July 12, 2016
When William “Billy” Winn, Columbus historian and former journalist, finished his presentation to Columbus Unitarian Universalists about his history about Creek Indian Removal from Georgia and Alabama, I asked him about the fact that very few people know anything about what really happened to Native Americans during that period. I told him I was taught almost nothing back in the 1930s and 1940s about Native American history in elementary and high school.
He said, in effect, that’s because those who profited most from Indian Removal didn’t want it taught or even talked about. It was a shameful episode. To make a long story short, Indians were forced off their tribal lands in order for white settlers to operate cotton plantations, which led to importation of African American slaves to do the work. I won’t get into the details because there are many. However, you can get the whole story by reading Billy’s impressive history The Triumph of the Ecunnau-Nuxulgee: Land Speculators, George M. Troup, States Rights, and the Removal of the Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama, 1825 – 38.
June 23, 2016
By Elaine Johnson
For ten years, the Chattahoochee Valley Writers has offered an annual writers conference. It’s inspired a lot of success!
T.K. Thorne was about to retire from the police force when she came to the conference years ago wanting to write. She entered the short story contest, sat in on the workshops, and went on from there to writing novels. Rev. Charles Cox retired from the ministry and went to a workshop on writing a memoir. He now is working on his fourth book of historical fiction and one of his articles, honoring his father, is in the current issue of Georgia Forestry Today. We think of writers working alone in an attic, but that just doesn’t happen. Every book and movie credits many people. The Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference tries to offer support and guidance to writers at all levels.
Each of the past 10 writers conferences has been great, but this year’s promises a lot. Columbus native Billy Winn will deliver the keynote speech. Ty Manns, founder of CME films here in Columbus, will present a workshop on developing strong characters. Michael Bishop, an award-winning author from Pine Mountain, will discuss fantasy and science fiction. There will be workshops on memoir writing, teaching kids to write, translating intangible feelings into precise and powerful poetry, and reviewing what written success actually looks like. We will offer one-on- one mentoring from a book agent coming from NYC and a workshop on how to market books in the 21st Century.
So enter a poetry or short story contest, network with fellow members of the writing community, and get the guidance you need to take the next steps in your writing journey. The 10 th annual Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference will be held Sept. 23 & 24. Go to www.chattwriters.org for more.
Elaine Johnson is President of Chattahoochee Valley Writers
June 11, 2016
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Romeo and Juliet (II,ii, 1-2)
Hillary Clinton is a “crook.” ” Donald Trump is a “fraud.” ABC reporter Tom Llamas is a “sleaze.” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is an “idiot.” Donald Trump is a “jackass.” Bernie Sanders is a “communist.” Donald Trump i s a “pathological liar.” “Bernie Sanders is a “maniac.” Donald Trump is a “nutcase.” Marco Rubio is a “clown.” Donald Trump is a “con artist.”
Those are just some samples of name-calling in the 2016 race for the White House. While this election seems particularly notorious when it comes to name-calling, there have been some in our nation’s history that could rival it.
It started with our Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had hatchet men do their dirty work. Among other things, John Adams was called a “fool.” “hypocrite,” “criminal,” “tyrant,” and Jefferson was called a “coward,” “weakling,” “atheist,” and “libertine.”
When Adams’ son John Quincy ran against Andrew Jackson in 1824, things really got ugly. Adams was called “pimp,” and Jackson’s wife was called “slut.”
So, name-calling in presidential elections is nothing new. Too bad that sometimes it appears to work. I’d really prefer to hear more from the candidates about the important issues facing the nation at this time and how they would deal with them.
May 15, 2016
About 40 spectators turned out for the historic game, historic because it’s the first time Georgia has played Auburn in Columbus since 1958. The Georgia-Auburn football classic was arguably the biggest sports and social event of the year in Columbus. (I thought it left Columbus because it outgrew Memorial Stadium, but a comment listed below says otherwise.*)
Georgia–Auburn Football Game,, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, 1895. The claissic switched to Columbus, GA in 1920, leaving in 1958 and now alternates between Aubiurn, AL and Athens, GA. They first started playing in 1892 in Atlanta.
