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 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.

road trips— for the tame travels and messy adventures of Generation X

The road trips section of level:deepsouth is for recollections and ruminations on enduring/enjoying family vacations, heading out of town with friends, going on tour with the band, or whatever reason we had for piling in the car and leaving home for a while. In an era before backseat DVD players or GPS mapping, when “turn on the air” often meant rolling down the windows, road trips were about  breaking the monotony of the same-old same-old. Whether it was the annual trip to Grandma’s or a weekend jaunt to catch a concert, whether it was with your folks, your college buddies, or some friend of a friend who was bumming a ride, road trips could be trials-by-fire or unforgettable bonding experiences for Gen-Xers. And while it’s important to write about what happened in our everyday lives, it’s also important to give some of our attention to the unreliable cars, shady gas stations, nasty rest stops, newfound friends, unexpected sights, and cops behind billboards that came to us along the two-lane blacktops and four-lane highways.

To learn more about submitting to level:deepsouth‘s road trips section, click here

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