Saturday, April 24, 2004

Kesey and Faye at La Honda

>Subject: Re: Accuracy in reporting
>Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2004 00:27:09 -0500
>Thank you so much for your patronizing response. I am so grateful
>that you enlightened sages have blessed Tuscaloosa so that the
>scales may be removed from our benighted Southern eyes.
>Best wishes,
>At 05:35 PM 4/23/2004 -0500, you wrote:
>>Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed
>>I am sorry that you have been unable, as you say, to establish
>>dialog with
>>our editorial department. Please feel free to continue to share
>>thoughts with me. We need more readers like you who provide such
>>constructive feedback.

Friday, April 23, 2004

>Subject: Accuracy in reporting
>Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 23:43:45 -0500
>I can't seem to establish any dialog with your editorial page editor
>so I am bringing this to a wider audience. I suspect a hidden agenda
>in your coverage of the ongoing embarrassment of Alfred Brophy's
>digging up bodies peacefully at rest on campus. My suspicions began
>when you meted out only a couple of mildly critical letters about
>the issue when you are bound to be sitting on bags of scorching
>condemnation. In contrast, Brophy's antics are overwhelmingly
>castigated on the Crimson White web site. Maybe you are making an
>intentional effort to shape public opinion by creating the
>impression that the entire University community stands solidly
>behind this farce. Such subterfuge will surely please your New York
>masters. Or perhaps you are trolling for another Pulitzer Prize by
>stifling criticism and inflating this matter far beyond its
>The Crimson White has been more accurate, fair, and balanced in its
>reporting. As an example, the News headlined on April 14 that "UA
>Faculty Senate passes resolution about slavery", while the CW
>correctly headlined that the resolution was passed by a senate
>committee. The next day the News printed a correction. An April 16
>News headline erroneously stated "University holds memorial service
>for two slaves buried on campus" (never mind that Dr. Manly held
>services in the President's Mansion for Boysey, and probably Jack
>too, 160 years ago). This service actually was conducted by the UA
>Coalition for Diversity, which represents who knows what, certainly
>not the University, its students, or its alumni. No correction to
>date that I have seen.
>The News next trifled with the facts in an April 18 editorial.
>Through use of words like "uncomfortable", "ignore" and "denial" a
>News editor implied that the University has intentionally obscured
>its past involvement with slaves. He further stated that Brophy
>"brought [this matter] to light". All Brophy, that editor, or anyone
>else needed do to discover these deep, dark "secrets" was open any
>of the popular books dealing with the University's history,
>including James Sellers's History of the University of Alabama,
>(1953, p. 38-41), Suzanne Wolfe's The University of Alabama, A
>Pictorial History, (1983, pp. 25, 31), Mary Mathews's A Mansion's
>Memories, (1980, p. 116), or Robert Mellown's The University of
>Alabama, A Guide to Campus, (1988, pp.18, 28). For instance, Mellown
>stated "President Manly also records the burial of two slaves in the
>[University] cemetery- Jack, a slave belonging to the University,
>was buried there on May 5, 1843, as was Boysey, a seven-year-old boy
>belonging to Dr. Manly, who died of whooping cough on November 22,
>1844." Just what kind of exposure did the News editor think
>appropriate for this information, billboards on the interstate?
>Banner planes at football games?
>And yesterday, a 72-point News headline "UA apologizes for history
>of slavery". Wrong again! The Crimson White's headline accurately
>and correctly states "Faculty Senate apologizes to descendants of
>slaves" The faculty senate is not the University or an agency of the
>University. It is basically just a puffed-up teachers' union.
>What headline fantasies does the future hold? The great tragedy of
>this whole situation is that news media all over the country are now
>repeating your misinformation. I can only hope that you are held
>accountable. It's truly a sad day when a student paper shows more
>professionalism than the vaunted, Pulitzer Prize-winning Tusclaoosa
>Have a nice day.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Saw you were taking a little heat on the CW opinion pages so I thought I'd send you a few words of encouragement.

A lot of our friends are critical of Witt's initiative but I maintain that everyone will benefit by "Opening Doors" onto the antebellum campus. The transcription and publication of the Board of Trustee Minutes, The Faculty Minutes, Manly's diary, Manly's recipe book and the Woods/Manly/Garland letters will certainly point folks in the direction of truly finding out what life was like for the students, faculty and slaves of the University during the old regimes of Woods, Manly and Garland.

The story of Jack promises to be interesting. When Manly completed construction of the cabins in 1842(Brophy promised that he would get me a copy of the letter describing the construction of the cabins: Dr. Basil Manly to Gov. Arthur P. Bagby, March 11, 1840, Governor Arthur P. Bagby Papers, Alabama State Department of Archives and History, Montgomery. So far, no word from eminent slave researcher Brophy), he received a portion of his wife's inheritance from the Rudulph estate in Lowndes County. This inheritance was in the form of slaves and Jack was one of them. Here is a portion Manly's diary entry for May 5, 1843. Jack "died of pneumonia before 2 o'clock in the afternoon. He was an African, a member of the Methodist church- honest and faithful- did as much and as well as he knew how."

...."buried in University burial ground."

Here's the entire entry for Friday, November 22, 1843:

Frid.Nov.22. This morning, at day light, Mary's son, Boysey (his proper name was William) died, of the effect of whooping cough. He was 7 years old about the 10th of Feby. last. See entry in this book of Apl. 10, 1838. page 125- For had not supposed him particularly sick until yesterday morning. See description of his case, + prescription in recipe book.- I attended to some funeral service, in my house; I then had him buried in the University burying ground in the afternoon.-

On the lighter side, one of the wonderful things that will emerge will be the rich variety of pranks the students used to disrupt one of their most hated activities: chapel prayers. These pranks included cutting the bell chain, placing large animals in the chapel, kicking each other underneath the seats,shooting spit balls and berries,loud talking, stealing the seats, tarring the seats, answering roll call in various languages, dancing through the chapel drunk,faking illness, setting off firecrackers in celebration of chapel dismissal and organizing boycotts of prayers.

No doubt, this research will produce lots of discussions concerning the heathen spirits of Bama's first students and show that today's students will certainly have to raise a whole lot of hell before they can consider themselves competion for their predecessors.

Keep up the good work and as the poverty pimps say,"Let the healing begin!!!!!"

Best wishes,
Robert Register