Thursday, May 31, 2012

31 May 1912: "Play is a serious matter to the child."

On this day in 1912, the Weekly Banner offered the following editorial about the need for Athens to have more playgrounds:

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Improved school playgrounds and the establishment of a city park were part of Mayor H. J. Rowe's play as he came into his second term in January, 1912. Stories that year from around the nation noted cities putting an emphasis on parks and play space for their children, including a "Recreation Congress" in Chicago that was called for by the Playground and Recreation Association of America, a group that included social worker Jane Addams and progressive muckraking journalist Jacob Riis at the helm.

In June, the Civic League, an organization of prominent Athens women,  sent a letter to the Chamber of Commerce about the need to create more playgrounds and parks in town before the property became too valuable. In July, reports that the Civic League were working to have school playgrounds remain open during the summer, so children would have somewhere to play that was near their homes, were also published and supported by the newspaper. These attempts were, however, unsuccessful.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

28 May 1897: Local Bull Commits Multiple "Violations of the Law" near Boulevard

On this day in 1897, the Weekly Banner alerted the city to the following incident of "lawbreaking:"

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The mid-1890s were not a great time for Mail Carrier Duncan. The previous May, he and his wife returned to their Bloomfield Street home to find it had been ransacked, with two revolvers and two razors stolen. By 1899, he had relocated his family to Atlanta, working with the post office there.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

25 May 1901: County Donates Convict Labor to UGA

On this day in 1901, the Athens Daily Banner reported that work had begun on the University of Georgia campus for two new buildings, a dining hall and a dormitory, using convict labor provided by the Clarke County Commission to grade the land.

The dining hall would open in the fall as Denmark Hall, named for prominent Savannah attorney and business executive Brantley A. Denmark (UGA Class of 1871), who had died just days before the cornerstone for the building was laid on June 14th. 

The dormitory was completed in January, 1902, as Candler Hall, in honor of Georgia Governor Allen Daniel Candler. It was the third dormitory built on campus, along with Old College and New College. Residents of Candler called it "Buckingham Palace" and referred to themselves as the "Buckingham Barons." Rivalries between dormitories often went beyond mere athletic contests on Herty Field between the buildings.

Convict labor was a common solution to the need for cheap workers in the post-war South. Prisoners were often leased to private individuals to work on the farm, in their factories, or do other labor, such as railroad infrastructure, at a far cheaper rate than workers hired from the unincarcerated labor force. Convict laborers were disproportionately African-American, and it was not unusual for men to be literally worked to death. 

Though outlawed in 1908 in Georgia, chain gangs to work on public roads and other projects still existed. Clarke County often required labor when fines for misdemeanors such as disorderly behavior could not be paid, sentencing the convicted to work on the paving of the streets or installation of the city's sewer system at a rate of 50 cents per day. 

Governor Ellis Arnall instituted comprehensive prison reform during his term in the 1940s, and chain gangs were no longer permitted. Today, some prisoner work is still done on state and county levels, including basic building maintenance and litter clean-up along major roads.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

22 May 1990: UGA Bans Over 700 from Campus

On this day in 1990, 680 students and 60-80 campus employees were suspended and not allowed to attend classes or go to work on the University of Georgia campus because they had not yet provided proof of a current measles vaccination.

The University was acting under orders of the State Department of Health, which had declared  a state of medical emergency at UGA two weeks after measles cases started to be reported on campus. In 1989, the entire state of Georgia had reported just 19 cases, but by May 22nd, 1990, the University had reported 38 cases in the previous month. The outbreak was traced to a Clarke Central high school student and St. Joseph's School student who had attended the April 21st G-Day game events at the Tate Student Center.

The first two campus cases were reported on April 24th, both residents of Lipscomb Hall. New cases showed up regularly, and on May 7th, the State Department of Health declared a state of medical emergency on the campus, requiring all employees and students born after 1956 and lacking proper documentation of having received a booster after 1980 to receive vaccinations. 

Originally, the University had a voluntary immunization plan, but only 6,000 students were inoculated. At that point, the administration made vaccination mandatory: those who did not meet the May 18th deadline for vaccination were banned from campus. Faculty and staff would be suspended without pay; students would not be able "to attend class, receive class credit, pre-register for future classes, or complete graduation requirements." 

Employees who could not receive the vaccination, for health or religious reasons, were suspended from campus with pay; students in similar situations were given "Incompletes" for their coursework and allowed three quarters to finish their assignments to gain their grades. Neither group could return to campus until two weeks after the last case of measles had been reported. 

The University Health Clinic set up vaccination sites at the Tate Student Center and Memorial Hall, offering measles boosters to students from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the Tate Center, long lines of students snaked through the building and down the stairs to where inoculations were being given. 

On the last day of classes, June 8th, the state of emergency was declared over, as the last reported case was May 25th. By the end of the outbreak, approximately 193 students had been banned from campus for the last three weeks of the quarter. The University provided 21,000 vaccinations to employees and students. Starting Summer quarter, however, proof of inoculation or a $25 fee to cover a measles shot that could be given at registration was required of all University of Georgia enrollees.

During the outbreak, the Red Cross had to cancel their scheduled blood drives at the University, putting Athens blood supply at risk. According to the Red Cross, their campus blood drives provided "about 40% of the Athens area's needs." The Red Cross would not return to campus until June 21st.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

This Day Flashback: What's New is Old

This summer, due to construction, the Athens-Clarke County Library's Summer Reading Performance Series will be having their programs at the Clarke Central High School auditorium.  

