Under Georgia law, the governor and legislative branches are exempt from the state’s Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. §50-18-70). The judicial branch, including county superior courts, operates under a different set of rules for making court records — case files, land records, etc. — available to the public. Continue reading →
Early Edgewood-Candler Park BiRacial History Project marker screen capture.
A small group of Candler Park volunteers installed a new historical marker at the site where the first Antioch East Baptist Church stood between 1877 and 1916. The installation took place Saturday Nov. 9, 2013. Residents used a posthole digger to set the new panel, which features text and historical images, near a commemorative granite bench which was installed in 2011.
The marker is part of an ambitious effort to document early African American history in Atlanta’s Candler Park neighborhood. Planning for the marker began three years ago and it is the fourth historical marker placed in the neighborhood stemming from Candler Park’s BiRacial History Project founder Edith Kelman’s research.
New historical marker and commemorative bench. Photo by Edith Kelman.
Funding for the marker came from the 420 Oakdale Group. Kelman worked with community volunteers and Atlanta design firm Goolrick Interpretive Group to develop it. Volunteers Randy Pimsler and Danny Feig-Sandoval excavated the postholes for the marker. Onlookers include 420 Oakdale Group members Kelly Jordan, Don Bender, and Roger Bakeman.
This video slideshow captures the installation and a more complete account will appear in a future Candler Park Neighborhood Organization newsletter.
The riots that tore through Washington, D.C., after Martin Luther King’s assassination in April 1968 left many neighborhoods physically and emotionally scarred for decades. Columbia Heights was one of the most adversely affected. Continue reading →
Jesse James (1847-1882) was a nineteenth century outlaw who became a popular figure in American folk legend and folk song. By the twentieth century, film and television joined the earlier oral and print traditions with fictional and documentary renditions of James’s life.
Eric King (front) and Joel (J.T. Speed) Murphy at the Blind Willie’s bar, Oct. 24, 1990. My recorder is on the bar. Photo by author.
Earlier this year I began taking steps towards completing a project that had its origins back in 1990. For a few hours the evening of October 24, 1990, Eric King and I consumed a fair amount of alcohol and talked blues music and history at the bar of his Atlanta club, Blind Willie’s. At the time, I wrote a blues column for a short-lived alt-weekly, Footnotes. I had been spending lots of time in Willie’s and I had wanted to interview King for background material for future stories. Continue reading →
The Washington, D.C., Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) office has begun posting excerpts from the oral history interviews I did for them between 2007 and 2009. The first excerpt posted is from my summer 2007 interview with Washington Parks and People executive director Steve Coleman.
My interview with Coleman covered a lot of territory. The clip posted at the DC LISC Website focuses on the rehabilitation of Washington’s Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X Park). Surf on over to the page or listen to the clip here:
Well, the name of it is Old Julia still. I guess you hard of that. — M.R., March 1988.
Former turpentine camp site, St. Johns County, Fla.
“Old Julia” was the name of a turpentine still and camp that operated in rural St. Johns County, Fla., in the 1920s and 1930s. And then, like other temporary naval stores processing sites in the Coastal Plain flatwoods, its owner moved the buildings and people to another stand of longleaf pines to extract resin for distillation into turpentine.
Over the past three years this site has changed platforms once and servers twice. It also has gone through some growing pains, false starts, and wrong turns. When I migrated the blog from WordPress.com there were some formatting errors that occurred in the earlier telecommunications history posts (embedded media not rendering correctly, etc.). Also, because of changes in Google Maps plugins over time, some of the embedded maps in older posts were broken.
After a couple of weeks of repair work, all of the graphics and other embedded media in the Western Union microwave network series appear to have been restored. The site has a new brick background –Catskill brick pavers from Savannah, Ga. — and better optimized photos. Gone are many of the posts that detoured from the site’s purpose: telling stories about the past. They diminished the site’s integrity and were a distraction from what I set out to achieve with this site.
New posts on the way cover recent past resources in the Washington suburbs and some fun ways to combine music with oral history. Future posts will be shorter and mainly will provide introductions and complementary information for blog posts and articles published elsewhere in edited sites, like the recent piece on a Southern poet’s home, and e-journals.
In 1893, an acclaimed Atlanta poet built a fashionable wood home in the Atlanta Suburban Land Company’s East End subdivision. The two-story vernacular Victorian gable-front home with turned porch posts and spindlework stands out among its one-story cottage neighbors in Decatur, Ga.’s, Oakhurst neighborhood.
Probably not. But this is the best one I’ve read in a while.
Wills and other probate instruments are pretty ordinary, almost formulaic, documents. Most of the time. I recently came across a will filed in 1942 in Decatur, Georgia, that deviated from the routine. The author made the usual requests that his affairs be settled and his wife administer his estate. And then he got to the part where he directed his heirs to deal with his remains:
THIRD - I direct my remains to be clothed in plain apparel at a minimum cost and conveyed in as inexpensive coffin, casket, or receptacle as possible and cremated in Macon, Georgia, and my ashes returned, in a durable container, to my wife ….
FOURTH - I nominate my friends …. to elect one from their number to accompany my remains to the place of incineration and return with my ashes.
FIFTH - I direct my wife to pay the expenses for the disposal of my remains according to the foregoing prescribed manner, including the fare and transportation of one that attends my remains and returns with my ashes, but nothing for funeral services.
SIXTH - I request that my remains be disposed of without embalment if it can be done satisfactorily to all concerned.
SEVENTH - I shall die as I have lived, believing in the God of nature only, discarding the fairy tales of the Bible as nonsense, which have added many burdens of mental anguish to millions of people departing this life, who were never permitted to think rationally for themselves; hence I earnestly request that no preacher, priest or clergyman officiate at my funeral. I shall go the way of all life without fear of eternal punishment.