A Remarkable History

An Annotated Bibliography Dedicated to my Ancestors

(Left to Right): Civil War at Fort Wagner, Farm Growing Corn, Great Depression
(Left to right): Bank Run Following Stock Market Crash of 1929, Wood-Burning Stove, Railroad

When looking at my family ancestry, especially my grandfather’s stories, I always notice joy. No matter the circumstances, whether it is the War of 1812, the Civil War, or the Great Depression, my family has managed to stay positive. My grandfather illustrates bravery and wisdom, witnessed by being the first man to attend college in his lineage. He also adds a unique sort of southern charm and encouraging personality only truly understood by an encounter with him. His tendencies to spark up conversations with anyone he finds, whether in a grocery store line or at a sit-down restaurant, for instance, give insight to his friendly demeanor. A man full of passion, my grandfather accomplishes anything he sets his mind to, a trait I believe has been passed down throughout the generations of my family tree.

1. “A Brief History of Television.” Emmy TV Legends. Archive of American Television. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

By 1960, one third of all network programs were taped, a third were filmed, and the remaining shows were produced live.” The television media has a huge source of power still present today. A viewer has many options when clicking the on button on the remote, or television set. Shows range from thirty minutes to multiple hours, they provide entertainment for babies to the elderly, and they cover all topics from news to cooking to comedies. With the television continually growing in usage during the nineteen fifties and sixties, it is no wonder that many name this time frame the golden age. My grandparents grew up during these decades; therefore, they remember many of the shows and new ideas available to watch on their screen at home.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz from I Love lucy

Shows from the era learned how to incorporate “individuals from vastly different backgrounds, family trades, cultural heritages and varying interests” in order to make comedies. One prime example from the fifties is Leave it to Beaver. This series introduces the first time viewer’s watch scenes unfold “portraying childhood from a kid’s perspective” and giving prime examples of what “fifties audiences expected of suburban life.” The Donna Reed Show illustrates “typical, real-life family problems of the era” while also covering “edgier topics like women’s rights.” Donna Reed performed so well as an upper-middle-class suburban housewife that she even won a golden globe. The television serves as a medium for politics and controversial topics, not only on news channels, but also intertwined in plot lines of these comedies. The audience hardly recognizes the advances of the show writers, but will take away some of this information following the program.

“Due to the coaxial cable, unknown comedians from local stations showcased themselves to larger audiences.” The coaxial cable helps distribute cable television signals as one of its many functions, and it conducts electrical signal using an inner conductor surrounded by an insulating layer, all enclosed by a shield of woven metallic braid. Inventions such as this one and “film studios relaxing their restrictions on their stars appearing on television” allowed “production to move west” and cause a rise in television viewers. One of the top situation comedy shows from the fifties and sixties, I Love Lucy, had such a large fan base that “on January 19, 1953, history was made as over 44 million Lucy fans tuned in to watch Little Ricky’s birth.” My grandfather, James Keith, and his parents make up part of that statistic. James Keith bought the first black and white television for his family with the money he saved while working at Hugh’s general store. With little to do in rural Alabama, television offered a way for my family to relax after a hard day of work, stay informed about current events, and enjoy laughing with the ones they loved.

2. Bindas, Kenneth. Remembering the Great Depression in the Rural South. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007. Print.

Depression-era Soup Kitchen for Children

By the 1930s, over two-thirds of the South’s population lived in rural areas. Of these, over 42 percent worked on farms as hired hands, tenants, or sharecroppers.” Because of low wages paid to factory workers and the often temporary nature of their employ, many southern workers were attracted to working on the farm, which weakened the market. Kenneth Bindas explains the lifestyle of many southern families during the Great Depression, which ties very closely with my own lineage. My family worked as farmers during this period, picking cotton and growing their own food in order to survive. My great grandmother, Berith Wallace Keith, used to tell me all about growing up as the oldest of ten siblings. With the struggle to make ends meet and with many little ones in the home, Berith had to mature quickly and learn the role of motherhood. “It has been well documented that during the Depression, American families learned to “make do” with what they had. This tendency to reuse, save, conserve, and recycle was reinforced with what they had.” Some common chores included helping in the fields, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of her brothers and sisters.

