Resting Respect: Paying Visits to Some of the South’s Most Influential Figures

Perhaps you were watching my travels throughout this great State of Alabama this weekend on Facebook.

You may wonder what I was doing, you may also wonder what made me pay visits to the many statues and gravesites in multiple cities.

Well, since sports have been basically nonexistent since mid-March, I have come across a newfangled hobby, touring cemeteries; both virtually and physically to pay respects to those that are no longer here in bodily form, but rather in the presence of God.

On Saturday, I visited a statue dedicated to the memory of Booker T. Washington, a mid-19th-century and early-20th-century social reformer, who believed in hard work, and self-education.

On Sunday, Dad and I took a family friend with us to Mobile, Alabama, to visit multiple cemeteries with several early-Mobile notable figures.

Our first visit Sunday, was to the notoriously haunted, Church Street Graveyard, where the man who created a Mardi Gras Revival in 1866 and 1867, is buried.

Perhaps you’ve heard of him, Joseph Stillwell “Joe” Cain Jr. while in Church Street Graveyard, we saw the famous Boyington Oak that stands just outside the Northwest corner of the 19th-century New England churchyard-style cemetery atop the grave of Charles Robert Stuart Boyington, a mid-17th-century printer and gambler, whom moved to Mobile in search of a better life than the one he had experienced in his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut.

Mr. Boyington, allegedly had become friends with Nathaniel Frost, whom owed him money from one of their poker games but refused to give Boyington the money.

As a result, Mr. Frost would be stabbed, robbed, and left for dead inside of the Church Street Graveyard.

Mr. Boyington would be framed as the suspect, taken into custody, and hanged in 1835. According to legend, his last words, as his feet dangled from a tree at Oakleigh, which is now historic landmark, were “A tree will grow from my heart to prove my innocence.”

After our stop to visit Alabama’s third-most haunted burial ground, the three of us made our way to the 120-acre Magnolia Cemetery just down the road, to pay respects to Confederate States Army General Braxton Bragg, whom I claim is my namesake. We also saw numerous graves of confederate soldiers.

Next, we travelled to the 19th-century, Saluda Hill Cemetery, in Spanish Fort, Alabama, to visit the grave of Zachariah Godbold, the only known Revolutionary War veteran buried in Baldwin County, Alabama.

Moral of the story, pay respects to those that came before anyway you can, you never know what you’ll run across in the process.

Church Street Graveyard sign.
Joe Cain grave, Church Street Graveyard.
Joe Cain and I in Church Street Graveyard.
The haunted Boyington Oak, Church Street Graveyard.
Confederate Monument, Magnolia Cemetery.
General Braxton Bragg and I.
Our Confederate Dead, Magnolia Cemetery
Zachariah Godbold, Revolutionary War veteran, Saluda Hill Cemetery, Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Booker T. Washington statue, Tuskegee University.

Happy 86th Birthday to the Real Home Run King

Hank Aaron the former Milwaukee Brave and Atlanta Brave, was born on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama.

Henry Louis ‘Hank’ Aaron, later known as ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ wasn’t born into wealth. In fact, in a podcast that I listened to recently, Aaron stated, “My parents couldn’t afford to buy a bat, they couldn’t afford to buy a ball. And so, actually, we did everything we could in order to pretend like we were playing baseball.”

Aaron stated that he and his brothers would go out into the yard with rags that were rolled up tight and throw them to each other while using a broomstick as a bat.

They would do the same with coke bottle caps.

Mobile, Alabama wasn’t the safest of places in the 1940s when Hank was growing up. In fact, according to Aaron, there were no roads, nothing but little farm roads’ he explained.

Mobile wasn’t nearly as big as it is today back when little Henry Aaron was growing up just outside of Mobile.

Even though, he grew up just a few miles outside of Mobile, he still claims Mobile, Alabama as his hometown.

