Oral History Origins

Though the Samford Traditions and Oral History Initiative is only a few years old itself, Samford has a long history with fostering an oral history program. Samford history professor and alum Wayne Flynt is one who paved the way, getting the information necessary to do oral history right. We recently found this 1973 letter to Dr. Flynt answering his questions about recorders and recommending he join the Oral History Association.

We even located one of the Sony recorders Dr. Jones suggested – still here in the history department!  No doubt it recorded many interviews arranged by Dr. Flynt and Dr. Marlene Rikard.  These early efforts by Samford history professors laid the groundwork for continued oral history practice on campus as a way to learn more about ourselves and the stories we tell.

The Train to Auburn

Howard College Football Team 1928-29

The Howard College Football Team, 1928

On October 27, 1928, students, faculty, and fans of Howard College traveled to the campus of Auburn University to cheer on the bulldogs in a rivalry football game.  Unlike college football games of today, there was no tailgate, and no caravan of fans with Samford flags waving from their car windows.  In 1928, everyone boarded a train for Opelika, called the “Central of Georgia Special”.  Fans aboard the “Georgia Special” spent the ride talking, telling stories, and chanting for their team.  Although this ride may seem strange by current standards, the train to Auburn rallied Howard College behind the football team and in spirit for their school.  They got to know each other and grew in unity.  Unfortunately, that day, Howard fell to Auburn 25-6. After the game, the fans were not able to stick around, they had to catch the train back home.

On Saturday, the bulldogs will take on Auburn University for the 27th time, and Samford is looking to get its first win against the tigers. Many Samford students, faculty, and alumni are set to attend, and there will be university-sponsored tailgates surrounding Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Students and faculty are sure to reminisce, tell stories, and cheer for their team.  Although the mode of transportation may have changed, some things, like the school spirit of Samford University, never will.

Great Crowd Attends Auburn Game Via Special Train And Otherwise

Fine spirit is manifested on trip with freshmen living up to their reputation of greenness.  Railroad officials extend every courtesy possible.

Some one hundred and twenty five Howard students and supporters pulled out aboard the Central of Georgia Special to Auburn on Saturday, October 27…Typical of all Howard crowds, there was much spirit manifested. Very few were able to name all of the topics of conversation or (bull) which made the rounds. Old cronies got together, old friends met new ones, and there was a fine spirit of friendship and closeness throughout the whole trip. Freshmen lived up to their reputation of greenness…there was a constant parade through the train as is always the case. Many were so absorbed in the scenery and other matters that they hardly knew what was happening. Even these awoke from their trance when the band was tooting forth many strains of more or less familiar music. This happened after about one-half the distance had been covered…Every one was feeling good and real pep was exhibited for the first time this year.

Upon arriving in Opelika, we were left stranded by our trusty C. of G…we found ourselves in the loveliest village of the plains…As usual, the band started off the excitement with a parade through the town. Other rooters followed in a long line…As a preliminary to the game, one of the fraternities staged a stunt for an initiation. This sent the crowd into roars of laughter. Both bands played music of the usual nature. Auburn showed a remarkable spirit. Those who went can certainly appreciate what the Auburn Spirit really is. Not to be outdone, the Howard side opened up with all the reserve that they have been holding in all this season, and each supporter yelled as he has never yelled before. All the yells went over in big style. This spirit lasted throughout the game. Two minutes after the kick off, Howard scored and the bunch went wild. It looked too easy. [But] every one knows what a rude awakening we had…ask those who saw it. Auburn opened up with a bang on their touchdown. A great demonstration was given. It was the first score for them this year.

We lost, but we went down fighting…After the final whistle it did not take long for the crowd to scatter. Hasty departures were made. The [train] pulled off from Opelika at 7:00. This time there was still a fine spirit shown. Howard should be proud of its representation. Howard is proud of its team. The return trip was somewhat quiet…Having been beaten in the way we were, we are glad that it was Auburn rather than some of our other rivals. Special thanks should be given for the way we were received and treated…and appreciation should be shown to the Central of Georgia Railroad for the many favors they granted us…They are all right. Record time was made to Birmingham, the time required being only three hours.

Not one who went on this trip is sorry. Except for the defeat, nothing happened to be sorry for. Those who went acted as real Howard students…With only three games remaining, all efforts must be turned to making these a success. Everyone must back the team and must act when called on. Show your spirit and there will be much to show for it later!

Auburn Samford

A more recent look at the Auburn/Samford Rivalry, 2011

Adapted from:

Howard Entre Nous, 1929.

Howard Crimson, October 31, 1928.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/11/samford_field_goal_cuts_auburn.html