Byrd M Williams Iv (10)
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Photographs

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

WALKING INTO THIS ARCHIVE is to walk among the dead. Many I knew and many I am just getting to know through their words and faces, but now I am one of the last remaining survivors in this Borgesian library of images. It was fiendishly comical when I noticed the irony of what has taken place: Middle class transubstantiation. Instead of bread and wine turning into the body and blood of Christ, four generations of my forebears’ bodies and blood have turned into paper and silver.

For me, photography is about death. It didn't used to be, but I'm sixty-four and everybody in the room is dead and I can't remember why I was so obsessed with saving their lives in two-dimensional facsimile. Perhaps all these years I have been trying to nail down what Ian McEwen refers to as our brief spark of consciousness.

It was never about the money; I could have done better mowing lawns. There was always this urgency about it: save all historic buildings, remember all the faces, stand on all the street corners, save everybody's toilet, share my experience with posterity, I was alive goddammit.

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Non-People

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

Ancient Egyptian bar vs. modern French Bar

I LOVE THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE ENCLOSURES that humans occupy. The places where they sleep, eat, and work say more about humanity than a facial portrait can. For decades I have found comfort in mapping these interior spaces for commissions and curiosity. The preponderance of this large body of work is mostly personal images that are less art than artifact. More like utilitarian stamp collecting.

I started photographing my grade school friends’ rooms in the 1950s, and this subject matter is still my main work today. All three of my photographic ancestors made time exposures of the rooms and spaces they encountered, one of the first being a hardware store in Gainesville, Texas, in the late 1880s.

Sometimes there are people in them, both blurry and sharp, and sometimes they are devoid of life. I tend to like the lifeless ones best because then the room gets to speak for itself. These enclosures often live longer than the people who worked and lived in them and sometimes the photographs live longer than either, as stated by art critic Janet Tyson:

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People

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

Title page to Byrd III photograph album

THE FACES THAT INHABIT ONE'S LIFE are also connected to a mutually shared experience, whether it is an insider that occupies the fabric of your reality or a transient in and out of your orbit like a waiter in a restaurant, never to be seen again.

All of the Byrd Williamses made portraits for a variety of reasons. Sometimes as a hired hand for vanity, sometimes for editorial information, but much of the time it was for nothing. For lack of a better term, it was for art.

Shortly after arriving in Gainesville, Texas, my great-grandfather set about photographing people he encountered. An untrained but enthusiastic amateur, his work included carefully executed records of local acquaintances, an endeavor common to the new “roll film” era photography was entering.

By 1885, Granddad had taken up the hobby and was encouraged by earning extra money shooting portraits of locals across the range of hamlets between Fort Worth and the Red River. Small communities within wagon distance of Gainesville that featured churches and the occasional town square such as Myra, Era, Muenster, Henrietta, Sanger, Bowie, and Whitesboro. Wherever he lived, my grandfather continued making two-dimensional replicas of people's faces for the rest of his life.

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The Family Album

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

WALKING INTO THIS ARCHIVE is to walk among the dead. Many I knew and many I am just getting to know through their words and faces, but now I am one of the last remaining survivors in this Borgesian library of images. It was fiendishly comical when I noticed the irony of what has taken place: Middle class transubstantiation. Instead of bread and wine turning into the body and blood of Christ, four generations of my forebears’ bodies and blood have turned into paper and silver.

For me, photography is about death. It didn't used to be, but I'm sixty-four and everybody in the room is dead and I can't remember why I was so obsessed with saving their lives in two-dimensional facsimile. Perhaps all these years I have been trying to nail down what Ian McEwen refers to as our brief spark of consciousness.

It was never about the money; I could have done better mowing lawns. There was always this urgency about it: save all historic buildings, remember all the faces, stand on all the street corners, save everybody's toilet, share my experience with posterity, I was alive goddammit.

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Postcard

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

BYRD WILLIAMS SENIOR, A TENNESSEAN ENTREPRENEUR, sold his hardware store in 1880 and moved to Texas for a new economic start. Byrd purchased a small farm and then promptly opened a hardware/dry goods/general store on the south side of the square in Gainesville, Texas, where he hawked a wide variety of products including photographic items. He began to shoot his own photographs, printing them on the new Kodak postcard stock and offering them for sell on his counter top: The BYRD photography endeavor started here.

Byrd's vendor franchises supplied him with all the latest in darkroom paraphernalia, viewing devices, and archiving materials such as fancy family photo albums. By the time the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago rolled around in 1893 the hobby of postcard collecting was in full tilt. Around this time, the US government lowered the postage rate on cards to a penny. The “craze” became an industry.

