Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Alabama History & Culture News: September 22 edition

 



Here's the latest batch of links to just-published Alabama history and culture articles. Most of these items are from newspapers, with others from magazines and TV and radio station websites. Some articles may be behind a paywall. Enjoy!


Atmore author will talk about his book “Alabama Creek Indians” - Mullet Wrapper
Vickery (pictured) offers a timeless material that helps the reader truly navigate the historicalgenealogical and biographical base of the Alabama Creek ...


Huntsville Ghost Walks & Haunted Spots in North Alabama - Rocket City Mom
Tours begin in front of historic Harrison Brothers Hardware store which is also where you purchase your tickets. There are walking tours, and while no one jumps ...

Alabama small towns: Greensboro
From a civil rights museum to a historic opera house to one-of-a-kind eateries, shops and charming inns, there are many ways to enjoy your time there.

Trail of Tears Ride commemorates dark days in Native American history | WHNT.com
MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — This weekend, thousands of motorcyclists took to the roads in North Alabama for the Train of Tears Ride, braving the rain, ...

Rick Bragg to Receive Fitzgerald Museum Literary Prize | Alabama News - USNews.com
While there's a lot of humor in Bragg's new novel, it also touches on sadness. Bragg's brother Sam, who was a major figure in the book. passed away toward the ...

'Truth-telling has to happen': the museum of America's racist history | Alabama | The Guardian
He kept being drawn back into American history, and what had happened in his adoptive home of Montgomery. The Alabama capital was the site of the first ...


Remember When: A road of romance in state history - The Andalusia Star-News
An interesting article by Rebecca Phillips appeared in The Birmingham News on January 15, 1939. “Montgomery, Ala. – To the lover of Alabama's ...


Historic ASU Residence Hall to Be Renamed for Civil Rights Activist Jo Ann Robinson ...
The Alabama State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously on September 17, 2021, to rename one of the campus's historic residence halls in


Grants to library make local history more accessible | Anniston | annistonstar.com
Teresa Kiser, director of the library, said the first grant was a $10,000 competitive Alabama Humanities Recovery grant from the Alabama Humanities Alliance.


Meet the local elementary student who's published children's books - Bham Now
Glitter the Unicorn goes from Birmingham to across the pond · Check out Callie's advice for other children with big dreams · Giving back to Children's of Alabama.

Review: 'The Speckled Beauty,' by Rick Bragg | Star Tribune
... rural Alabama driveway and somehow nursed back to health. A former reporter for the New York Times, a Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of 12 books, ...


The inside guide to Muscle Shoals, Alabama's music capital | National Geographic
In case you were in any doubt about its contribution to music history, the plucky studio's hit records have sold a staggering 350 million copies ...

Archaeologists Discover Trove of Artifacts at Site of 19th-Century Alabama Tavern | Smart ...
As the museum notes on Facebook, the work was funded by a Historic Sites Grant from the Alabama Historical Commission. Among the artifacts found ...


'We should all come together,' says Birmingham church bombing survivor - al.com
In researching that history, Williams learned about how Rudolph survived the bombing that killed her sister. “I could not believe after all my years ...

She is buried next to Hank in Oakwood Cemetery Annex in Montgomery. To mark the site of their impromptu wedding, artist Wes Hardin painted a mural ...


30 cool indie bookstores across the country that you'll want to check out - 10Best
From improving literacy or helping get books to children in need, ... Alabama, The Haunted Book Shop is an indie bookstore with lots of character.


Artifacts found dating to before Alabama became state - AP News
A state team funded by a grant recently conducted a dig at the northwest Alabama site, which is the site of a museum that focuses on the history ..


After 2020 celebration postponed, FBC Salem marks 175th anniversary - The Alabama Baptist
“It was wonderful to see people come back who had not been there in a while,” he said. During the special service, Babson presented a brief history of ...


