Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Discovering "The People's Stories of South Madison"

In my previous post, I noted that when comparing Madison's South Side and West Side, "There was a pronounced difference between the two neighborhoods in 1923."

In a wonderfully-timed bit of serendipity, while searching for links for a post on the Central History blog about the 1954 Madison Central High School football team co-captains, I discovered an online copy of "The People's Stories of South Madison," a collection of 20 first-person reminiscences about life in South Madison, based on oral interviews conducted by David Giffey. I linked to one reminiscence by Richard Harris, but there are also other stories in this book with definite "Central connections."

Read some of these stories if you want to gain a better understanding of what the "pronounced difference" meant in 1923 -- and remains in 2007.


D Strand said...

You are an amazing researcher. Maybe should research physics. The referral to us of "The Peoples' Stories of South Madison" is what I'm talking about. I followed up on your picture of 1954 co-captains and read Dr. Richard Harris' story. I think it's great. I got a different perspective of Madison in the 50's than I had.
It was interesting how Richard felt that blacks were the majority in Madison because he was so confined. Yes, our worlds were only a few blocks. My world didn't really expand geographically until I went into the Army in 1970. I also enjoyed Richard's remarks about Eddie Withers at the end. Ed must have really been a great man. I have a little more understanding now why Mr. Harris had so much respect for the entire Withers family. I don't know Richard Harris, a little before my time, I'm afraid, but nice job. And that goes double for you Nadine!!

Nadine said...

For those of you who may have missed some previous posts about members of the Withers family, click HERE to read the obituary for Edward Withers that's posted in the archives of obituaries for Central alumni published prior to 1990. There's also an excellent feature about Edward Withers on the official Badger Athletics web site. You may access it by clicking HERE .

david giffey said...

Among the reasons I published The Peoples' Stories of South Madison was a continuing need to learn about the rich cultural tradition of South Madison and its citizens. While it's now out of print, the book was widely circulated for free among community members, and is available in public and school libraries in Wisconsin, as well as on line. I use it when teaching journalism at The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County where the children in the class write stories published in the quarterly The Youth Journal, a reading and writing project now in its seventh year.

Thank you for noticing the content of The Peoples' Stories of South Madison. The title is a paraphrasing of historian Howard Zinn's invaluable work: The Peoples' History of the United States.

David Giffey