There was a major difference in the 1958 and 2016 game, college football and college Ultimate Frisbee. Columbus media ignored the USA Ultimate league’s Southeast Regional Tournament that was held April 30th — May 1s at the Woodruff Farm Soccer complex in Columbus. There were sixteen teams from major Southeast universities, including Georgia Tech.
Georgia beat Auburn in the final game and, along with 2nd Place Florida State and 3rd Place Auburn, goes to the National Championship Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina May 27th through 30th. ESPN3 does stream the championship games.
The only reason I knew about the Columbus tournament is that Georgia’s star player Parker Bray is the grandson of my friend Julie Bray. We were among the very few who saw him make some spectacular plays in the Alabama and LSU games. (I didn’t make the Auburn game.)
Perhaps media ignored the event because Ultimate Frisbee is a stepchild (club) college sport. The teams pay most of their expenses. I enjoyed the games because I’m into lifelong learning. Like most folks, I knew almost nothing about Ultimate Frisbee. Now I know that a team scores when a player catches a disc in the opposing team’s end zone. It’s billed as non-contact sport, but Parker ended up in a hospital for more than a week after one game. When two fast and strong young men are racing to catch a disc, collisions will happen. A player can’t throw a disc while moving, but must pass it within 10 seconds. There are no referees in college Frisbee. The honor system is used. A game is over in an hour and a half, or when one team scores 15 points first. It’s fast and fun to watch. The players are amazingly accurate when they throw those floating discs, and it’s not unusual for them to make diving catches.
It appeared that Georgia and Auburn had the largest groups of spectators. (I saw no spectators at a Georgia Tech game.) Auburn even had a ‘band!” Well, actually, one trombonist who played the National Anthem before their games. For the championship game, the Georgia team also sang “Amazing Grace.” Really. The teams are very spirited and do their own cheers after scoring a point. One of the Jojah – that’s the logo name of the Georgia team- cheers is “Jojah, Jojah” followed by barking like a bulldog four times. Those kids have fun and it’s fun to watch them.
There is also a women’s division. Maybe we can get their Southeast Regional Tournament next year.
*When I ran a post on the Georgia-Auburn football classic in 2012, I recevied this comment on the reason the game was moved in 1958. I had always heard it was because the crowds outgrew Memorial Stadium, but I got this comment that says otherwise.
Jesse C. Gordon III
Nice commentary, but the reason the series was mover to home and away was Auburn wanted another home game.Columbus(my Grandfather,Auburn graduate, was involved in the politics of the situation at the time) offered to expand Columbus Memorial up to 70,000 capacity. Auburn said no.And that is the long and the short of why the series went to home and away. In 1959 Neither Auburn nor Georgia seated more than the 35,000 Memorial Stadium held.Somewhere in city hall one may find the plans submitted showing an expanded Columbus Memorial with a complete second tier, still horseshoe shaped.Would have been the 2nd. largest stadium in the South behind old Tulane Stadium.
April 2, 2016
TEXAS AND FLORIDA NOW HAVE LARGER POPULATIONS THAN NEW YORK.
No doubt it’s mostly a generational thing that I only sample American Idol. A lot of the singing is way too much over the emotional top for my tastes, and much of it sounds like tortured yelling to me. However, I do sample the program, and I did watch it more when it would feature a night of standards from the Great American Songbook. That’s was when I could really tell whether which of the kids could actually sing, and some definitely could, in my view.
The thing I noticed most when I sampled it this week is that all four of the finalist are from the South. (As you probably know, the winners are finally determined by viewer voting.) That could mean that it really doesn’t matter from which section of the country a contestant comes, and there is reason to believe that is now the case. However, it is interesting to note that the South is now the most populous section of the United States. A Google search reveals there are now more than 114-million people living in the American South. California is the most populous state; however, Texas and Florida now come in second and third, both ahead of New York. My own state of Georgia is now 8th in population.
A check of internal migration in the United States shows that up until 1861, when the Civil War started, the move was from the east coast to the west. From 1861 to 1929, when the Great depression started, from rural areas to cities in the North and South. From 1929 to 2009 generally from the Northeast to the South and West.
No doubt there are a number of reasons for the population shifts; however, weather certainly has to be at or near the top. Northerners fleeing the cold simply could not take the long hot summers of the South. That changed with the advent of air conditioning. So, probably the number one reason for the shift to the South is the advent of air conditioning.
