An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
Posted on October 19, 2012
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Jesse P. Karlsberg, Emory University

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The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.

Posted on October 11, 2012
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Erika Harding, Emory University; Ben Shahn, Photographer

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Ben Shahn, Street scene, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 1935. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black-and-White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-006097-M3.
Ben Shahn, Street scene, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 1935. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black-and-White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-006097-M3.
Posted on October 9, 2012
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Christopher Lirette, Emory University

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John Egerton, Possum on Terrace, 1987.
John Egerton, PDF of "Possum on Terrace," 1987.

In 1985, "The Southern War Correspondents and Camp Followers Association" and "The Popham Seminar" held a joint meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, to celebrate journalist Johnny Popham's seventy-fifth birthday. John Egerton, a journalist and scholar who has written about southern race relations, education, and food wrote this unpublished manuscript in 1987 detailing the 1985 conference and Popham's biography.

A Virginia native, Popham was sent by the New York Times to cover the US South in the mid-twentieth century. In 1958, after twenty-five years on the road, he became the editor of The Chattanooga Times. There, he established himself as at the center of a network of southern journalists, education leaders, and politicians engaged in the civil rights movement. Popham also became known for his signature oratorical storytelling style, described by Claude Sitton in this piece as "dollops of sorghum syrup spat from a Gatling gun" (35).

Popham became a leader of a group of who called themselves the War Correspondents, white men who made their careers covering civil rights and desegregation era racial politics for southern newspapers. These men along with a group of higher education specialists also started informal conferences, which they called Popham Seminars, beginning in 1969. Most of the text of this essay is culled from Popham's speech at the 1985 conference and from interviews with other War Correspondents, making this a valuable document for inquiry into civil rights movement history and journalism. Popham, Egerton, and their colleagues continually use the language of war to describe the milieu of race relations reporting, but they do so with an ironic joviality that highlights the bond that formed between men bound by politics and circumstance.

Southern Spaces presents Egerton's tribute to Johnny Popham, "Possum on Terrace: The Southern Life and Times of Johnny Popham and a Few of His Friends," as an unedited manuscript in the spirit of archiving papers of southern figures in twentieth-century journalism.

 

Further Reading and Viewing

Egerton, John. Speak Now Against the Day. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

———. "McGill's Army: Civil Rights Reporting, Then and Now." Transcript of the 23rd Ralph McGill Lecture, University of Georgia, Athens, 2000.

———. "A Mind to Stay Here: Closing Conference Comments on Southern Exceptionalism,"Southern Spaces, November 29, 2006,
http://www.southernspaces.org/2006/mind-stay-here-closing-conference-comments-southern-exceptionalism.

———. "Walking into History: The Beginning of School Desegregation in Nashville,"Southern Spaces, May 4, 2009,
http://southernspaces.org/2009/walking-history-beginning-school-desegregation-nashville.

Roberts, Gene and Hank Klibanoff, The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation. New York: Knopf, 2006.

Wexler, Laura. "Where Words Go to Play and Sing." Georgia Magazine 78, no. 4, September 1999.

Posted on October 2, 2012
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Alan G. Pike, Emory University

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The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.

  • October 1 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the integration of the University of Mississippi. A number of media outlets reflected upon how James Meredith enrolled at the university amid violent riots in 1962. National Public Radio marked the anniversary on its Morning Edition, Tell Me More, and All Things Considered programs by interviewing historians of the integration of the University of Mississippi, James Meredith and his relatives, and students currently enrolled at the university. Kitty Dumas, an African American alumna of the university, offered her own reflection on the university's history in The New York Times. Amanda Lewis, Associate Professor of Sociology at Emory University, and John Diamond, Associate Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education, marked the anniversary by questioning the notion that public schools in the United States are really desegregated, asking "Is this the desegregation Meredith fought for?"
  • In Florida, confusion over the voting eligibility of thousands of ex-felons has a number of interest groups involved in a campaign to clarify the voter rolls across the state. In Tampa, ex-felons who had their voting rights reinstated by the state government recently received notice from their counties to the contrary. Voting eligibility of ex-felons in this swing state is especially important because laws restricting rights of felons affect nearly a quarter of all African-Americans of voting age in Florida.
  • Georgia Power (a unit of Southern Company, the second largest power company in the United States) announced on September 27 that it was seeking permission to purchase up to 210 megawatts of solar power by 2017. The proposed "Advanced Solar Initiative" would represent the largest voluntary purchase of solar energy by an investor-owned utility in the country.
  • On September 27, the Arkansas Supreme Court handed down a ruling which will make the state the first in the South to propose the legalization of medical marijuana via ballot initiative.
Posted on September 18, 2012
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Alan G. Pike, Emory University

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The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South.

  • A recent report commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which was conducted by the firm Ecotrust, revealed that overfishing for south Atlantic sea bass and red snapper are costing Southeast and Gulf Coast states nearly one hundred million dollars in combined losses resulting from fewer fishing trips for those species.
  • The past week the Georgia Secretary of State announced that the Georgia State Archives would close effective November 1, 2012. A great deal of protest followed this announcement, including letters from the American Historical Association and the Society of American Archivists, the Association of Canadian Archivists, and others. Georgia would have been the only state in the nation to close its central state archives. Then, on Wednesday, Governor Nathan Deal pledged that he would keep the archives open; however, the archives will be open for shorter hours and with a reduced staff.
Posted on September 6, 2012
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Alan G. Pike, Emory University; Carl Mydans, Photographer

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This series of Carl Mydans photographs depicting wheat farmers in the Tygart Valley of West Virginia struck us as particularly interesting, so we decided to post it as this week's set of featured images. While scouring the Library of Congress's Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives Collection, I came across the first image in the series, which seems to traffic in nostalgic visions of an agrarian landscape filled with small farmers. However, the sequence of photographs below actually shows how West Virginia farmers combined old and new technologies of agricultural production during the Great Depression. More of Mydans's photographs from the Tygart Valley can be found on the Library of Congress website.

Carl Mydans, Threshing crew loading bundles, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000720-M3.
Carl Mydans, Threshing crew loading bundles, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000720-M3.
Carl Mydans, Threshing, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000723-M2.
Carl Mydans, Threshing, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000723-M2.
Carl Mydans, Untitled, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000722-M5.
Carl Mydans, Untitled, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000722-M5.
Carl Mydans, Threshing, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000723-M5.
Carl Mydans, Threshing, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-000723-M5.
Carl Mydans, Threshing crew, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prinsts and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-00723-M3.
Carl Mydans, Threshing crew, Tygart Valley, West Virginia, August, 1936. Library of Congress Prinsts and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Black & White Negatives Collection, LC-USF33-00723-M3.
Posted on September 4, 2012
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Alan G. Pike, Emory University

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The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the US South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the US South. This week, in a belated celebration of Labor Day, The Bulletin focuses upon the role of organized labor in the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions held in Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina respectively.