Browse Items (1032 total)

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Oral interview of Leon Vandiver recorded by Keith S. Hebert in December 2016 for the Montgomery County Historical Society as part of their Alabama Bicentennial commemorations. The interview was conducted at Vandiver's home in Montgomery, Alabama. To…

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Hugh Martin (August 11, 1914-March 11, 2011)

Hugh Martin was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1914. He received musical training at the Birmingham Conservatory of Music. Over the course of his career, he wrote some of our most memorable songs and…

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Freddie Hart (December 21, 1926- )

Born Fred Segrest on December 21, 1926, Hart was one of fifteen children. His parents were sharecroppers. He began playing guitar at age 5, and by age 12 he dropped out of school to work for his parents. When…

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Lionel Richie (June 20, 1949- )

Lionel Brockman Richie, Jr. was born on June 20, 1949 in Tuskegee, Alabama. He grew up on the campus of the Tuskegee Institute where many members of his family had worked for two generations. While in college at…

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J.T. "Fess" Whatley (c. 1895 - January 12, 1972)

If Alabama's musical heritage were to have a conductor, a teacher, that person would have to be J.T. “Fess” Whatley. In his tutelage of musicians, first at The Tuggle Institute in Birmingham, of…

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Candi Staton (March 13, 1940 - )

For many within the African-American community, the line between gospel and soul music is a thin one. A rhythm that pushes the music along, soaring vocals that inspire and lift the crowds out of their seats,…

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Billy Sherrill (November 5, 1936 - August 4, 2015)

If at any point during the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s you listened to a song by George Jones, Tammy Wynette, or Charlie Rich, chances are very good that song was either written, produced, or both,…

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Spooner Oldham (June 14, 1943 - )

The writing credits of Spooner Oldham read like a jukebox selection. From Percy Sledge to Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett to Janis Joplin, Spooner is at the heart of what has come to be called “The Muscle Shoals…

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Buddy Killen (November 13, 1932 - November 1, 2006)

There are countless musicians, singers and entertainers in the world that, for lack of that big break, never reach the pinnacle, in spite of the fact that they may have just as much, if not more,…

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Erskine Hawkins (July 26, 1914 - November 11, 1993)

When philanthropists donate money to various organizations, schools and charities, most often the result is either a building named in in their honor, or a scholarship, or even a seat on a board…

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Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay (August 22, 1947 - )

If anyone can lay claim to having lived a life that was marked by being in the right place at the right, Donna Jean Godchaux (pronounced “God-show) can. From growing up in the Florence/Muscle…

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Eddie Floyd (June 27, 1937 - )

The “Memphis sound” that mixed Southern soul with R&B, jazz, with a little country and gospel thrown in, was an important and influential sound in the 1960s. Led by such singers as Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and…

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Cleveland "Cleve" Eaton (August 31, 1939 - )

In his long career in music, it is difficult to find a genre or an entertainer or act that Cleve Eaton has either not recorded or toured with. The man dubbed “the Count’s Bassist” because of his…

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Clarence Carter (January 14, 1936 - )

The best way to describe Clarence Carter’s style is that he is a soul and blues preacher of love, most specifically, the cheating kind. Carter’s vocals, at times soaring and at times down in the gutter,…

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William Lee Golden

Golden was raised in a farming family in Brewton, Alabama. At age seven he began singing and performing regularly on his grandfather’s weekly radio show, along with his sister. From this experience, Golden grew to love…

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Buddy Buie (January 23, 1941 - July 18, 2015)

Buddy Buie may not be a name that most folks recognize, but his impact on the music scene of the 1960s to the 1990s is one that transcends name recognition. As a songwriter, producer, and concert…

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David Briggs (March 16, 1943 - )

David Briggs has had a career that can best be described as impressive, topped off by working with Elvis Presley as his studio keyboardist, and later going out on tour with the King. But lest one think that he…

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Tammy Wynette (May 5, 1942-April 6, 1998)

Virginia Wynette Pugh was born May 5, 1942 in Tremont, Mississippi, but she spent much or her childhood just across the state line in Red Bay, Alabama. After her father died when she was nine months old,…

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Ernie Ashworth (December 15, 1928 - March 2, 2009)

Even though he had written songs for some of country music’s biggest stars, and that he himself had scored two top 10 hits, it wasn’t until after he had scored his one and only number-one…

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Percy Sledge (November 25, 1940-April 14, 2015)

Percy Tyrone Sledge was born November 25, 1940 in the poor farming town of Leighton, Alabama. Sledge worked on many local farms then was hired as an orderly at the hospital in Sheffield where he…

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Curly Putman (Nov. 20, 1930-Oct. 30, 2016)

Claude “Curly” Putman Jr., born in Princeton, Alabama, is best known as a songwriter.

He was born on Putman Mountain, northeast of Huntsville, Alabama. His father was a sawmill worker and his…

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Alabama

Members:
Randy Owen (Dec. 13, 1949- ) (lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and songwriter),
Teddy Gentry (Jan. 22, 1952- ) (bass player, songwriter, and harmony vocalist)
Jeff Cook (Aug. 27, 1949- ) (multi-instrumentalist, singer, and…

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William L. Dawson (September 26, 1899-May 4, 1990)

William Levi Dawson was an African American composer, performer, and music educator from Anniston, Alabama.