A Mother and Child During the Depression

Berith still managed to find ways to enjoy life even with the shortness of necessities. She loved to dance the various styles that became popular in the Roaring Twenties, including the Charleston and Lindy Hop, as well as listening to country music and singing while working. However, concerns about making more money still held the Wallace family down. Prices on items were cheap, yet, they still were not affordable. Berith used to recall to me exact prices for both needs and other items not essential for survival because she worried constantly about saving enough. She wondered how much longer and how much more work was needed to buy one simple item. My great grandmother also dreamed of her “wants”, memorizing those prices by pure longing. Many people did not have the luxuries we have today, such as refrigerators, electric lights, and washing machines. “It was this type of conflict- want versus need- that defined the new consumerism and was at the heart of the transition in the new South.”

During 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected as president. He decided to use the power of the federal government to better the economy which collapsed during the Stock Market Crash on October 29, 1929. Roosevelt’s New Deal program was not only supposed to infuse money into the economy, but it also had the larger purpose of encouraging a sense of hope into a society overwhelmed with images of hopelessness. There was an underlying appeal to nationalism and inclusion. One main way to lower unemployment rates was to have more money flow through all social classes by having Americans purchase more goods. “Consumption,” McGovern writes, “was a symbol of American social democracy and the engine of social equality.” The best way to be a good American was to consume. This idea, along with a variety of laws passed (i.e. Tennessee Valley Authority), slowly began to reshape the economy. To quote Roosevelt during his inaugural address: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” At a time when people felt hopeless, Roosevelt managed to restore their confidence. This positivity, as well as the optimism my family already breathes, kept my ancestry alive and well during such a gruesome historical event.

3. Campbell, Edward and Kym Rice. A Woman’s War: Southern Women, Civil War, and the Confederate Legacy. Richmond: The Museum of the Confederacy, 1996. Print.

Women’s amount of responsibility grew dramatically as three out of every four white men of military age fought for the Confederates. Campbell and Rice edited a book about women during the Civil War, which they published in the late nineties. It depicts how the lives of Southern women were never the same again after the invasion of the Union armies during the Civil War, which started in 1861. Women faced a challenge of placement within the social rank during a period when slaves were freed, the wealthy had a decline in their living standards, the yeomanry faced poverty, and thousands of families struggled with separation. Women dealt with daunting tasks such as crop yields, stock breeding, and taxes, as well as living off less prosperity. Some women also took on control of the slaves, and they struggled with maintaining authority because black people were not afraid of them.

Southern women hounding their men on to rebellion and creating bread riots.

Unfamiliar domestic chores such as raising children, cooking, and sewing practical dresses became a new hardship to tackle. Another brought on task included aiding the Confederates through war work. “Our needles are now our weapons,” Lucy Wood explained, “and we have a part to perform as well as the rest.” Many women found themselves helping out by sewing flags, attending secession conventions, raising money for gunboats, and organizing hospital and relief associations. This allowed women to not feel as “useless” and gave them the ability to declare that the war was “certainly [theirs] as well as that of the men.”

Other contributions involved finding a place of work. In 1862, the Confederate Congress authorized women to serve officially in Confederate hospitals because the wards managed by females reported significantly lower mortality rates. Another example is the school system. In 1860, in North Carolina, “only seven percent of the teachers were women. By the end of the war, however, there were as many female teachers as male in the classroom.” This statistic relates strongly to my family ancestry because First Sergeant Daniel Crawford Keith, a family member of mine who fought in the Civil War, had a wife, Susan Elizabeth Bledsoe, who began teaching in Cowan, Tennessee while he was away. It kept her busy as well as providing an income for herself and her four children. Daniel Keith died of pneumonia in 1861 at Camp Jones in Virginia. The book helps to uncover what Susan Bledsoe Keith might have done during such a difficult time in history, especially after her husband passed away.