February 20, 2016
Maybe not a lot last night because there very few people sitting in the mezzanine of the Bill Heard Theater. But, for those few of us who were there, we got a very good view of a pretty messy stage floor apron. The turn-out for the Rising Stars of the Metropolitan Opera concert was not impressive. The three sopranos, a baritone, and a pianist/emcee were quite impressive. Too bad so few people were there to hear them. I guess not many Columbus folks are into opera concerts. They do seem to show up more when a popular opera with a pit orchestra and sets play the Heard. There were good crowds for Madam Butterfly and Carmen when road companies brought them to town. I know, because I was there.
February 12, 2016
The probably first-ever timpani concerto in the history of Columbus, Georgia brought the almost full-house audience to its feet for a loud and long ovation at Legacy Hall in the River Center Thursday. That’s because Corey Fair, the student musician who played William Kraft’s Concerto No. 1 for Timpani, put on quite a show. Fair is, as the program says, “from the studio of Paul Vaillancourt.”
Anyone who could play it would have to put on a show, because he or she had to move around and continuously tune five of the huge drums used in Kraft’s concerto. Not only was it something to see, it was also, to me, something very enjoyable to hear. Being a former high school and Army band percussionist, I was naturally thrilled to hear a concerto that featured not only the timpani, but the entire percussion section. It turned out that the entire audience was as thrilled as I was, judging by the standing ovation.
February 1, 2016
CSU provides a great gift to music lovers in our area, concerts by extraordinarily talented student musicians and their instructors. Julie Bray and I were among those who attended Sunday’s impressive concert by the CSU Philharmonic and Joseph Golden on Legacy Hall’s million-dollar organ. Admission price: zero.
We agreed that the orchestra’s opening selection, Emmanuel Chabrier’s rthymic and colorful Espana, ,was delightful. The second selection, Camille Saint-Saens’ Symphony No. 3 “Organ” in C Minor, Op. was powerful and gave the orchestra and Joseph Golden the opportunity to display their extraordinary musical talents. We were impressed by the second one. However, we agreed the first one was more enjoyable. It created a festive and happy mood. The second one was very dramatic. Very.
There are many more free concerts by CSU students and faculty that you can attend. If you love great live music performances, the price is certainly right. We plan to take advantage of that. Maybe you will, too.
January 6, 2016
JOIN ME SATURDAY, JANUARY 9TH, AT 1 P.M. FOR A DISCUSSION ABOUT MY MEMOIR “THE NEWSMAN” AT MILDRED TERRY LIBRARY.
The book is this month’s selection by the Page Turners Book Club. If you want to read the book first, it is now an e-book and can be purchased very reasonably on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites. Local public libraries also have a copy of the book. I will take questions about writing it during the Page Turner’s session.
December 12, 2015
JVHS Band Director Brian Walker
He is a Very Important Person because he is one of many VIPs who are charged with the responsibility for teaching and inspiring our children to lead productive and fulfilling lives. The reason I selected him to make this point is because he brings to mind a very special music educator who positively affected mine and many other lives, the late Jordan Band Director Bob Barr, who grew a 17-piece pretty bad band – I was a member – into large bands that achieved national recognition. .
Walker, who recently graduated from the University of Georgia, in a sense, is starting his career as a music educator like Barr did. He’s in a little better shape. He’s starting out with a 30-piece band that plays well. The Jordan music program is in a rebuilding stage. Not too long ago, it had a drum line, but no band. That’s changed. And when Walker led the Symphonic Orchestra and Symphonic Band during the renovated auditorium dedication ceremony – it’s now the Robert M. Barr Auditorium – they sounded quite good to me. They also knew they were appreciated, because the large audience of Jordan alumni and students gave them thunderous ovations. Those ovations continued when the Bob Barr Community Band played. The auditorium stage really filled up when the Jordan band joined them for the last two selections. It was a great finale with the school’s chorus, under the direction of Kirk Weller, joining the combined bands in a Christmas song medley. That one got a prolonged standing ovation.
Things are looking up again for Jordan musically. I’m sure a lot of Jordan grads are glad. I know I am.