BY MICHAEL KEATING
Originally the bucolic hunting grounds of the Cherokee, South
Carolina’s Upcountry was dominated in the early twentieth
century by the cotton mills that emerged as engines of
a revitalized South. And Greenville—midway between
Atlanta and Charlotte—became a mill capital surrounded
by mill towns.
Life in the mill towns was tough and the work hard. The
towns were usually built by and for the owners, who provided
factory churches and factory stores, often with factory scrip.
But in the cool of the evening families gathered to watch
the men play baseball: The Textile Leagues were born.
At Brandon Mills, 13-year-old factory worker Joe Jackson
had already earned a reputation. The eldest of eight children,
he worked by day at his father’s side. In the evening,
he was on the baseball field.
He was a phenomenon. He first played in the Textile League
and then in the minor leagues for the Greenville Spinners.
More and more people came out to see him. He was a natural—beautiful
and graceful on the diamond. His home runs were known as “Saturday
specials”; his line drives, “blue darters”;
his glove, “the place where triples go to die.”
complete article ]
BY RONALD SPECTOR
Adapted from In The Ruins of Empire By Ronald Spector
Copyright ©2007 by Ronald Spector
Published by arrangement with Random House,
An imprint of Random House Publishing Group, a division
of Random House, Inc.
On September 2, 1945, ten days after Gen. MacArthur received
the Japanese surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, thereby
ending World War II, a squadron of Royal Air Force transport
planes landed at Tan Son Nhut airport outside Saigon carrying
the first of the British occupation forces: a battalion of
the 20th Indian Division under Maj. Gen. Douglas Gracey.
Crowds of French and Vietnamese cheered the arrival of each
plane. Still others lined the road waving Union Jacks as
the troops were driven into the city in Japanese trucks.
Meanwhile, another occupation army moved into Hanoi: Chinese
troops from Yunnan under the command of Lt. Gen. Lu Han. “All
day and all night the troops kept pouring into the city,” one
Vietnamese recalled. “They shocked everyone, including
the local Chinese community which had organized a formal
welcoming ceremony.... The troops wore shoes of woven straw,
cloth, or rubber cut out from tires or even went barefoot.
They had tattered uniforms and looked tired and thin. Each
unit was accompanied by cooks laden with pots and pans, making
Striking as they were, the differences between the two armies
paled beside the far-reaching results of their very different
BY BOB HOPKINS
“I feel like Lady Macbeth. I’m
never going to get the blood of Vietnam off my hands.”
–Joan Furey, U.S. Army Nurse, Vietnam, 1969 “What do yous think
they’ll axe me?”
Ernie Diorio was a little nervous. There was no mistaking
where he’d been born and bred. His Brooklynese was
a dead giveaway. Although he’d moved to Jersey many
years ago, he retained the uniqueness that identified him
as a son of Bushwick, then Fort Greene.
Diorio, accompanied by Paul Bausch and myself, was driving
to the Brooklyn Historical Society on a crisp late February
morning to look at—and in Diorio’s case, participate
in—In Our Own Words: Portraits of Brooklyn’s
Vietnam Veterans, the premiere exhibit of the new Oral History
The project is a collaboration between Phil Napoli, an assistant
professor of U.S. social and public history at Brooklyn College,
and the Brooklyn Historical Society. A meeting in 2006 between
Napoli and Deborah Schwartz, the president of the Society,
led to brainstorming sessions that culminated in the exhibit.