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 12

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.


Birmingham radio station WAPI changes format, August 1981

About the same time that MTV was coming on the air, Birmingham’s “95 Rock” came into being after a format change to “album rock” from lighter listening.

“In Viral Bumper Sticker, Man Summed Up 1991 Governor’s Race,” July 17, 2021

This US News article from 2021 looks back at a Louisiana man named Kirby Newburger, whose unorthodox message to voters in the 1991 governor’s race was memorable: “Vote for the Crook: It’s Important.” Newburger was trying to support the election of Edwin Edwards, regarded by some as corrupt, over the openly racist David Duke.

“Mississippi Governor Bans Same-Sex Marriage,” August 24, 1996

Twenty five years ago this month, The New York Times was reporting that Mississippi’s governor Kirk Fordice had “issued an executive order banning same-sex marriages in the state in a move he said was intended to strengthen the state’s existing anti-sodomy law while a legal review of the issue is proceeding in the courts and in Congress.” The last paragraph of the article states: “The intended effect of the Governor’s executive order is to prevent county clerks from issuing marriage licenses for people of the same sex, and to invalidate in Mississippi such licenses issued by other states.”

The release of Charlie Daniels, 1971

It was fifty years ago that Charlie Daniel’s self-titled debut album was released. Though his more memorable hits, like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” would come later, Daniels was hailed as a pioneer of the new Southern rock genre. To put it in perspective, debut albums by both Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Marshall Tucker Band came out two years later in 1973.


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.