Small towns could not, for economic reasons, attract the large-scale publishing companies that might invest in “Eiffel Tower-type” tourist postcards. The equipment and materials were available to produce small runs of local interest postcards, so Byrd and his sons began to roam the state in search of regional tourist attractions.

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Henry Plummer (5)
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4: Equality ~ Shared Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

4

EQUALITY ~ SHARED LIGHT

Transom over Dining Room Doors Church Family Dwelling House Hancock, Massachusetts

TRANSOM WINDOW

Transom windows, frequently placed by Shakers above inner as well as outer doors, provide a means to increase the light shared between neighboring rooms, and maintain this flow even when doors are fully closed. Interior transoms are typically set over doors connecting dark corridors and well-lit perimeter rooms, and take shapes ranging from multi-paned rectangles to arched or semicircular fanlights.

Fanlight between Kitchen and Dining Room Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Arched Transom over Infirmary Door Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

INTERIOR WINDOW

The stretching of light, and the open feeling, afforded by an interior window are especially impressive when able to transform an utterly mundane space, such as a back stair or closet. An ingenious device to siphon daylight deeply into a building, this glazed opening serves also to share illumination between rooms demanding acoustic separation, so as to spread light in a peaceful way, free of disrupting noise.

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5: Time ~ Cyclic Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

5

TIME ~ CYCLIC LIGHT

Ministry Hall Meetinghouse Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

SHADOW PLAY ON LIMESTONE

Pleasant Hill's limestone dwellings are extremely responsive to shifting skies. Displayed upon their white volumes are all of the sun's refracted colors, including faint hues often missed by the human eye. With its walls aligned to the cardinal points, each building behaves as a gnomon, registering and showing the flow of shade from plane to plane, as well as at the microscale of masonry texture, produced on the Center dwelling by raised white mortar.

Grazing Sun on East Façade at Noon Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

View from Southeast at Dawn Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

SPECTRAL COLORS

The absolute white of a Shaker meetinghouse, as prescribed by the Millennial Laws, gave each village a spiritual center of maximum purity and radiance. But maximized also on the plain and highly reflective clapboards was a visibility of each passing moment, and each new emanation of sun. Melting the sky into walls are delicate tones of colored light, ranging from the soft grays of overcast weather and starched whites of clear days, to the transparent yellows and violets arriving early and late, and deeper blues and oranges of twilight.

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1: Simplicity ~ Pristine Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

1

SIMPLICITY ~ PRISTINE LIGHT

White-Painted Woodwork Meetinghouse (1820) Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

MONOTONE MASS

The radical simplification produced by a single exterior color, characteristic of Shaker architecture, serves to unite each form, while accentuating the play of light over a surface, enveloping the whole in a subdued atmosphere. These monochromatic effects, free of either visual friction or excitement, range from the absolute purity of a white meetinghouse, to the monotone crust of stone or brick around a dwelling, or continuous coat of yellow paint on a workshop.

White Limestone Façade First West Family Dwelling (1811–12) Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Yellow-Painted Volume Brethren's Shop (1810) Hancock, Massachusetts

PURE WHITE CAVITY

A spotless surface of smooth plaster and white paint serves to purify Shaker space. This image of perfection reveals the slightest sign of dirt, is devoid, one might even say absolved, of darkness, and is inherently ethereal, reduced to nothing but sheer light.

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2: Order ~ Focused Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

2

ORDER ~ FOCUSED LIGHT

Window above Stair to Roof Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

MESMERIZING WINDOW

The Shaker striving for order and calm gave a prominent visual role to the window, which often appears as the seminal force around which a room is developed. This centering power is magnified by simple geometry, symmetric placement, empty walls, and a halo-like frame, which are all further strengthened by a radiating pattern of light from a still source.

Ministry Hall Meetinghouse (1794) Sabbathday Lake, Maine

Window Triptych Center Family Dwelling House (1822–33) South Union, Kentucky

Window Diptych Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Meetingroom Church Family Dwelling House Hancock, Massachusetts

INCANTATION

The repetition of standardized elements in Shaker architecture served basic needs of economy and order, while ensuring anonymity and plainness, but also gave to every room a calming rhythm that served the spirit. This reverberation, suggestive of the rise and fall of a fugue or chant, is especially pronounced in the Shaker meetinghouse, whose windows shed a mesmerizing pulse of energy. Alternating rays of light echo into broad stripes of white plaster, divided by lines of blue paint on wooden beams, knee braces, and peg rails. As a result, tremulous patterns of light and dark envelop the entire worship space, and its sacred dance, in a visual incantation, whose simple waves could instantly soothe mind and soul, and invoke a faintly mystical spell.

