Be a Part of the STORI

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We need your help.  During the next 24 hours, we aim to raise $4000 for our Big Give project.  You can help bring history to life with STORI and Special Collection by donating funds to digitize rapidly deteriorating reel-to-reel recordings of stories from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.  Stories turn raw data into a catalyst for action. They remind us of where we come from and where we need to go. Samford University’s Special Collection houses close to 1,000 Samford related stories on reel-to-reel tapes that are currently unavailable for public use. Digitizing these stories will bring them back to life and make them available to be shared with a new generation.

What will my gift do? Your gift will fund Samford’s initiative to digitize oral histories for the university and the greater community’s use. Preserving and sharing the shared history of our institution, as well as the larger community Samford’s serves, is integral to the university’s mission.

Who will my gift impact? This initiative will serve not only Samford, but the local community and the state at large by preserving our shared history.

Be a part of the STORI today!  DONATE HERE
Make sure you are following STORI on Facebook to learn about Big Give challenges and project updates!

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Finishing Well

Lottie Jacks, Entre Nous 1950Entre Nous 1950







Lottie Jacks has led an accomplished life.  She has raised four children, published a book, led a career as a medical technician, served as president of the Samford Legacy League, won the Lolla Wurtele Wright Award, and always found ways to help others whether it was through her day to day work or on mission trips to Los Mochis, Mexico.  At 85, she is not slowing down.

This weekend she will walk across the stage of the Wright Center and finish something she started in 1948.  This is her Samford Story:

LOTTIE JACKS:  I am one of ten children.  I was born in the western section of [Birmingham].  It was unincorporated at that time.  It is kind of what is Green Acres now or Powderly. . . .  I . . . graduated and I got a full scholarship to Samford [then Howard College] through my church.

Mrs. Jacks began college in 1948 on the old campus in East Lake.  During her freshman year she lived with three other girls in a small dorm room outfitted with two sets of bunk beds.  Unfortunately she did not get to live on campus after her first year.

JACKS:  I had to go back home and live, because the church that was giving my scholarship said they could not afford for me to live in the dormitory.  So then I had to find transportation all the way across town from east to west, which made it harder on me.  And I think I was kind of overwhelmed with trying – doing [it] all.  It took an hour and a half to get across town on a streetcar, but then I finally found there were two young men that lived over there, and I finally got a ride with them . . . .

Living off campus and contending with a long commute, Mrs. Jacks was not able to experience the close knit community so characteristic of Howard College.

JACKS:  I just did not blend in like I should have.  I made good friends, [but] it was completely different.

A year shy of graduation, Lottie married her college sweetheart and left school.  She always regretted not finishing her degree.

JACKS:  I had four children and I just did not go back to school.  Dr. Simon who was the head of the clinic [I worked with] offered to pay my way, but I just did not want to go to school at night and leave my children, because I had been gone all day. . . .  But I have always regretted that I did not. . . so I just had this desire to [finish], just a burning desire . . . to do this.

Lottie feared that she might not fit in among the younger students.  Despite her worries, she found the Samford community to be welcoming and supportive in her endeavor to finally graduate.

JACKS:  Everything good that has happened to me has been through Samford. . . .  Dr. Westmoreland . . . was praising me about doing this.  I said, ‘Do not praise me yet.  Wait until I finish!’  And he said, ‘You better finish!’  But the best part was when I started [back].  I thought, ‘Oh what are these young students going to think of me?’  I was worried about them thinking, ‘What is she doing here?’  The students have been the most wonderful part.  They have been kind.  They have been accepting.  They help me.

Mrs. Jacks admits that coming back to school has been very challenging.  While there have been many new experiences, she is amused by how the times have changed.

JACKS:  I laugh now when I am here on campus.  I am just amused at the way the girls dress, because when I went [to college] I had one suitcase full of clothes and I wanted so badly to have pretty clothes, you know. (Laughter)  Now, they can go to Walmart and buy theirs for a dollar . . . but we wore sweaters and skirts [only].  We did not wear pants at all.