4. Davis, William. Battle at Bull Run: A History of the First Major Campaign of the Civil War. Garden City: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1977. Print.

A painting depicting the First Battle of Bull Run.

William Davis won the Jefferson Davis Prize for Confederate history three times, earned the Pulitzer Prize for Battle at Bull Run and Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol, and published over forty books which summarize the Civil War and early Southern history. His overflowing knowledge allows the reader to feel as if he fought alongside the Confederates himself. This permitted me the opportunity to better picture my third great grandfather, Daniel Crawford Keith, joining 32,000 others in Manassas Junction, Virginia, ready to fight 35,000 Union troops under the command of McDowell.

Without a doubt, the battle at Bull Run sets a tone for the remainder of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln assumed a quick victory over the south, hence, two months following the Confederate bombing on Fort Sumter, Lincoln assigned McDowell the job of pressing through Richmond, Virginia, to ensure a mercifully quick end to the war. However, cautious General Ivan McDowell worried his “troops were ill prepared” for the fight. His slow movements towards the south allowed time for Confederate P.G.T. Beauregard to discover the plan and arrange for reinforcement from General Joseph E. Johnston at the little river of Bull Run. Although the Confederate Army had little training, they still managed a victory. This created a false sense of hope to the South and a long, grueling war for everyone.

My third great grandfather took part in the victory at Bull Run as the rank of sergeant first class. He usually was addressed as “First Sergeant Daniel Keith”, and with this title came more opportunity. He controlled over forty soldiers in a rifle platoon, as well as holding responsibility of tactical logistics and tactical causality evacuations. This role shows his capabilities as well as respect the other men had for him. It also presents insight on the idea of him ranking even higher had he not passed away from pneumonia during the winter months. Along with my family member’s contribution, soldier Thomas J. Jackson also made a grand impact during this battle. He stood “like a stone wall” on the important high-ground position at Henry House Hill, nearly guaranteeing Confederate triumph by maintaining his stance. This story gave him the nickname Stonewall Jackson. His contribution led to leadership opportunities and his wisdom led to brilliant battle tactics. He famously stated, “Duty is ours; consequences are God’s,” to explain how everybody should do the best they can, but you only have control over yourself; therefore, God decides the ultimate outcome.

A map of the movement of the Confederate and Union troops.

5. “Food in United States Southern Region.” Food in Every Country. Food in Every Country. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

Chess Pie

Chess Pie

No one knows for sure how chess pie got its name. Although there are many recipe variations, all have eggs, sugar, and butter in the filling, and many contain buttermilk.


· ½ cup butter

· ½ cup brown sugar

· 1 cup white sugar

· 3 eggs

· 1 Tablespoon vinegar

· ½ teaspoon vanilla

· 1 Tablespoon cornmeal

· 9-inch pie crust, unbaked


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Melt the butter and add the brown and white sugar to it. Stir well to combine.

3. Add other ingredients and stir gently to mix. Do not beat the mixture.

4. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for about one hour, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (with no custard sticking to it).

5. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Serves 6 to 8.

More than any other regional group, people born and raised as Southerners tend to think of themselves as Southerners all their lives, no matter where they live.” This region falls below the Ohio River and is “straddled by the nation’s capital, Washington D.C.” The emerging of southern cuisine began with the Native Americans when they introduced corn to Europeans. The 1500s brought Spaniards and pork while the 1600s introduced slavery from West Africa and, with this, food such as “watermelon, eggplant, collard greens, and okra.” Other contributions include numerous spices from the Creoles, crawfish and catfish rooted from Louisiana, and “Tex-Mex” in Texas, which includes spices similar to the taste of food found in the neighboring country of Mexico. The last and main influence to southern food arose during the Civil War and goes by the name “soul food” because it includes all cuisine inexpensive and easy to come by during a time of poverty, when nothing went to waste in order for survival.