Dawson graduated from the Tuskegee Institute with highest honors in 1921. He earned a…

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Sam Phillips (1923-2003)

Samuel Cornelius Phillips was born January 5, 1923 in Florence, Alabama. He was the youngest of eight children born to Charles Tucker Phillips and Madge Ella Phillips. He was born into a middle-class farming family, but…

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Nat "King" Cole (March 17. 1919 - February 15, 1965)

Born Nathaniel Adams Coles, on March 17, 1919, in Montgomery, Alabama, crooner Nat Cole was known for his smooth, soft baritone and easygoing nature. When Nat was four years old, his father,…

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Constance Ortmayer was born in New York City in 1902 and graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at Vienna, Austria. She returned to the United States in 1932 and was teaching art at Rollins College in Florida when she was commissioned to…

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The structure known locally as "Little Brick" was built about 1855 during the railroad construction boom in Stevenson, Alabama. The property was purchased prior to the Civil War by Michigan native Walter Rosser who was in Stevenson working as a…

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Sauta was a small Cherokee village established about 1784 on the north side of the Tennessee River near its confluence with North Sauty Creek. The August 13, 1828, issue of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper includes a letter from an acquaintance of…

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Alfred Huger Moses and Morris Nathan were the first two alderman of Sheffield, Alabama. Nathan was buried in the Jewish section of Oakwood Cemetery in Sheffield, Alabama before the Jewish community incorporated or built a temple.

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Alfred Huger Moses was responsible for the layout of the residential, business, and industrial areas of Sheffield, Alabama, which was incorporated in 1895. He named Montgomery Avenue after Montgomery, Alabama where he and his family had lived (and…

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Alfred Huger Moses, the designer and first mayor of Sheffield, built his family home at what is now 1315 North Montgomery Avenue, Sheffield, Alabama. The house burned to the ground circa 1890.

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Alfred Huger Moses, founder and first mayor of Sheffield, Alabama (along with his brother, Mordecai) was the owner of the Sheffield Land, Iron and Coal Company, located on Montgomery Avenue.

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Most of the earliest merchants in Sheffield, Alabama were of Jewish descent and came to the area in the mid 1880's. The earliest Jewish families were the Spielbergers who owned a dry goods and clothing store, Speilbergers and Sons at 217-219…

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Alfred Huger Moses and his brother, Mordecai, were largely responsible for the founding of Sheffield, Alabama. They named the city after Sheffield, England hoping for similar success in industrialization.

The sales of 500 lots for the…

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Jacob and Isaac Friedman, brothers who moved to Tuscumbia from Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1840s, established a dry goods store on the main street of Tuscumbia.

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The generator for WQLT Radio station, which is owned by Big River Broadcasting - founded by Sam Phillips and now under the management of his sons and grandchildren -- is, whimsically perhaps, painted gold and named Elvis for Elvis Presley, who Sam…

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The Reisman-Coffee-Looft House, located at 618 N. Wood Avenue, was the home to Mark Reisman and his family. Mr. Reisman was one of the first Jewish merchants in the Florence area. His business was located the corner of Tennessee and Court Streets. He…

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Coleman, Erwin M., A History of Temple B'nai Israel, Florence, Alabama: Centennial Celebration, 1906 - 2006. Privately Printed.

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Stanley Rosenbaum, who was a Florence, Alabama businessman, philanthropist, Civil Rights advocate, member of the University of North Alabama's English Department, and original owner of the Stanley Rosenbaum Frank Lloyd Wright House, was interested in…

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Jacob Spielberger, who was born in Hungary in January of 1856, came to Alabama around 1888. He opened a dry goods store and clothing store, Spielberger and Sons, at 217 and 219 Mongomery Avenue in Sheffield. His three sons, Jacob, Harry, and Ben…

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Samuel J. Israel, who moved to Sheffield, Alabama in 1909 from Lithuania, wrote his memoirs at his daughter's (Beatrice Muhlendorf) request. The manuscript -- which is over thirty pages long -- is titled "From Northern Lithuania to Northern Alabama."…

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The Alfred Huger Moses Room, which is located in the annex of the Sheffield Public Library (on Montgomery Avenue ), was made possible, in part, by funding from the descendants of Alfred Huger Moses (founder and first mayor of Sheffield).

The room…

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Alfred Huger Moses was responsible for the establishment of Sheffield, Alabama. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, he moved to Alabama after serving in the Confederate Army where he achieved the rank of Captain.

HIs wife, Katherine, five…

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The Florence-Lauderdale Public Library's local history room has several large files devoted to the study of local places, organizations, and individuals. The Jewish History Collection offers a good cross-section of Jewish owned businesses, the…

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A letter to the editor found in the files of the history of Temple B'Nai Israel at the Florence- Lauderdale Public Library suggests that Jewish immigrants to the area were encouraged and welcomed.

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Samuel J. Israel immigrated from Lithuania moving to Sheffield, Alabama in 1909. His first venture was a wholesale grocery. He eventually founded Paper and Chemical Supply of Sheffield.

He was known throughout the community for his charitable…

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A historic marker, located on North Montgomery Avenue ad 3rd Street in Sheffield, offers a brief overview of Sheffield's history. Alfred Huger Moses, who was from Charleston, South Carolina and who had served in the Confederate Army, is credited…
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