well as to contributions for the lists.

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