Traditional Southern Food

“Because kitchens only had wood-burning stoves in the late 1800s, recipes did not give baking temperatures or times.” This meant women like my second great grandmother, Susan Elizabeth “Bettie” Holder, who lived from 1859–1924, had to constantly check the cooking to ensure the fire did not become too hot or too cold. One common ingredient when baking was corn. This staple good creates delicious meals such as grits, breads and cakes, and a “breading on fried foods.” Aside from corn, some other images that come to mind when someone hears “Southern cooking” include fried chicken and corn bread. Chess pie, pecan pie, and key lime pie represent common desserts from the region.

Sweer tea served in a mason jar.

Christianity marks the most common religion in the south; therefore, holiday’s such as Christmas and Easter hold a high significance. With celebrating comes eating lots of food. “The typical main dish for both holidays is ham,” suggesting the importance of the introduction of pigs to the area by the Spanish. Another longstanding tradition means fruitcake on Christmas. My family still eats these dishes every year as a ritual passed down from many generations. When looking at drinks in the south, one notices a majority of people drinking “sweet tea” or a soft drink, many of which were invented here. Atlanta, Georgia, represents the home for the development of Coca-Cola, my all-time favorite drink.

Lastly, a very southern term, still coined by my grandparents, is the word “supper”. They eat dinner at midday and supper at night. A majority of people living in the region now have turned to saying lunch and dinner, but my grandparents never bothered to change their ways. They appreciate the history of the south and all the wonderful cultures that blend together within it, as should many others because the region has a wonderful flavor to offer.

6. “History of Bluegrass Music — Bluegrass Heritage Foundation.” Bluegrass Heritage Foundation. International Bluegrass Music Association, 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.

The foundation of bluegrass music in America dates back to “the 1600's from Ireland, Scotland, and England” when settlers came and “wrote songs about day-to-day life in the new land.” Most of the people lived in remote areas, so the “songs reflected life on the farm or in the hills.” This began the genre of “country music” still popular today. My family ancestry correlates with this music from ties going back to Scotland, with Alexander Keith, born in 1715. Another connection includes Daniel Keith, born in 1739 in Ireland, who brought my lineage to the states by migrating to America around 1760.

Music has always played a key role in my family. My great grandfather, Matthew James Keith, enjoyed playing the fiddle and banjo in his free time. He also listened to a group called “The Monroe Brothers [who] were one of the most popular acts of the 1920s and 1930s. The group later split, and Bill Monroe formed the “Blue Grass Boys” who “first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1939 and soon became one of the most popular touring bands to emerge from Nashville’s WSM studios.” The usage of traditional acoustic instruments and distinctive vocal harmonies, as well as incorporation of songs and rhythms from “string band, gospel (black and white), black laborer work song, country, and blues” helped determine this genre’s unique sound.

Many people in my family have musical capabilities and talents, especially my Great Aunt Marie. She knew how to play almost every single instrument, and most of this knowledge was from self-teaching. She spent a majority of her life giving music lessons to others. Great Aunt Marie knew this gift came from God’s grace; therefore, she praised Him for her talent by worshipping Him every Sunday at church, playing piano for the service.

Without a doubt, bluegrass music has shaped “country music” into the style and sound it is today. The roots of the sound derive from the Southern United States and include “folk, western, blues, traditional ballads, Celtic fiddle tunes, and various other musical traditions from European immigrant communities.” The common people to listen to and perform this genre were mostly white, working-class Americans, who came from Europe. This description fits my family very well and it makes sense that they appreciated this form of entertainment.

7. Jackson, Harvey. Inside Alabama: A Personal History of My State. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2004. Print.

Bondage, or the state of being a slave, still exists in different forms within the Alabama borders. Whether through overpowering government and elites, or through religious persecution, certain people still feel trapped by those of higher status. Powerful words spoken by Harvey H. Jackson III tug on the hearts of all Alabamians, by giving them a sense of the past and why it still holds importance today. The author holds high credibility because of the incorporation of vast research on his own family ancestry- which gives him a right to say the very words he says because his own family took part in many of the events that shaped Alabama. His book encompasses three key themes: bondage, failure of politics and law, and failure of religion.