Mrs. Jacks will complete her undergraduate career this Saturday, May 14 at the Howard College of Arts and Sciences graduation ceremony.  She says she owes it all to the work of the Lord and the support of the Christian community here at Samford.

-by Marley Davis

Lottie Jacks 2016

Adapted from:

Oral history interview with Lottie Jacks conducted by Marley Davis, fall 2015.


The Myralyn Allgood STORI


As part of preparations for Samford’s 175th Anniversary, the Office and University Historian and the University Library’s Special Collection and Archives have the opportunity to revitalize oral history work at Samford.  Earlier this fall we launched the Samford Traditions and Oral History Recording Initiative (S.T.O.R.I.) website to provide digital access to these oral histories.  The site will offer interviews from Samford and the local community to document our shared history. A new addition to the site, just this week, is the Myralyn Allgood STORI.

From head cheerleader and member of BSU choir to head of the World Languages and Cultures Department, Myralyn Allgood’s involvement at Samford University spanned nearly six decades. A passing glance at a Howard College ad in a Beta Club Journal peaked her interest enough to drive over for a visit in the summer of 1957 while boxes were still being unpacked on the new Homewood campus…

Allgood: So, one day I was flipping through a Beta Club journal.  This was in 1956 or something like that.  There was this tiny little blurb about Howard College, and it had a picture of the library. . . . It had all the things listed – teacher education (and I knew that was what I wanted to do), intercollegiate athletics, Greek organization, Baptist affiliation.  I thought, “Yes – all the things on my checklist right there.”  Let’s go see it.

So Mom and Dad and my friend and I got in the car, and I’m thinking it was on . . . July 4th . . . .  We came over looking for the old campus because that was the summer before the move here, and that’s where the administrative offices still were. But we got lost and wound up driving up this hill and [I] looked down and said, “There it is.  There’s that library that’s pictured in my Beta Club journal.”  So we turned around and came down here. There were some people beginning to move into the administration building . . . . So we walked through and got to look at [campus].  It was not a rainy day like it was in the fall when we came and [there] was mud for a whole semester. . . . We thought “Oh, this is so beautiful.  We just can’t wait to get here.” 

We went down to the administration building and they said, “Well, . . . we’re beginning to function over here, but in order to enroll you’re going to have to go over to the old campus.” So they gave us good directions and we got there.  And when we got there, they were having a watermelon cutting under Sherman Oak.  So I at least got to know Sherman Oak before the college was no more over there.  And [we] went in and signed up and that was it and we were done.  And I thought going home, “Man, we . . . surely are glad we saw the new [campus] before we saw the old [campus]. . . .”  We may never have taken the next step because it was falling down. 

And then we came in the fall.  And all the upper classmen were just weeping and wailing, they so missed the old campus.  And then the sorority, they said, “Okay come on, we’re going to go clean out the sorority house and move over to this place where all we have is a little room.”   And so we went and we packed things up and they were crying and I’m thinking, “Why?” But it’s tradition.  Wherever you are and wherever your experiences are, that’s the place that’s dear to you.  Be it ever so humble.  It was home.  So for those folks that were sophomores and juniors and seniors coming over here it was a difficult transition. For us, as freshmen, we were blissful.  We didn’t know what we’d missed but apparently missed something but that smaller college spirit was just something very special, and that’s one thing that no matter how many changes have taken place here over the years, the one thing that remains the same is that same spirit, that whether you know people or not, you smile at them and you greet them as you grow up together and when you see each other after a long time there’s this big embrace because, you know, you’re friends.  You grew up together.  So that’s how I got here.  And I have always known that’s where I would go to school.  And I loved it from the day I set foot on campus. It was home to me.


Adapted from:

Oral History interview with Myralyn Allgood conducted by Bryan Kessler, November 14, 2012.


Martha Ann Cox Miss Homecoming 1960 EN (3)

Martha Ann Cox was a fixture on this campus for many years.  She made a lasting impact on the lives of students and may hold the record for Step Sing attendance and meals eaten in the caf.  One afternoon over coffee at Panera Bread in the fall of 2012, Martha Ann shared some lesser known stories of her time as a student and how those experiences informed her work as an administrator.  The following are Martha Ann’s tidbits of wisdom on education and light-hearted anecdotes:

My theory is that you learn as much out of the classroom as you do in the classroom.  And sometimes you have to manufacture your own learning experiences, which turned out to help me when I came back to Samford to work.” 

