tidbits, fragments, and ephemera 27: the post-Civil Rights edition

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.

The carving of Stone Mountain completed, 1972

excerpt: “The Confederate Memorial Carving depicts three Southern heroes of the Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The figures measure 90 by 190 feet, surrounded by a carved surface that covers three acres, it is larger than a football field – the largest relief sculpture in the world. The carving is recessed 42 feet into the mountain. Work on the Carving began in 1915 and was completed in 1972.

George Wallace’s “apology,” January 1979

excerpt: “Yesterday, in a wide‐ranging interview, Mr. Wallace veered even closer to public apology for his resistance to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, saying that racial killings in Alabama during his three terms as Governor ‘broke my heart.'”

“The 1981 Lynching that Bankrupted an Alabama KKK” on history.com

Sometimes called “the last lynching,” Michael Donald’s death at the hands of two Ku Klux Klansmen was a heinous latter-day event in Civil Rights history. Donald was accosted at random by his killers who sought make a statement with their actions. After he was killed, his body was tied to a tree in downtown Mobile, Alabama. The two KKK members were soon identified, tried, and convicted, and a successful civil lawsuit against the Klan followed. Among the accounts are the books Thirteen Loops and The Lynching.

Civil Rights films of the 1980s and ’90s

While there were movies about the then-recent Civil Rights movement made in the 1970s, subsequent decades saw a series of prominent dramas based on real events, like Mississippi Burning (1988), Long Walk Home (1990), and Ghosts of Mississippi (1996). For many GenX Southerners whose elders didn’t or wouldn’t discuss those difficult events, the films were glimpses into what happened to shape the society we experienced as children.

“Drowning” by Hootie and the Blowfish, 1994

Though the band is often associated with sing-along Southern college-rock, its platinum-selling debut album contained the song “Drowning,” which was a direct attack on racists and the Confederate flag. With lyrics like “tired of hearing this shit about ‘heritage, not hate'” and allusions to white people telling black people to “go back to Africa,” the song was not exactly “Hold My Hand.” Of course, it didn’t exactly get the same amount of radio play either.

excerpt: “After a 21-year court fight, the state of Mississippi today unsealed more than 124,000 pages of secret files from a state agency [the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission] that used spy tactics, intimidation, false imprisonment, jury tampering and other illegal methods to thwart the activities of civil rights workers during the 1950’s, 60’s and early 70’s.”

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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