Civil War Era Scene in Montgomery

Way back during the early 1500s, Hernando De Soto and the Spanish, the French, and the English arrived in Alabama, beginning the first round of bondage, choosing victims on the Indians. Throughout the rest of the state’s history, one can visibly witness a stronger elite controlling a lower, poorer faction. The central feature of all aspects of antebellum Alabama, and the driving force behind the civil war derive from this very concept.

The fraction of the slave population versus white population based on counties in Alabama.

Many politicians appealed to the darker side of human nature, causing defeated challenges to bondage. The law was rarely invoked to provide justice for the most vulnerable people because the Bourbon elite (mainly lawyers) had very abusive power, and they never bothered to manage the integrity of the law. At one point in history, around the 1880s, the Populist Party emerged and might have won, if not for the elitists’ strong control. This time period involved a significant economic downturn that hit ordinary farmers while planters and merchants continued to prosper. My family felt the struggles of this bondage as poor, white farmers. There was little to do to fix the situation; therefore, they did the best they could to feed themselves and stay alive.

Many preachers “cite the bible” by corrupting its true meaning to say that God wanted them to “save” blacks from pagan Africa and bring them into the Christian South. My own family was religious; however, they were so low-class and poor they could not even own a slave themselves, even if they agreed with these preachers. Many worked as tenant servants on another family’s farm, which proves almost as bad off as slavery. Harvey Jackson explains how misinterpretation and one’s own self-interest corrupted the values and beliefs of many Alabamians.

8. Miller, James. Remembering Scottsboro: The Legacy of an Infamous Trial. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009. Print.

James Miller, author of Remembering Scottsboro: The Legacy of an Infamous Trial, summarizes the tragic Scottsboro case about nine African American men, who, in 1931, were falsely accused for rape. They were convicted and sentenced to death because of racism and injustice. When looking through Alabama’s history, I start around the 1900s because that year marks when Charles Bledsoe Keith, my second great-grandfather, moved to Jackson County, Alabama. His son, Matthew Keith, is my great- grandfather and a man who lived not only during the Boll Weevil Infestation and World War One, but also through the Scottsboro Boys Trial. Family following him continue to stay in the same county, making this place very important for my ancestry and for research.

Scottsboro boys are on the left and the two women who accused them of rape are in the picture on the right.

The men, between the ages of thirteen to twenty, suffered allegations of raping two white women on a freight train in Scottsboro, Alabama, despite the lack of evidence to support the claim and despite the fact that the two women were prostitutes trying to avoid a morals charge. Lynch mobs threatened to kill the boys, and I wonder what my great- grandfather thought of the situation. Matthew Keith, living as a lower-class white male around the age of 28, probably saw black people as inferior, yet, he lacked the class structure to potentially do anything to harm them. Most likely, he simply worried about keeping his family and his farm safe. The NAACP and the Communist Party USA fought strongly for the young black men, but an ineffectual public defender, and an all-white jury, had the ultimate decision in the defendants’ punishment. All of the boys served hard time under brutal conditions for a crime they never testified to committing. Roy Wright, age thirteen, said that the police “whipped me and it seemed like they was going to kill me.”

The whole trial reads unfair. Miller wrote out the exact words spoken in court and many comments come across in support of the defendants; however, these facts and ideas never stand a chance against racism and prejudice. For instance, at one point, Mason, the County Solicitor, tells Sheriff Trent how “these heah girls don’t look like to me they been attacked.” Trent responds back with amazement and hurt, asking, “Whut you tryin’ tuh say to me Luther…?” The book paints a clear illustration of the south in the 1930s, during a period of unrest following the Civil War.