Bending the dress code rules on the old East Lake campus:

Martha Ann:  Dr. Alston Dobbins taught English for a long time, very good English teacher, superb Shakespeare teacher.  I had freshmen English and we had it in a house on a side of the campus that had a potbelly stove in the middle of the room.  Several of us, guys and girls, decided that we would wear Bermuda shorts to his classroom.  That was a no-no.  You didn’t wear shorts anywhere.  If you wore shorts you had your raincoat on.  But we decided, 7 or 8 of us, that we would wear Bermuda shorts.  So we go prancing in his classroom, sit in our usual seat.  He comes in, looks around, announces that he believes some of us need to go back to our rooms, and come back to class appropriately dressed.  We didn’t argue.  We got up and ran back to the dorm.  

Swimming in Reid Chapel …

Martha Ann:   And the chapel was an interesting story, when they started to build the chapel they dug three foundations and it rained.  Well, it was a swimming pool . . .Muddy, oh muddy.  We’d bend them [the rules] a little bit [when] we’d go swimming.  But always in our clothes.  Because at that point at camp and stuff in the Baptist Church, boys and girls didn’t go swimming together.  I don’t know that we ever really got in trouble for that.  We had a few talking to’s.  Don’t go swimming in a foundation!”

Relations with Homewood

Martha Ann:  I don’t know exactly.  Now this was while I was still a student.  Yeah, we’d go over there.  When I say we, it was probably twenty or thirty of us would hang out together.  And see we didn’t have cars.  We would walk to Homewood but we would walk through the houses behind the campus until people started putting up fences and then they had dogs.  There’s always been a little rift between Homewood and Samford.  We may not have done our part in helping Samford by walking through their yards.  Although, we never tore up anything.  

Pulling pranks on campus safety…

Martha Ann:  The campus police at that time were from the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  That was a detective agency in downtown Birmingham.  It was a contract service.  So you know what we called them?  The “pinkies.”  They were the brunt of many stories.  They had a little Volkswagen.  Tell me why campus safety had a Volkswagen?  I can’t figure that one out.  But it got painted pink one night.  Another night some of the guys decided that on that main sidewalk, now remember there weren’t any trees . . . coming in, and the pinkies would drive down that sidewalk at a certain time. . . I reckon they were looking for us.  Some of the guys went over to one of the construction sites and got some concrete blocks and built a little church [with] a little window and a little flower sitting in the window.  And we were all [hiding] over in the bushes, somewhere around the library.  So here come the pinkies and they always cut their lights off, and remember there were no trees and no lights on that campus.  Well, they cut their lights off.  They ran into the brick.  Now we did get in trouble.  We had to pay to get that car fixed.  It didn’t cost much to get a little Volkswagen fixed.

Her most embarrassing moment … as homecoming queen

Martha Ann:  There are many things that happened when I was a student.  Probably my most embarrassing moment while I was a student was [with] my roommate, . . . Gail Hiles.  Gail and I were both nominated for Homecoming queen.  Well, that was about the furthest thing from my mind.  I’m the saddle oxford and socks type person.  Now Gail was absolutely beautiful.  So I was chairing the homecoming that year for Student Government and, so I decided that Gail was going to be the homecoming queen.  I just knew she was.  

So we went downtown and rented furs (stoles), and so I got one [for] Gail – [she] was very dark haired and I was red headed.  [I got the] one that would go with the dark hair.  We had a parade and I looked funny because we had a pageant on Friday night and I was in charge of homecoming [so]  I was running around, changing clothes at the last minute.  

I had borrowed a dress, a strapless, waltz length dress from somebody, [but] failed to take my saddle oxfords off and my socks.   No one told me.  So I go walking on the stage.  And of course, everybody is laughing at this point, and I don’t know [why] because I’m very comfortable. Then I realized what it was, so I started trying to get that waltz length dress to cover up my shoes and my socks.  To make matters worse, I won!