Opinion | Honoring the memory of Harold Alonzo Franklin - Alabama Political Reporter
Harold A. Franklin graduated from Alabama State College, now University, ... approval of a graduate history program at Alabama State University.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Who Was Joseph E. Pullum?

Sometimes I'm researching something and follow it down a rabbit hole that leads to another rabbit hole. And here we are...

I recently watched PBS' "American Experience" episode on Alabama native Joe Louis and his June 1938 championship fight with Max Schmeling. Well worth watching, by the way. During the program I heard a song from the 1930's about Louis on the soundtrack. Hmm, I thought, I wonder who wrote and sang that ditty. A little time on Google led me to a 2001 New York Times article discussing  the songs written about Louis. In it the author noted that composer and music researcher Rena C. Kosersky has identified over 40 songs about the boxer from the 1930’s & 1940’s. The first was Joe Pullum’s “Joe Louis Is the Man” recorded 27 July 1935 in San Antonio. 

Lo and behold, Pullum was born in Anniston. Let's investigate. 

Wikipedia gives his birthdate as December 25, 1905, but Pullum's World War II draft registration card--filled out by Pullum on October 16, 1940, in Houston, Texas-- gives the date as December 20, 1907 [see below]. That earlier date appears in the California Death Index 1940-1997 [accessed via Ancestry.com]; Pullum died in Los Angeles on January 7, 1964. 

According to the Alabama Select Marriage Indexes, 1816-1942 [Ancestry.com], his parents William Pullum and Dora Ross were both Alabama natives and married in Calhoun County on April 3, 1898. The family moved not long after Joseph's birth, since the 1910 U.S. Census shows them living on Andrews Street in Houston, Texas. In addition to Joseph and his parents, the census lists two older siblings, William Jr. who was ten years old and Carlton, who was six. By the 1920 census, they had moved to Meyer Street and added sister Evelyn, who was eleven, and Mary A. Ross, presumably Dora's mother, to the family group. 

By 1930 only Joseph and his parents were listed in the household at 1211 Arthur Street. The record notes that he could read and write and worked as a presser in a cleaning shop. The 1937 City Directory for Houston has the same trio at the same address, but Joseph is working as a musician. His father was a porter. Brothers William, Jr. and Carlton and their wives are listed at other addresses in the city. 

Pullum made a total of 30 recordings on Bluebird Records between April 1934 and February 1936; most were done in San Antonio. A vocalist, Pullum worked with two pianists on those sessions, Rob Cooper and Andy Boy. In the 1940's he moved to Los Angeles and recorded with another pianist, Lloyd Glenn, for Swing Time Records in 1948. Other than a rumored demo made in 1953, that was the end of Pullum's recording career. 

Pullum appears in California voter registration records at two different addresses  in Los Angeles between 1946 until 1962. Wikipedia notes that although he died in Los Angeles, he was buried back in Houston. I was unable to find him listed in Find-A-Grave. All of his known recordings were reissued in 1995 on Document Records in two volumes available here and here

His very first recording was "Black Gal What Makes Your Head So Hard?" on April 3, 1934, at the Texas Hotel in San Antonio. That number would become his most successful; he recorded several different versions including one titled "My Woman". The recording sold well and was covered by a number of other artists. 

Other songs recorded in the San Antonio sessions included "Mississippi Flood Blues", "Married Woman Blues", "Telephone Blues", "Dixie My Home", and "Cow, See That Train Comin'". 

Pullum is one of numerous blues artists whose lives are poorly documented. Questions here include why did the Pullums leave Anniston for Houston? One source quoted by Wikipedia says Pullum performed on a Houston radio station in  the late 1930's, but that station was absorbed by another in August 1932. Did Pullum perform in public venues such as clubs and roadhouses? Why did he move to Los Angeles, did he perform live there and what did he do for a living until his 1964 death? Where in Houston is he buried?

Perhaps some day at least some of these questions will be answered....