9. “Our Rich History.” Berry College. New Georgia Encyclopedia, 28 Aug. 2006. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

Berry College Ford Complex

True dedication and heartfelt passion blossom from an ironic source, coming from “Martha Berry, the daughter of a prosperous local business owner”. She inherited 83 acres of land in 1902, a huge sum for not only a woman, but any man in the time period. However, this did not make her into a spoiled brat; it did quite the opposite. Her kindness emerged one day during her childhood when she went to her private cabin retreat in order to read her Bible. A few of the impoverished boys who lived nearby in the mountains of Rome, Georgia, stumbled upon her and sparked the flame in Martha that continued to grow the rest of her life. The boys were illiterate and had never attended school or church before. Martha Berry took it upon herself to teach the children by leading a Sunday school, “attracting numerous children from neighboring families” as the weeks went on. She soon began a four day school, but when this appeared ineffective, she made a bold decision to give up her land to found the Boys’ Industrial School.

The school served as a path for children living in poverty. It provided a way for children to be the first in the family to attend college. This remarkable concept holds true for my grandfather, James Cecil Keith. His family had very little, and none before him had gone to university. His father, Matthew James Keith, only had an eighth grade level education because he could not afford high school. My grandfather received his bachelor degree in physics and science and continued his education to earn his master’s degree in administrative science and physics. It was at Berry College where my grandfather met my grandmother, Sally Moore. The girls’ school was added in 1909 and Sally majored in education here in order to become a teacher, but the university did not become coeducational until the year of 1971.

Victory Lake Campground. It is available only for Berry students.

The campus sprawls over a magnificent 30,000 acres of land, “made possible through Martha’s relentless fundraising efforts” all throughout the 1930’s, pleading with the social and political elite. Her family name gave her more opportunity than most; however, she used this chance to further other people’s careers instead of her own. In 1956, John R. Bertrand took over as president and made the university into a liberal arts campus. To this day, the university still ranks among the top tier of liberal arts colleges in the southeast and continues to amaze others with its magnificent beauty and poise. My grandparents still visit the college whenever they come to Georgia and they will always remember the wonderful professors, classmates, and experiences made at Berry College.

10. Vaughn, Susan. Life in Alabama. Montgomery: Dixie Book Company, Inc., 1937. Print.

“Alabama, Alabama,

We will aye be true to thee;

From thy southern shore where growth

By the sea thine orange tree,

To thy northern vale where floweth

Deep and blue thy Tennessee

Alabama! Alabama!

We will aye be true to thee!”

Alabama State Flag

This stanza represents the opening of Alabama’s State Song, written by Miss Julia Tutwiler, a courageous woman who managed to convince the state university at Tuscaloosa to open their doors for women, since she believed in allowing the same chance for both genders. The book Life in Alabama, includes various content, illustrations, and music featuring the state. Author Susan Vaughn lived from 1861 to 1944, and spent her life dedicated to teaching. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. and wrote this book in 1937 as a historical read for her fifth grade students.

The daily life of a farmer contained many trials and tribulations. To be a good cotton picker, one must “pick with both hands at the same time” and “five hundred pounds was considered a good day’s work”. “Each planter had his own gin” that “cleaned the cotton and separated the lint from the seed” to help the process. Even with mules moving the machinery, the job of cotton picking still required strenuous effort. My great grandfather, Matthew James Keith, and his wife, Berith Wallace Keith, grew up working on the fields with their siblings and parents. Other tasks they had to complete include candle and soap making and sewing with sewing machines, invented in 1845. Stores used to hold “barrels of sugar and flour and sacks of green coffee” instead of small quantities seen today and “people ate fruits and vegetables when they were ripe at home.” When my great grandparents cooked, they did it “at home with wood or coal for fuel” and when they needed a doctor they had to “send a messenger.” Everyday tasks held heavier burdens back then because of lack of technology and innovation.

One pastime found within Jackson County, Alabama includes Guntersville Lake. The Tennessee River runs close by and these bodies of water serve as great enjoyment to neighboring families. The lake provides wonderful opportunity for fishing and relaxing, while the river offers a faster mode of transportation and trade. With the invention of the steamboat in 1807, people could now travel as fast as five miles per hour with “every comfort: elevators, reading rooms, places for games on deck, swimming pools, and gymnasiums.” The leisure atmosphere of a day at the lake always gave great excitement to my grandfather and great grandfather, who love sitting on a dock, catching fish and happiness.

