Public humanities/Featured

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Friday's featured articles[edit | edit source]

Different articles are featured here each day of the week. Visit again tomorrow to discover new public humanities resources.

Picking fruit at the John C. English seedling grove in Alva, Florida. Sampson English (left) was grove foreman for the Owanita Citrus Association.

Learn more about the Florida citrus industry worker Horace Thompson at Federal Writers' Project - Life Histories

Charley Ryland

At some point in his early adulthood, Ryland began working as a coal miner in Alabama. Due to a mining incident, he lost sight in one of his eyes. Ryland was married at an unknown date. He and his wife had seven children, three sons and four daughters. Due to some unknown problems occurring in his home state, he moved his family to West Virginia where he would continue to work in the mines. He described his life in this state as "comfortable," and would continue to live here for some several years. However, around 1918, his wife contracted pneumonia and died. He only worked for a short while after this, then left West Virginia to return home to the Coosa River. All but one of his children stayed in West Virginia. Two of his sons also worked as coal miners and his four daughters married coal miners.

Learn more about Charley Ryland at Federal Writers' Project - Life Histories

H. Gaston Carney

Gaston and his brother Marshall enlisted to fight in WWI in September 1918- a month later his journals began. Though Marshall lied about his age to join, and ended up fighting in the trenches of France, Gaston never saw the battlefield and dealt with the life of an inactive soldier abroad. Over the course of several months, Gaston wrote in five journals that matter-of-factly described his daily life from his journey to France until is return home in March 1919. During his time in the camp and quarantine, after an influenza outbreak at the beginning of his service, Carney wrote about the bitter cold weather, lack of sustenance and food. His entries said things like “men still dying – can’t get anything to eat or drink – still starving” [1]. Carney also wrote a lot about the YMCA and the relationship the “Y” had to the soldiers, including recreational activities set up by the “Y” in their camp. Carney and his troop were not returned home until over four months after the armistice in November 1918.

Learn more about H. Gaston Carney at World War I -- Life Histories

Elizabeth Keckly

Elizabeth Keckly was a remarkable individual who was born into slavery in 1818 just south of the major market center of Petersburg, Virginia. She learned her craft – sewing – from her mother, who was an expert seamstress enslaved in the Burwell family. When Reverend Burwell, Keckly’s master and half-brother (they shard a father) relocated to Hillsborogh, North Carolina, in 1832, she soon followed. Six years later, Anna Burwell, Keckly’s mistress, started a school for young girls in the family home, with an already over-worked Keckly charged as the sole servant. In the Burwell household, Keckly was subject to physical and sexual abuse. She gave birth to her only child, a son, as a result of being molested by a white acquaintance of the Burwells.

Learn more about Elizabeth Keckly at The Crafting Freedom Project