Hank Aaron stated in the podcast that “Actually, I heard about it, from sleeping in the bed at night, because the Mobile Bears were farm club of the Brooklyn Dodgers, in Mobile.”

Aaron continued “I could hear the game on the radio next door, because a friend of mine would have his radio tuned to the Mobile Bears. You know I didn’t have enough money to go to game so I just listened to it.”

Little did he know at the time, that he would one day be considered one of the greatest home run hitters of all-time.

As Hank’s career was beginning, his hero, Jackie Robinson’s career was winding down.

But luckily for Hank, he was able to play against Jackie Robinson on multiple occasions.

Aaron, once a little kid from a poor family in 1940s Mobile, Alabama, became Major League Baseball’s all-time home run record holder on April 8, 1974 at the age of 40-years-old.

That day, Hank passed George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth’s record of 714, when he sent career home run 715 over the left-center field wall.

Aaron would end his career with 755 home runs. He would hold onto the home run crown until 2007, when Barry Bonds passed him by hitting his 756th home run.

That, of course, was with the help of PEDs, so in my mind, Hank Aaron is still the greatest home run hitter of all-time.

Today, Hammerin’ Hank Aaron still serves with the Atlanta Braves as the team’s Senior Vice President. Happy 86th Birthday, Hank, we love you.

Picture: (baseballhall.org)

Discussing Classification and Region Alignments in the AHSAA

It’s here, finally after eight months of waiting, the pads start popping tonight. Some schools started Thursday, but the majority across the State of Alabama will kick off their seasons tonight. Now, it’s time to discuss the confusing topic of the AHSAA alignment of 7A. This morning, at breakfast, I was asked which teams occupy the 7A classification, so I will list all 7A schools and regions along with all 6A schools and regions.

7A, Region 1:

Alma Bryant (Mobile)

Baker (Mobile)

Davidson (Mobile)

Fairhope

Foley

Mary Montgomery (Mobile)

McGill-Toolen (Mobile)

Murphy (Mobile)

Theodore.

7A Region 2:

Auburn High

Central-Phenix City

Enterprise

Jeff Davis (Montgomery)

Robert E. Lee (Montgomery)

Prattville

Smiths Station.

7A Region 3:

Hewitt-Trussville

Hoover

Mountain Brook (Birmingham)

Oak Mountain (Birmingham)

Spain Park (Birmingham)

Thompson (Alabaster)

Tuscaloosa County

Vestavia Hills.

7A Region 4:

Austin

Bob Jones

Florence

Gadsden City

Grissom

Huntsville High

James Clemens

Sparkman.

Now, it’s time to breakdown Class 6A.

6A Region 1:

B.C. Rain (Mobile)

Baldwin County

Blount (Mobile)

Daphne

Gulf Shores

Robertsdale

Saraland

Spanish Fort

St. Pauls.

6A Region 2:

Carver-Montgomery

Dothan High (Dothan-Northview merged)

Eufaula

Park Crossing (Montgomery)

Russell County

Sidney Lanier (Montgomery).

6A Region 3:

Benjamin Russell (Alexander City)

Calera

Opelika

Selma

Stanhope Elmore (Millbrook)

Wetumpka.

Class 6A Region 4:

Bessemer City

Brookwood

Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa

Hueytown

McAdory (McCalla)

Northridge

Paul Bryant.

6A Region 5:

Carver-Birmingham

Chelsea

Helena

Homewood

Jackson-Olin

Minor

Pelham.

6A Region 6:

Clay-Chalkville

Gardendale

Huffman

Oxford

Pell City

Pinson Valley

Shades Valley.

6A Region 7:

Athens

Columbia

Cullman

Decatur

Hartselle

Muscle Shoals.

6A Region 8:

Albertville

Buckhorn

Fort Payne

Hazel Green

Lee-Huntsville

Mae Jemison.

If you need a refresher, feel free to take a glance back at this piece and remind yourself who your region consists of. Here’s to another great year of high school football in Alabama!