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 9

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.


Tennessee Waltz (alternate title: Tennessee Nights), 1989

By the 1980s, screen media like television and media had long been in full effect as the main providers of imagery and narratives about the South. Functioning as arbiters of truth, Hollywood offered an array of portrayals of Southern life, especially the small-town and rural South, as a place that continued to be violent, racist, and hostile to outsiders. Employing familiar actors Ned Beatty (of Deliverance fame) and Rod Steiger (from In the Heat of the Night), this film from 1989 has a visiting British attorney crossing racial lines and facing the consequences.

Mike Espy elected to Congress from Mississippi, 1986

In November 1986, near the end of Reagan’s second term, Democrat Mike Espy was elected to the 2nd Congressional District in Mississippi, making him the state’s first black representative to a federal seat since Reconstruction, which ended more than a hundred years earlier. Espy was born in 1953 in Yazoo City, so was in his early 30s when he was first elected. He remained in office until 1997.

HIV and AIDS in the ’80s and ’90s

This CDC report from 2001 shows a quickie glimpse at information related to AIDS from 1981 – 2000. We see that the South had 25.7% of cases nationally and that mainly the oldest GenXers were affected. In 1981, GenXers were between newborn and 16, and in 2000, between 19 and 35 years old. Considering that only one-quarter of cases were occurring in the South, and those mainly in high-risk groups, the average GenXer in the South was highly unlikely to contract the disease.

An Econochrist discography

Though they made their name in the Bay Area around San Francisco and Oakland, this hardcore-punk band was originally from Little Rock, Arkansas. They played together in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The 1992 National Championship (in under 33 minutes)

Led by Bear Bryant alum Gene Stallings and QB Jay Barker, the University of Alabama won a national championship in 1992, beating Miami in the Sugar Bowl 34 – 13. After winning a number of championships in the 1970s and ’80s, the team and its fans may have been hoping that the golden days were back. However, it was a one-off thing, and they would have to wait until 2009 for Nick Saban to have Bear-like success.


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.