You can find some of Pullum's recordings on YouTube. "Joe Louis Is the Man" is here











Recorded August 13, 1935, in San Antonio with Andy Boy on piano






Pullum's entire recorded output was issued on two CDs in 1995 by Document Records; see links above. 








Source: Ancestry.com 







Sunday, September 12, 2021

Alabama History & Culture News: September 12 edition

 


Here's the latest batch of links to just-published Alabama history and culture articles. Most of these items are from newspapers, with others from magazines and TV and radio station websites. Some articles may be behind a paywall. Enjoy!


Harper Lee travels blurred line between fact and fiction in "Furious Hours" - Columbia Daily Tribune
Mild spoilers may be included. On Aug. 3, 1970, the Rev. Willie Maxwell's wife, Mary Lou, was found dead in her car beside an Alabama highway. During ...

Copy Shop Near Auburn University Closes After 34 Years | Alabama News - USNews.com
“He became our loyal customer,” Solomon said. “We've printed his book before it was published so many times.” Behind the Glass owner Donna Young ...


Local medical student writes COVID-19 children's book: 'The Virus That Came to Town' - WRDW
Walters says plenty of friends, family, and children helped him pull off this book including an art teacher in Alabama who illustrates it. If you want ..

First Baptist Church Bay Minette celebrates 150th anniversary
Dalton Campbell of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission also presented a plaque during the service. Share with others:.

Aiming for the Unmediated Response: A Conversation with Brandon Taylor
BRANDON TAYLOR'S NEW BOOK — his first short story collection, ... A writer, editor, and essayist, Taylor was born in Alabama and studied chemistry ...
Tim Gayle's new book "Cramton Bowl" is an intriguing account of the historical purpose of a ...
MONTGOMERY, Ala., Sep. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Tim Gayle, a journalist and native Montgomery sports reporter, has completed his new book ...

Harold Franklin, Auburn University's first African American student, passes away at age 88
... passed away Thursday at his home in Sylacauga, Alabama. ... from the University of Denver and teaching history at Alabama State University, ...


First Black Student at Auburn University Dies at 88 | Alabama News - USNews.com
... the University of Denver and taught history at Alabama State University, ... A historic marker near the university library tells his story, ..

Alabama's Return to the Sea | Hakai Magazine
Adiel Klompmaker, the curator of paleontology at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, which has owned and excavated a large swath of Harrell ...


This historic hotel is a snapshot of Alabama history - al.com
The hotel managed to stay in business in part because it gained a reputation for the “family-style meals served there,” Joyce Burrage wrote in the book ...

Wetumpka becomes tourist mecca for fans of Ben and Erin Napier - Alabama NewsCenter
The historic Victorian home, seen in the 2003 Tim Burton movie “Big Fish,” which was based on the novel by Alabama author Daniel Wallace, sits on a hill ...

Alabama Booksmith book store Homewood Alabama - WVTM 13
Book lovers from across Alabama are flocking to a bookstore in Homewood for a unique, nostalgic shopping experience. WVTM 13's Lisa Crane takes you inside ...

I walked across Selma's Edmund Petus Bridge and saw a synagogue | The Christian Century
The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, is known around the world for one thing ... After our bridge walk into history, we climbed back into the car and ...

Alabama's tax credit for historic renovations providing boost to projects - The Business Journals
Alabama's tax credit for historic renovations has provided a big boost for downtown Birmingham. Will the program's extension spread that impact throughout the ...

Books of interest - Atmore News
Of Smoke and Sand deals with the lives and events surrounding the fictional Badaraque Plantation in Baldwin County, Alabama beginning in 1835 until falling ...

Poet's debut novel tells exhilarating story of Black family | Free | annistonstar.com
The book calls to mind the brilliant work of Yaa Gyasi in “Homegoing,” her 2016 award-winning debut novel set in both Ghana and Alabama, though Gyasi's book ...