So they put this cape on me, and by this time I was beside myself.  I have always had trouble with my eyes and light, and they had spotlights on the end of the runway and I walked off [the runway].  I fell into some students that were sitting on the front row.  It didn’t hurt me because I had on that big robe.  So, they just picked me up and turned me around, set me back up there.  Unbeknownst to me, my parents were there.  I was a bit embarrassed.

I won Homecoming Queen.  And so the next day at the parade, here I am with this red hair and this very light fur, which should have been dark with red hair.  That’s probably the most embarrassing thing.

Bending the rules for girls under curfew

Martha Ann: . . . girls had to be in by 9:00 o’clock and the guys didn’t have to be in.  Well, the girls would call them to go get them a pizza.  So one night I hear this knock on my window.  And I said, “What you want?”  They said, “Here’s your pizza.”  So I just raised the window up, took the pizza and said, “Thank you,” and put the window down.

The girls in the next room were the ones that had called.  So they came out in the hall and the guys were out there [saying], “Where’s my money, where’s my money?”  Well, I just walked out in the hall, and I said, “Did ya’ll order a pizza?”  

“Yes ma’am.”  

“Well, here it is.”  

Turned around and walked off.  I didn’t say a word to them.  Scared them to death.  


Adapted from Oral History Interview with Martha Ann Cox, October 29, 2012.

House of Killian

For those of you who still weighing out your options for on campus house next year, the Bull Pup Blog would like to suggest some historical housing options which may be to your liking:


House of Killian 1943 EN

The House of Killian, ca 1943:

“The most unique and least organized organization on the campus is the noble House of Killian.  A conveniently heated house, a dictatorial Mother Killian, a medley of more or less students make an ordinary rooming house into an extraordinary fraternity.  The medley, perhaps more nearly jam session, is overbalanced by preachers, varying in degrees of piosity.  At the end of school, the only one unpastorizing was Wendell Givens, who was not, however, the least of these.  The organization is relatively simple, having only one officer.  Treasurer Ma Killian collects rigorously and in return bestows all the comforts of home, including maternal advice.”

Inflation Duration Sensation Ration

For the ladies, perhaps one of these 1945 houses will suit you:

Inflation: “The house with the interesting rooms is the home of interesting people.  Friendly and fun-loving, yet coming to school with a purpose, many Inflationites are leaders on the campus and excel in a variety of fields including music, pharmacy, religious education, and journalism.”

Ration: “Lucky are the Ration girls who are nearest the hub of dormitory life – the dining hall, who can sit on their shady lawn and watch softball games and drills, and who have at their command the genial and sympathetic guidance of their “housemother,” Louise McGinty.  Variety of achievements make them indispensable.”

Sensation: “The newest residence hall on the campus, Sensation has created quite a stir with its willingness to participate in many campus activities, its adeptness at all girls’ sports, and its abundance of really good-looking freshmen.  Most of all, Sensation has presented a true challenge to sleepy upperclassman life at Howard.”

Duration: “The home of Woo Hill sunbath devotees, of sun parlor date experts, of music fans who mother their majestic grand piano, and of Hostess, Mrs. J.D. Hamrick, Duration is declared by all its occupants, “The only place to live.”


Excerpts from 1943 and 1945 Entre Nous


East Lake to Paris via Quebec

Harold Hunt's Senior Year paris

With Spring Break behind us, we are all looking forward to summer plans.  What will your summer hold?  Many students find themselves in the same situation as Harold Hunt, 1954 Alumni and Retired Samford Theatre Department Chair.  Just shy of the language credits needed to graduate Howard College in 1954, he and a handful of students set sail for Paris to immerse themselves in the French language, travel Europe by train, and for Hunt himself — to enjoy the last semester of college before being drafted to Korea.  Read below an excerpt from an oral history interview with Hunt as he recounts what was most likely the first semester abroad for Howard College students.