11. Waite, Linda. “Does Marriage Matter?” JSTOR. Population Association of America, 9 Sept. 2002. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

Probability of Survival by Marital Status. Women are represented in the top graph and men in the lower graph.

Married men and women exhibit lower levels of negative health behaviors than the unmarried… [and] research evidence suggests that married men and women face lower risks of dying.” This article takes an interesting perspective on relationships by conducting research and discovering the proven benefits of marriage. The information corresponds to my family ancestry very well since my lineage can trace back over two hundred years with no divorces or separations. This very rare occurrence shows the commitment, love, respect and dedication that has proven very vital to my family. All of the stories passed down from my ancestors have been described as “average”. No one invented anything or made lots of money or lived adventurously. However, my family stayed united through all trials and hardships, and that gives me something to boast about.

My grandfather completed high school and college with the guidance of loving parents who supported him in all of his decisions. “The results consistently show that about twice as many children from one-parent families as from two-parent families’ drop out of high school,” providing support that a child’s well-being rests greatly on parental influence. With great role models, he learned necessary skills for healthy relationships that continue to pass down through the generations. Along with “better outcomes for children”, research proves on average that “marriage seems to produce substantial benefits for men and women in the form of better health, longer life, more and better sex, greater earnings (at least for men), and greater wealth.” With this in mind, it is no wonder my family ancestry has lasted so many years fully content with their situation and it seems shocking that less and less people consider marriage for fulfillment.

The bar graph on the left shows unmarried cohabitating adults and the graph on the right shows the perentage of the population 15 and older who are unmarried.

The statistics for marriage versus co-habitation shocked me. According to the 1995 report, “about 62% of women say they have lived with a partner outside of marriage at some point in their lives.” Today, the percentage has climbed to nearly 75%! The reasoning behind this lack of commitment for marriage includes a variety of reasons, such as wanting security in finances first, a finished education before marriage, and an easy way out in case the relationship starts failing. Although these perspectives sound relatively ideal, the main concern to look at involves the emotional connection towards the partner. If one or both of the people in the relationship struggle to see a future with the other, then the feelings prove more lustful than loving. God designed humans to want connections with others, but His purpose was not for sinful reasons; instead, the reason exists in building each other up in the healthy confines of marriage.

12. Wilson, Charles. “Overview: Religion and the U.S. South.” Southern Spaces. Southern Spaces, 16 Mar. 2004. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

Baptists continue to represent about half of the church-affiliated population of the South.” How did the spreading of this Christian denomination take place? The spread of religion in the southern parts of the United States began with hints of Native American “spiritual legacy” and “African spirituality,” as well as beliefs brought in from other countries. The Baptist denomination obtains its greatest strength “from southern Appalachia, into the Deep South states of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi,” where my family lives. During the Great Awakening, or a time of religious revival, “increasing numbers of settlers” moved to the south, “attracted by inexpensive lands.” This led to a “surge of new Presbyterian and Baptist congregations” which my ancestry began to attend. Since “the Baptists and Methodists were especially effective at recruiting plain folk,” farmers in my family joined in on this “democratic religion complementary to the politics of the early nineteenth century”.

First Baptist Church Facade, New Bern, North Carolina

The author of this article “Overview: Religion and the U.S. South,” Charles Reagan Wilson, taught at the University of Mississippi from 1981–2014. He received his PhD in history from the University of Texas at Austin. Wilson’s first book, Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865–1920, helped “bring the concept of civil religion into Southern studies scholarship” and was the first book to “address the topic of how white Southerners came to remember the Civil War as a kind of religious effort.” His contribution towards southern history and religious history (i.e. Religion in the South) remarkably changes the way historians view past events. Now a retired man, Charles Reagan Wilson plans on writing “The Southern Way of Life”, demonstrating his remarkable passion and dedication for the topic because even after retirement he still longs to share more about the wonderful southern states.

