tidbits, fragments, and ephemera 21: what’s up, 1987?

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.

Louisiana’s Education Funding Amendment, 1987

In the late 1980s, Louisiana put forth an amendment for a public vote that would require the state to fund all of its required programs. (A radical move, to be sure!) While the amendment did pass, it only passed with 56% of the vote, meaning that 44% of those who cast ballots opposed funding programs that were required by law.

Mississippi’s Race and Marriage Amendment, 1987

That same year, Mississippi’s legislature gave its people a chance to vote on Amendment 3, which would “repeal Section 263, which prohibited the marriage of a white person with an African American or a person having a certain percentage of African American blood.” Again, that amendment passed as well— barely . . . with 52% of the votes. Meaning that 48% of voters in 1987 selected the option to keep that miscegenation law on the books. (Of course, the Loving v. Virginia case had made these law unconstitutional more than a decade earlier.)(And to be fair to Mississippi, Alabama put this issue on the ballot thirteen years later, in 2000, and it only passed by 60-40 margin.)

The arrest of Walter McMillian in Alabama, 1987


Though few people knew his name before, Walter McMillian’s case became well-known in the recent film Just Mercy, which tells the story of Brian Stevenson and his Equal Justice Initiative law firm. McMillian was arrested for murder and other crimes in Monroeville, Alabama in June 1987. He was exonerated in March 1993 after spending six years on death row.

Charles Blackburn in Forsyth County, Georgia, 1987

excerpt: “Growth in Forsyth County only accelerated with the extension of Georgia 400 in the 1970s. […] Although the population remained almost entirely white, many of the new residents were from other parts of the country and did not share the same racist beliefs that some locals held. One new resident, a martial arts instructor named Charles Blackburn, wanted to organize a protest in January of 1987 to show that the county had overcome its prior racial intolerance. A flood of threats forced Blackburn to cancel the event (and eventually flee the county), but the march went on thanks to civil rights activist Hosea Williams and Dean Carter, a Gainesville resident.”

The South Carolina-Miami brawl in the 1987 Independence Bowl

This 2014 article offers a look back at the December 1987 fight between the two teams.

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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