I transferred [to Howard College] . . . so I didn’t start French until my senior year and I had a year to go . . . the option was to stay in East Lake for the summer (you could take a full year in the summer), but several of us, . . . there were seven, maybe eight of us, that decided that it would be a lot nicer to go to Paris rather than East Lake. So we convinced Dean Percy Burns that we would learn more French if we were in Paris and convinced our parents. [Dean Margaret] Sizemore taught French and spent every summer in Paris. So seven of us got on a ship, completely unchaperoned, in Quebec, Canada and sailed to Paris, France. And the girls stayed in a facility [for] American university women, I think it is a national organization and they had a, like a Samford center type of thing in Paris. So the girls stayed there and the guys stayed in a small hotel nearby. We went to class and of course it was all in French. I wasn’t the best French student in the world to begin with, [but] somehow we got where we could kind of get around and we went to class and ran all over Paris.

We planned to travel [around Europe]. I knew that the moment I set foot back on American soil I was going to get drafted so I waited as long as I could. So we mapped out this plan [for the] seven of us.   At that point you could buy first class, second class, or third class tickets (you can imagine what 3rd class was like). But seven of us, with all this luggage, [got] on a train, and I can remember pushing suitcases through windows to get them all [on]. So we traveled and just did this circuit. And gradually, one by one, they would come home and I was left in England by myself for maybe a week or 10 days.  I traveled up into Scotland and did a lot of things. All that sounds like it was a very wealthy kind of thing but it was very cheap to travel.

Actually, there was a civic club, Kiwanis Club or something in Woodlawn that [gave] us a loan. [It was] a student loan and I think mine was just several hundred dollars that we would agree to pay back; and then my family [contributed].  My father said he had never been to Europe but he had wired money to every major city in Europe.  He said, “I know that as soon as you get drafted you’ll be sent back to Europe” and sure enough I was. That was, as far as I know, the first student travel study.

Adapted from Oral History Interview with Harold Hunt, January 4, 2013.

Jimmie Lee Jackson


“Jimmie Lee was just a nice person that’s all.”

This month marks the 49th anniversary of the Civil Rights march in Marion, AL.  On February 18, 1965, protestors planned to march from Zion Methodist Church to the Perry County jail, where SCLC member James Orange was imprisoned for running voter registration campaigns in the rural town.  Rumors of a jailbreak led Marion officials to call in Alabama State Troopers.   When marchers left the church, they were viciously beaten by Marion police and state troopers.   This march proved more violent than the one that followed in Selma the next week, but the Marion protest was forgotten by many — no photographs or film evidence of the violence existed to show the drama.   Marion native Jimmie Lee Jackson was beaten by police while he tried to protect his mother and grandfather.  Shot in the stomach by Alabama State Trooper James Fowler, Jackson died from his wounds a week later.

Samford University history students working with the Office of University Historian as part of an ongoing oral history project in Marion, Alabama interviewed Jackson’s second cousin, Emma Peterson, and her husband, Lloyd, who lived in Marion in 1965.  These are their recollections of that violent night so long ago.

On Jimmie:

Lloyd: Jimmie and I was real close.  Well, my wife was Jimmie’s cousin so I guess that’s the way we really connected together. That’s where we would communicate … because of the fact that her parents didn’t like me… Jimmie and I was just always together and that’s the way I would get over to see her was through Jimmie.

Emma: Jimmie Lee was just a nice person that’s all.  He was a nice, quiet person.  It was just him and his sister and his mom and dad.  And his dad had got killed about 2 years before then, so Jimmie was the man of the house.

On the night of the march:

Emma: I don’t think he was really involved in [the Civil Rights Movement]. He was just like me—we would just all go to the meetings. . . I wasn’t there at the meeting… at Zion Methodist Church… I was at work… And he wasn’t even at the meeting; he was at the café down there waiting on his mom and… granddaddy. And he was sitting out there waiting on them to come because he really had the flu… He didn’t feel like being in the crowd.

Lloyd:   During that time I had an uncle that was principal of Marion Baptist Academy; he had had a stroke so I had been out that night to give him a bath and … then after that I went to the meeting.  I pulled up right across from the church and parked.  The so-called State Troopers—which they was people from Marion or somewhere just in State Trooper’s suits….they told me, “If you’ve got a home to go to, you’d better go.”  At that time I was going to ease around the back, go around to the back of the church to tell them about all these people outside.  I started around the back of the church and there’s two men back there.  So I had to go.