The weekly performances at Clarke Central reminded us of a story This Day in Athens featured in 2010 about a similar concert program for children hosted by the volunteer members of the Athens Library Association in February, 1915. At the time, Athens Library Association was a group of volunteers with donated books in a donated room in the Southern Mutual Building downtown. 

While they had Saturday morning storytimes for children in the corner of their library room, to host a larger, fuller concert program, the library volunteers used the auditorium at Athens High School on Wednesday afternoons. (Summer programs would be held outdoors, as the auditorium would be too warm.) The most popular books in the children's collection at the time were Beatrix Potter's tales, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Just So Stories, and The Little Princess.

The 2012 Athens-Clarke County Library programs programs will be held in the Clarke Central auditorium on Thursday mornings at 10:30am.  They will feature local storytellers, ventriloquists, puppeteers, music, stories, sing-alongs, poetry, and dancing.  The first program is this Wednesday, May 24th, hosted by the Children's Area staff.

To learn about each week's show, as well as other Summer Reading programs offered by the Athens-Clarke County Library Children's Area, go to the Dream Big--READ! 2012 Summer Reading Program website or pick up a purple flyer at the library.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

7 May 1922: Glove Etiquette for the "Well Bred"

On this day in 1922, the Society column in the Athens Banner featured this bit of etiquette information as part of their other items about bridge socials and engagement parties:

Good to know!

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Friday, May 4, 2012

4 May 1921: YMCA Summer Ball Teams Announced

On this day in 1921, the Athens Banner published the members and schedules for the early summer Y.M.C.A. baseball teams:

Y.M.C.A. Ball Clubs Now Organized
 The following is a roster of the teams and the schedule for the season:
      N. G. Slaughter (captain), R. McWhorter, W. F. Pittard, Fred Dean, George Thornton, George Williams, France Price, Tony Costa, Harry Dews, B. Joel, Tom Stokes.
      W. R. Bedgood (captain), Julian Erwin, Henry M. Bacon, Hope Smith, W. H. Owen, Bradberry, Hugh Hodgson, C. D. McDorman, Joel A. Wier, W. A. Clark, Abit Nix, W. T. Dean.
      W. E. Hopkins (captain), J. C. Hutchins, Tom McNiebling, S. R. Cook, Harry Cason, John W. Nicholson, E. F. Porter, R. L. Moss III, O. M. Roberts, Fred Davis, Jr., Hubert Rylee.
      W. K. Meadow (captain), Howard McWhorter, D. D. Quillian, Fred McEntire, Clyde Anderson, Morton Hodgson, Edward Hightower, G. A. Booth, Garland Hulme, P. E. Holliday, T. Marvin Cox.
      "Whitie" Davis (captain), Abe Link, Marion Conolly, E. H. Dorsey, Jr., W. B. Thornton, Ernest Hollingsworth, Paul Conolly, Joe Costa, L. A. Scarborough, J. E. Patman, Jack Wilkins.
      "Starr" Smith (captain), W. T. Forbes, Sr., Abe Goodman, Fleetwood Lanier, Rucker Ginn, M. B. Wingfield, Paul Weatherly, Guy Hancock, Harry Burton, L. A. Booth, I. Myerson.
 -- Athens Banner, 4 May 1921, page 3, columns 2-4.

The early season lasted through the first week of June, when the championship game was played between Captain Slaughter and Captain Davis. According to the Banner, "Slaughter was slaughtered and the crown rests serenely on the heads of Whitey's team-mates." 

A second season began July with new teams comprised of essentially the same group of young men in different groups. For the July season, the teams were given names and new captains, with the Tigers, Bear Cats, Wild Cats, Bull Dogs, Eagles, and Buffaloes sparring against one for approximately one more month. 

The men on the team were all between the ages of 18 and 40, many of them from prominent local families, such as the McWhorters, Costas, and Hodgsons, while others were businessmen of note in their own right, such as Abit Nix, Joel Wier, and W. K. Meadow. 

Most of the young men on the team were familiar names on the Banner society pages, and because most were business and family men, teams sometimes had to play without a full roster to cover all the positions. 

The "Field League" grew in popularity over the summer of 1921, with over 100 men divided into eight teams for the August season. As the Banner noted, "the second larger league is expected to cause some big excitements in local amateur sports circles."

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

1 May 1901: "a grab bag, a fish pond, a tug of war, and the like"

On this afternoon in 1901, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, recently relocated to Prince Avenue, held a May Day Festival for the local children.

Admission to the festival was 10 cents, and included refreshments, a variety of games, a Maypole dance, and a baseball match "between the Milledge avenue and Prince avenue nines." 

According to the account published in the Banner the next day, "scores of children" attended the festival, and the whole endeavor was a "lovely" and "beautiful" success. with everyone enjoying "an evening of rare pleasure" that included the Milledge avenue boys winning a "very exciting" baseball game. 

Also of note was that Jennie Wilson Fears, seven-year-old daughter of livery owners Elliot and Leila Fears of Hull Street was crowned as "Queen of Love and Beauty," and Harriet White Benedict, seven-year-old great-niece of College of Agriculture president H.C. White, also won a prize for "the most beautifully decorated baby carriage."

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