Debut Novel, The Essence Of Nathan Biddle, Earns High Critical Acclaim, Accolades - PR Newswire
Debut Novel, The Essence Of Nathan Biddle, Earns High Critical Acclaim, Accolades. Written by Alabama native J. William Lewis, The Essence of Nathan Biddle is ...

Alumnus returns to OU for staged reading of his play 'Alabama Story' - The Oakland Post
“I took a lot of theatre and film history classes,” said Jones. “I wanted to be an entertainment writer.” After graduating, he worked as a critical ...


Lucille Times, civil rights figure who fought same driver of Rosa Parks bus, dies at 100 - Newsela
Her role in fighting segregation in Alabama reflected a "remarkable, but undiscovered piece of history" that was unknown to many nationwide, said Troy King.

Hundreds gathered at Hillcrest Cemetery in Boaz Saturday afternoon to ... of the Alabama Society of the Sons of the American Revolution dressed in full ...

Navy Fireman 2nd Class Ralph Curtis Battles, 25, was on board the USS Oklahoma Dec. 7, 1941, and for decades he's been buried as an unknown in the National ...

Auburn's 'Bloody Sunday' history project to receive $189,837 NEH grant - Alabama NewsCenter
“We will be using much of the work that doctors H├ębert and Burt did on documenting the historic sites from that period in Selma's history,” Gaddis said. That ...

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Booklegger Used Books in Huntsville

For many years whenever my brother Richard and I are in Huntsville together visiting mom, we always try to make it by Booklegger Used Books. Our dad used to visit before his death in 2003; he probably introduced us to it. I've taken my son Amos at least once. 

I have no idea about the history of the place, and have been unable to find any online. Booklegger may be one of the last bookstores in America with no email address, no web site, no Facebook page, no presence on Instagram or Twitter. They do have a telephone, however; you can call them at 256-895-0082. The store also has an address and zip code: 4001C Holmes Avenue in Huntsville, 35816. 

Booklegger also has a vast collection of hardback and paperback books housed in three large rooms. Richard and I usually start at the new arrivals section and branch out from there. There are sizeable sections for Civil War and military history, which Richard spends some time in. I check out the Alabama books and then graze through the biographies, fiction, poetry and even the health section because sometimes an interesting medical history tome will turn up there. 

More comments are below some of the photos. I highly recommend Booklegger where you can spend some quality time with many, many books you might want to purchase. I only wish I could get by there more often. 

I've written several other posts about Alabama bookstores: one in Cullman formerly known as Deb's BookstoreBooks  Etc in Pelham which closed a few years ago, some long gone bookstores in Auburn and an adult bookstore that operated in Birmingham in the 1970's. 

One day soon I'm going to get serious and do a batch of posts from materials I've collected over the years about Alabama bookstores. 





The Booklegger is located in a small retail strip at the corner of Holmes Avenue and Jordan Lane. Interestingly, the building that houses Infinity College Bookstore is right next door. 







And here we are in some kind of nirvana. The photos below are all of different rows of books, or the same row from the other end. Yes, a veritable maze....
















Ah, the familiar yellow and black covers of a few CliffsNotes








I like to read a western or two each year, and being out I hoped to pick up a couple at Booklegger this time. Unfortunately, I couldn't make up my mind...there is a good selection of paperbacks in the genre. The former Deb's Bookstore in Cullman linked above and now known as Camelot Books & Comics also has quite a few. 









Notice a few Ralph Compton books on these shelves? Let's investigate.

Compton was born on April 11, 1934 in St. Clair County, Alabama; he died September 16, 1998, at the age of 64. Before his death he authored numerous popular western novels. As sometimes happens, his publisher Signet Books has continued issuing titles under his name by other authors. You can see the extensive lists of titles and other authors here and here




Ralph Compton [1934-1998]







The store has a large selection of titles related to films and tv shows--either novels or non-fiction adapted or tie-ins based on particular films and shows.