When they came out of the church, that’s when the head knocking started…They let out and they were going to march down to the jail and have prayer and that’s when they started.  Reverend Durbine, he was down on his knees praying and they were steady beating his head up with those clubs.  It was rough. Rough.  So then I figured it was time to go.  Wasn’t no use in staying around.  If they hit me, I was going to shoot ‘til I died.  That’s right.

Emma: One thing about it was…you didn’t see a light nowhere.  When I had gotten off work that night this one girl had told me, “Y’all ain’t got no lights over there. They had done arrived.”  I said, “What are you talking about?” So I got in the car and you didn’t see a light nowhere. In the stores, out the stores, in the street, you didn’t see a light nowhere. Completely dark.

Lloyd: That was the general idea.  They wanted to turn the lights out where you didn’t know who they were.  If they had the lights on, you can see who it is, you know.

Emma: So, they tell me, when they came out of church they came out beating heads.  And they [Jimmie Lee’s mother and grandfather] went on down to the café where he was… they beat her, and they beat the granddaddy too.  The granddaddy didn’t live too long after then because they beat him all on the head and everywhere with Billy clubs and stuff.  [Jimmie Lee] was fighting back, but he couldn’t fight them all, so then he got shot.  Then they rushed him to Selma, to Good Samaritan Hospital.

Lloyd: We carried Jimmy Lee’s grandfather and mother to the hospital over in Selma and after that, after they got treated we were going to come back home.  They told us we weren’t going to leave out of Selma and nobody was coming in. . . So shortly after that we learned that Jimmy was over at Good Samaritan Hospital; we were going to go over there and see about him, but they wouldn’t let us leave. . . So here I was, I had a wife and kids at home and I couldn’t get back to them.  It’s not like today, we didn’t have cell phones and what have you.  You’re scared to death.  You don’t know what going to happen.

Emma: [Jimmie Lee] stayed down there almost a week. My pastor went down to see him and he said, “Oh, Jimmy’s doing good; he’ll be home in a couple of days,” but that same night he passed.  We don’t know what happened to him.

They had his funeral in Selma. . . I think the Civil Rights took over, didn’t they? I think they took his body over. So his mom just went along with it. [Dr. Martin Luther King] did a great job at his speech.  He really did.  I’ve forgotten what it was all about since it’s been so long, but everything was nice.

Lloyd: I worked because you were going to get fired anyways if you went.

Jackson’s death rocked the Civil Rights community and served as a catalyst for the march from Selma to Montgomery, which began a week later.  Marion activist Lucy Foster suggested walking in Jimmie Lee’s honor instead of driving through Selma as planned.

Adapted from Oral History Interviews with Emma and Lloyd Peterson, conducted by Lauren Ziemer and Ben Woodall and Weary Feet, Rested Souls by Townsend Davis

oral history interview

Step Sing and other Olympic Sports

As Samford students make the final preparations to compete in our time honored tradition of Step Sing this week, athletes in Sochi compete on the world stage in the tradition of the Winter Olympic Games.  In February 1980 these traditions overlapped as well, making for a very memorable Friday night.  As the Cold War dragged on in 1980, tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States manifested themselves in every form of competition – from weaponry to space exploration.  The Winter Olympics of 1980, set in Lake Placid, New York, proved to be no exception.    When the puck hit the ice for the United States v. Soviet Union men’s hockey game on Friday, February 22, 1980, the atmosphere in the packed-out arena was tense. To the crowd’s surprise and delight, the ragtag American team tied the Soviets in the first period, allowed their competition only one point in the second period, then rallied in the final period to put two more in the net, claiming victory, 4-3.

