tidbits, fragments, and ephemera 15: Baldwin Lee’s “Black Americans in the South”

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.


Baldwin Lee and “Black Americans in the South,” 1984

After studying at MIT and Yale, Chinese-American photographer Baldwin Lee took a backroads expedition through the South in the 1980s. The link above is to Lee’s website, and below is one of six short videos on YouTube on the cmaweb channel that have Lee talking about his work in Mississippi, Louisian, and South Carolina.

“Photographing Black Lives in America’s South” in Time magazine, 2015

excerpt: “Baldwin Lee’s inspired work from the mid-1980s deserves to be known by a larger audience. It is the result of a keen talent and intellect working with discipline, passion, concern, and risk. The neglected world he describes has perhaps vanished by now, but it is my hope that his unique images along with his words will find a publisher and enrich our understanding of what photographers do.”

“Baldwin Lee’s unblinking views of the South” in The Virginian-Pilot, June 2012

excerpt: “Baldwin Lee journeyed into unknown territory in 1982 after taking a job in Knoxville, where he founded the photography program for the University of Tennessee.”


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.

tidbits, fragments, and ephemera 14: the mid-’90s 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.


Top-ranked Tennessee Vols lose to Memphis in a shocker, 1996

It was November. Tennessee was ranked in the top ten, had Peyton Manning as their quarterback, and were eyeing a national championship as the season was winding down. Then they lost to cross-state rival Memphis.

Mississippi ratifies the Thirteen Amendment, 1995

It only took Mississippi 130 years to take action on ratifying the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery in the United States. Of course, the amendment had taken effect in the years after the Civil War when a majority of states agreed about the issue at that time, but perhaps bitter about their defeat, the Magnolia State held out. In an additional aspect to the story, though, the legislature didn’t actually complete the paperwork for the ratification in 1995, but that was not discovered until 2012. Mississippi, thus, officially ratified the amendment, by completing the process, in 2013.

Window tinting in Alabama, 1996

Alabama’s statewide law on car window tinting took effect in August 1996. This may not seem like a big deal, but it was at the time. People – among them, many GenX teenagers and twentysomethings –  who had tinting already had to take their cars to have it checked to see whether they would be in violation, and those whose windows were too dark would have to have the tinting removed or redone, which wasn’t cheap. And there were so many people who needed a redo that auto shops had lines and wait lists.

from The Montgomery Advertiser, July 14, 1996

The Telegraph remembers the Flood of 1994

Macon, Georgia’s Telegraph newspaper compiled a video, which is posted online within this story, showing comparative images of flooded areas in 1994 to then-current shots of the same places in 2019, twenty-five years later. At the time, Hurricane Alberto stalled over Georgia and dumped massive amounts of water onto the state.

“Highway One: Lost Louisiana II” from Louisiana Public Broadcasting, 1994

The video below is a nine-minute section of the longer program. Clicking the link the header will take you to the full 42-minute program.


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.

tidbits, fragments, and ephemera 13

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.


“50 years ago, the color barrier was broken for Alabama”, July 16, 2021

excerpt: “Still, it was 1970 before Wilbur Jackson became the first Black player to receive a football scholarship from Alabama. Jackson first played in the 1971 season and rushed for over 1500 yards at Alabama [ . . .] Jackson is a native of Ozark, AL where the mayor has ordered a soon to be completed 86-foot mural of Jacksoncelebrating the 50th anniversary of his accomplishment.”

“Burrell Children. Mississippi, August 1976.”

This photograph by African American photographer Ronald L. Freeman is part of the photography series Southern Roads/City Pavements, held by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The series is available on online, so other photos of Mississippi in the 1970s are available, too. His work can also be viewed on the website of the Ogden Museum.

Hurricane Hugo hits South Carolina, 1989

Herschel Walker wins the Heisman, 1982

In the 1980s, the Deep South (so, the SEC) had two of the greatest running backs in football history: Auburn’s Bo Jackson and Georgia’s Herschel Walker. The conference produces many great players, but these two stood out even among that group.

Dash Rip Rock in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame

Founded in southern Louisiana in 1984, Dash Rip Rock was inducted in the LMHOF in 2012. The band had a hit in the ’90s with “Let’s Go Smoke Some Pot” and is often lumped into the subgenre “cowpunk” or “country punk.”


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.