“The Monkey Trial”

With this in mind, readers notice the author’s constant mention of the “blurring… lines between Christianity and southernism.” He also mentions the use of religious language to sacralize the Confederacy, explaining how the “southern cause was a holy war.” I wonder if my third great grandfather, Daniel Crawford Keith, looked at the civil war as part of God’s plan to help the south. Either way, he would have remembered the “fasting and thanksgiving,” how the “ministers cared for soldiers, preached revivals, and performed mass baptisms”, and how the women gained “new roles” in “southern religious life”. Following the Civil War, Wilson writes how the “New South [was a] postwar period [which] saw rising membership in evangelical churches and participation in church life.” The “Bible Belt” serves as the best name to describe the increase of religion in the south and the “hostility to the forces of modern science”, witnessed during the “Scopes Trail, in the summer of 1925.” Every decade in history showcases the steps towards a predominately Christian south.

Photograph Citations:

(Numbers Below Correspond With Source Number)


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  • (Left to Right) “Bank Run.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 26 Oct. 2015. Making cornbread with relief flour. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia; October 1935. “Railroad History, An Overview Of The Past.” American-Rails. American-Rails. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
  • “I Love Lucy”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
    Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2015
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  • Loosli, Linda. “Great Depression Meals-Are We Eating The Same Meals Today.” Food Storage Moms. 9 Feb. 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
  • Boehm, Lisa Krisoff. “Women, Impact of the Great Depression on.” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression. Ed. Robert S. McElvaine. Vol. 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 1050–1055. U.S. History in Context. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.


  • “Sowing and Reaping. Southern Women Hounding Their Men on to Rebellion. Southern Women Feeling the Effects of Rebellion and Creating Bread Riots,” Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, May 23, 1863, 141


  • “Bull Run.” Saving America’s Civil War Battlefields: Civil War Trust. Council on Foreign Relations. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
  • “Bull Run.” Saving America’s Civil War Battlefields: Civil War Trust. Council on Foreign Relations. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
  • Elder, Gregory. “Intelligence in War: It Can Be Decisive.” Central Intelligence Agency. Central Intelligence Agency, 26 June 2008. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.


  • “Chess Pie — Cook Diary.” Cook Diary. Cook Diary, 14 Sept. 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
  • Stasio, Frank, Anita Rao, and Andrew Tie. “The Story Of Soul Food, One Meal At A Time.” The Story Of Soul Food, One Meal At A Time. WUNC: North Carolina Public Radio, 29 May 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015. “Nutrition Facts.” Analysis for Watermelon. Condé Nast, 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
  • Chandler, Danielle. “You’re Not Southern If You’ve Never Eaten These Five Foods.” USA TODAY College. Spoon University, 20 May 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.


  • “16 Greatest Original Bluegrass Hits.” YouTube. Web. 31 Oct. 2015.


  • “Civil War Era Scenes In and Around Montgomery.” 19th Century Scenes In and Around Montgomery. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
  • Norell, Robert. “The Alabama Journey.” Alabama Maps — Historic. University of Alabama. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.


  • Linder, Douglas. “The Trials of The Scottsboro Boys.” The Trials of The Scottsboro Boys. 1999. Web. 30 Oct. 2015. Ransdall, Hollace. “The First Scottsboro Trials.” The First Scottsboro Trials. American Civil Liberties Union. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.


  • “Visit Berry.” Berry College. Berry College, 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
  • “Berry College.” Photos & Videos. Campus Explorer. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.


  • “Donating in Alabama.” Organizers for Charity: Community of Professional Organizers Dedicated to Helping Others. Organizers for Charity. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
  • “Alabama Counties.” Chapters. The Association of Legal Professionals. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.


  • Waite, Linda. “Does Marriage Matter?” JSTOR. Population Association of America, 9 Sept. 2002. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
  • Waite, Linda. “Does Marriage Matter?” JSTOR. Population Association of America, 9 Sept. 2002. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.


  • “First Baptist Church Facade, New Bern, North Carolina, September 23, 2012. First Baptist was build in 1848 and was listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1972.”
  • Linder, Douglas. “State v. John Scopes (“The Monkey Trial”).” An Introduction to the John Scopes (Monkey) Trial. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
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