To accommodate both Soviet and American viewers, ABC decided to delay the broadcast of the afternoon game until prime time.  In a world with no instant internet news, most Americans had to huddle around their TV that night to learn the outcome of the fated game. But as the world watched the United States claim victory, Samford students were a bit preoccupied, watching Step Sing, a competition of almost Olympic proportions, in the Wright Center. Jim Barnette, Samford Alum and current faculty member, recalls the spirit of competition that overtook campus during Step Sing:

“It was a big thing because we didn’t have a football team at the time; basketball was it. So it was a big event. As I recall, unlike now. . . there were no boundaries, no strictures as far as the amount of hours people put into it, so people would practice for hours at their health’s expense, you know. . . Intramurals were big too, but in a way, to me, it was an extension of intramurals, because if you’re in the fraternity that lost or the class. . . it was a big to-do, a big deal. Lot of animosity between the team that won and the ones that didn’t. . . It was much more competitive, fiercely competitive- if there’s competitiveness with it now, it pales in comparison to back then.

Despite the fierce competition of Step Sing, everyone rejoiced when news of the US victory reached the Wright Center:

“Phi Mu Alpha, the music fraternity, was always the finale – just before they came out, the news arrived that the US had defeated Russia, or the Soviet Union I should say, in hockey in the ’80 Olympics, which was huge. . .  So they came out and announced that, and the place erupted. I was in the balcony, and I thought, this is gonna cave in, we’re all gonna die, because, literally, people cheered, and I’m not making this up, I’d say ten minutes. People cheered, went wild, ‘U.S.A., U.S.A.’ screaming at the top of their lungs. And it was one of the more memorable things in my four years here. . . And not just the students, like everybody. And so okay, we’ve had this huge, ten minute craziness. Well, then Phi Mu Alpha comes out and does the salute to the armed forces, and it’s 1980: Reagan and national defense and patriotism, the hostages are back and all of that. And when they would begin every branch, you know, people would go crazy. And at the end they sang “America the Beautiful” – they started very, very, very quietly, and then they did this loud, fast crescendo of “AMMEEEEEEERRICA” and they went on singing for another two or three minutes, but you didn’t hear anything – the people just went crazy.  It’s one of the loudest places I’ve ever been, because the pitch over there is pretty precise anyway.  So that was really memorable for Step Sing. And what was fun too, it had nothing to do with competition.  I think that’s why I loved it so much, was that it was not extended intramurals for a moment.”

As Step Sing 2014 draws near, we wish good luck to all the groups competing, but we hope that the spirit of friendly competition of today’s Step Sing doesn’t prevent you from celebrating the things that bind us together as a Samford family.

Step Sing 2014

Adapted from Oral History Interview with Jim Barnette October 18, 2012.

The Rush for Chow

chow lines

We all faced some unusual circumstances this past week, but Samford rallied and in the words of new history professor Carlos Aleman, we made new believers in southern hospitality. The Snowpocalypse of 2014 left faculty, staff and commuter students stranded on campus.  Students slept on cots in the gym and chow lines were long.  This is reminiscent of another time in Samford’s history when students endured a much longer displacement on the East Lake campus during World War II.

In no way are we comparing a snow storm to the devastation of World War II, but Howard College alumni Page Kelley expressed some similar sentiments about the unusual circumstances in the below reprint of a 1945 Crimson editorial he wrote explaining how the war changed Howard.

Howard is by nature a peace-loving institution.  In fact, she is a pacifist.  War is contradictory to all she stands for.  She hates war so intently that she early pledged her support to our nation’s efforts to bring to justice those who were responsible for beginning the war.  She actively entered the war with the coming of the first Navy V-12 unit in February of 1943.

If Rip Van Winkle had been a Howard College student, he wouldn’t have needed twenty years of sleep to make him feel like a complete stranger on his own campus.  Just a five-year doze from 1940 to 1945 would have been sufficient.  Howard is at war, and the war has cast its influence over all phases of campus life.

Howard is proud that she can point to some of these changes and say, “This is Howard at war.”

It is the Navy.  It is the sight of blue ranks of men marching briskly around Berry Field, or standing stiffly at attention as the clear sound of a bugle floats over the campus.  It is a classroom filled with sailors.  It is flag-raising at sunrise.  It is a group of men entering Smith Hall and climbing stairs where “only ladies had trod.”  It is a wreath placed on Tar Baby’s grave at Christmas.  It is a disappointed sailor leaving the post office.  It is the rush for chow.  This is Howard at war.

