Archive | July, 2013

Programming Note

31 Jul

Thanks for sticking by this summer which has been quite slow for the website due to my traveling through Virginia doing research.

I’m happy to say that I am almost done and will be presenting my research at a symposium on Aug 2.

After that its back to home, back to the real world, and back to work.

I hope to have more content available on the blog soon.

As always, if you have any stories you would like to share, please feel free to email them to Tiffany @BlackRipley.com

 

– Tiffany

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Book Review – Finding the Good by Lucas L. Johnson II

7 Jul

A few months ago I had the opportunity to attend the Writers Day  program at the Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center located in Henning, TN. While there I purchased a book called Finding the Good by Lucas L. Johnson II. It is based on the life of Fred Montgomery, a friend of Alex Haley’s, former Henning mayor, and former curator of the Alex Haley Museum. I was so fascinated by the life of Fred Montgomery that I read the book in one sitting. Not only is it a biography of sorts, but there are details of the author’s life included as well as history related to people and places in Henning, TN.

The book itself is titled after Alex Haley’s famous saying “Find the good and praise it”. There are many interesting parts of the book including the stories of racist treatment from the men who employed Fred’s family as sharecroppers, Fred’s struggles with the deaths of his children, childhood stories about Fred and Alex, actions of the local KKK, details of early African American education in Henning, TN, pictures of Fred and his wife Earnestine, and other stories that allow the reader to understand Henning, TN during the Jim Crow era.

 

Finding the Good by Lucas L. Johnson II

Finding the Good by Lucas L. Johnson II

 

Mr. Fred Montgomery died July 12, 2006, but his memory will live on through this book and the countless lives he touched. I recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about African American life in Henning, TN.

Finding the Good on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/1401600743

 

– Tiffany

– Image Source: my own

Lost – High Rock Church and Cemetery Montgomery County, Virginia

7 Jul

As you know I am currently spending my summer traveling and doing research on rural African American neighborhoods. While speaking with a professor at Virginia Tech I was told the story of the High Rock Church. The High Rock Church is located in a small town named Pilot in Montgomery County, Virginia. Of all the cemeteries I have visited this has got to be one of the worst. From what I know the church was founded by freed men and women who also established a cemetery on the grounds. Today, the wilderness has taken over the cemetery leaving our brothers and sisters buried under weeds, grass, and even fallen trees. Here are a few pictures of the High Rock Church and cemetery. May they never be forgotten. 

High Rock Cemetery

High Rock Cemetery

 

High Rock Cemetery - the high rock after which the church and cemetery took their name

High Rock Cemetery – the high rock after which the church and cemetery took their name

 

High Rock Cemetery - Lost headstone

High Rock Cemetery – Lost headstone

 

High Rock Cemetery - Headstones lost among the woods

High Rock Cemetery – Headstones lost among the woods

 

High Rock Cemetery - Jane and Harriet Howard

High Rock Cemetery – Jane and Harriet Howard

 

High Rock Church

High Rock Church

Headstone lost among the woods

Headstone lost among the woods

 

High Rock Cemetery - Buried headstones

High Rock Cemetery – Buried headstones

 

High Rock Cemetery - John Howard Age 115 years

High Rock Cemetery – John Howard Age 115 years

 

High Rock Cemetery

High Rock Cemetery

 

Know of any other forgotten, lost, abandoned cemeteries? Please let me know. I am interested in documenting all of them that I can find.

 

– Tiffany

– Source: Photo Source: My own

Jet Magazine – August 27, 1959

7 Jul

Jet Magazine Aug 27, 1959

Jet Magazine Aug 27, 1959

According to US Census Records for 1940 Willie Jones lived with his siblings Minnie and Walter Jones and his mother Mary Jones. His occupation was listed as that of an unpaid family worker. On the 1930 US Census he is listed as also living with his father Andrew and several more siblings. I found no listing for him on the Lynching Calender, but of course that source is not complete. For now it’s unclear what happened to Willie, but I do hope that he got his day in court (although court in 1959 was far from fair justice) instead of meeting his death at the hands of a vigilante mob. Quick thinking on behalf of his former lawyer, J. F. Estes, and the unidentified informant may have just saved Willie’s life. I did find several Willie M. Jones in the Social Security Death Index who could possibly be the Willie M. Jones mentioned in this case. They all lived to 1972 or later, so maybe he served his time and was released.

 

 

 

– Tiffany

– Source: Jet Magazine August 27, 1959 edition

Newspaper Clippings – The Commercial Appeal Jan 1, 1857

7 Jul
Dr. Robard - The Commercial Appeal Jan 1, 1857

Dr. Robard – The Commercial Appeal Jan 1, 1857

 

Very interesting article. Of course The Commercial Appeal is a Memphis newspaper, but I wonder if any of our West Tennessee people had the chance to see Dr. Robard and if he in fact was able to “cure” them.

– Tiffany

– Source: The Commercial Appeal Jan 1, 1857 edition