It is the entire student body assembled in the auditorium on D-Day for prayer.  It is paying tribute to Howard’s heroes and listening to Rod Calhoun’s adventures.  It is being addressed by the C. O. at Thanksgiving.  This is Howard at war.  It is a co-ed seated at her desk before his picture, holding in her hand a telegram which begins – “We regret to inform you…”  She, too, is a part of Howard at war.

Howard IS at war.  And she is proud that she can say, “I have fought the good fight.”  The war may have changed Howard.  It is certain that Howard has helped to change the war. –Page Kelley

Page H. Kelley graduated from Howard in 1945 and went on to become a renown Old Testament scholar and author of several Hebrew textbooks.

Campus 1.13


Woodcut from Jonathan Swift's Battle of the Books
Woodcut from Jonathan Swift’s Battle of the Books

To all those suffering through exams this week:

Take comfort in the words of those who have gone before you.  A Howard College student wrote the following reflection on the anguish of examinations, both real and imagined, for a January 1859 article in the Howard College Magazine.  Our thanks to Dr. Todd in Classics for his help on the translations; this particular student, still very enthusiastic about his newfound knowledge of French and Latin referenced Seneca’s Moral Epistles, Julius Caesar, and the Rubicon.  However, some sentiments do not fully translate so with your post-exam ego SUM, sign up for a Greek or Latin course!

The intermediate examinations have, many of them, just passed like whirlwinds over our heads, and whoever has survived one of these “soul grinders” can form a very correct estimate of the manner in which things are carried on.  Books (our pen smilingly records the fact,) have been horribly mutilated, and have suffered the keen edge of the hasty couteau (French: ‘knife’) till naught remains to tell of a quondam (Latin: ‘former’) text book but its back; and all to subserve the wicked purpose of lazy students.  Any one who has passed through one of these can also appreciate the peculiar defaillance (French: ‘fainting feeling’) with which one enters the endroit (French: ‘place’) upon these occasions when “obstinate questionings of sense and outward things” are propounded for the student’s entertainment (?)

We can testify ourselves from honorable experience, that there is no fun in being bored from two to four hours a day sub judice (Latin: ‘under the judge’) during one of these entertainments, sustaining at the same time an “out side pressure,” equal to the enormous weight of a “prospective fizz.”  But after all, there is not generally as much harm done as is anticipated before entering.  When the smoke of the battle clears away so that we can see ourselves again, we are forcibly struck with the truth of the remark, “Plura sunt quae nos terrent, quam quae premunt et saepius opinione quam re laboramus.” (Latin: “There are more things which mentally terrorize us than which physically oppress us and we suffer more in anticipation than in the experience itself.”)

It is quite amusing, however, to witness the dignified appearance of those who have stood the fiery trial and come out sound.  From the most illustrious Senior down to the shabbiest Freshman you can see the ego SUM distinctly marked on every countenance.  Notice that gentlemanly fellow smoking his “stogy” with an air of nonchalance that would do honor to a Turkish Sultan!  He has stood his last examination, (minus one or two) and feels himself to be “like Caesar’s wife, above suspicion!”  What “crowns of glory,” “fields of happiness,” and “temples of fame” does he behold around the corner of five more months, as he forgets the tight place out of which he has just come, and is transported into the future.  But what deep expression of joy upon that countenance!  He is thinking of home and friends, and imagines he is talking to her under the “kind parental roof.”  Who blames him if he does feel a little all-overish when he holds up these bright prospects in contrast with the fading memories of the past.  He is now tired of college life, and would rather seek a “lodge in some vast wilderness,” “some boundless contiguity of shade,” where he will no longer be “cabin’d,” “crib’d,” “confin’d” but free as air, to blow on whom he listeth; and why should he not?  He has struggled manfully to obtain his independence.  We certainly can have no objection, but hope he will wait until he “gets through,” for we have heard of these “constant quantities” disappearing.  Poor Sophs and Juniors how we pity you!  But if you would be true to yourselves, having already “passed the Rubicon,” you must now dash into the “battle of books,” with a “soul in arms eager for the fray,” and you, too, may soon be raised to the degree of gentlemen of the “first order.”