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3: Luminosity ~ Inner Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

3

LUMINOSITY ~ INNER LIGHT

Corner of Attic Center Family Dwelling House South Union, Kentucky

MAXIMUM FENESTRATION

In their efforts to squeeze as much daylight as possible into buildings, Shakers pierced the outer walls with closely spaced windows, allowing illumination to stream in from every side. As the most sacred place in the Shaker settlement, and the nearest thing to heaven on earth, the meetinghouse was made especially airy and bright by a continuous band of repeating windows. But rendered almost as porous, and at times cathedral-like, were utilitarian buildings such as laundries and machine shops, tanneries and poultry houses, mills and barns.

Circles of Windows on Tree Different Levels Round Barn (1826, rebuilt 1865) Hancock, Massachusetts

Meetingroom Windows Meetinghouse (1792–93, moved from Shirley to Hancock 1962) Hancock, Massachusetts

INTERIOR SHUTTERS

The internal shutters with which windows are equipped at Canterbury and Enfield permit a range of lighting adjustments. At Enfield's dwelling house, a four-shutter system allows each panel to be operated independently, or in combination with others, so that light can be regulated at will, like a camera aperture, according to weather, temperature, and human activity. When the shutters are opened, they fold back and disappear into window reveals.

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Ken W Kramer (13)
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Appendix Selected List of Conservation Organizations Interested in Texas Water Issues

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

The Bayou Preservation Association (BPA) is a citizens’ group whose mission is to “protect and restore the richness and diversity of our waterways.” BPA facilitates collaborative projects and public awareness about the region’s streams and bayous in order to foster watershed management, conservation, and recreation along Houston’s defining natural resource.

Website: www.bayoupreservation.org

Phone: 713-529-6443

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 131563

Houston, TX 77219-1563

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Texas is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of Texas’ marine resources. Founded more than a quarter of a century ago, CCA Texas (then GCCA) has been instrumental in banning gill nets in state waters, establishing redfish and speckled trout as gamefish, building two of the largest red drum hatcheries in the world, and working to ensure that adequate fresh water reaches Texas’ bays and estuaries.

Website: www.ccatexas.org

Phone: 713-626-4222 or 1-800-626-4222

Mailing Address:

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Leaving a Water Legacy for Texas

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ann Thomas Hamilton

THE color of the water was like fresh-brewed orange pekoe tea—clear dark amber. The river was originally named Lumbee, from an Indian word meaning “black water.” Upon submerging my wiry little white body into the slow-moving current, my skin instantly took on a brown tone—the same color as that of the Lumbee Indians who long ago inhabited North Carolina’s Inner Banks region. One of my fondest childhood memories was of swimming in the river with my sister and cousins during warm summer days when we visited our grandparents in Lumberton in eastern North Carolina. Lumberton, the town where my mother was born, was founded in 1789 and named after the river. I truly believe my love affair with the mystery of naturally flowing water came from those sublime summers in that river some sixty years ago.

Because Lumberton was near the Carolina coast, the family would also visit a beach near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the site of the first airplane flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright. Of course, this historic site did not mean much to a little girl who loved the water. I just leaped into the Atlantic Ocean with great abandon without any understanding that the water from the Lumber River on the Inner Banks permeated downstream through the rich coastal marshes and wetlands before becoming a part of this vast ocean on the Outer Banks. It was the crashing waves, the sand, the salt filling my nostrils, eyes, and mouth that captured me as I floated tirelessly day after day in the invigorating surf.

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Springing to Life Keeping the Waters Flowing

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Dianne Wassenich

SPRINGS seem miraculous to me. Water pouring from the ground! The sight of it reminds me of the nature books I read as a child, like Gene Stratton-Porter’s Freckles and A Girl of the Limberlost and the fairy tales that told of spring water having magical properties.

Go stand on the lowest porch of the Texas Rivers Center in San Marcos and look at one of the springs that feed the San Marcos River flowing into Spring Lake. It is a strong flow, strong enough to ripple the surface in a rainy year when water is plentiful. But even in the dry years, when the sight may be different, I’m drawn again and again to this deep blue spring. I think of the countless people who have admired the flowing water at this spot, one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in North America.

Central Texas can be dry, with predictable droughtlike stretches in summer for at least a few hot months. Though the archeological records include longer and far worse drought periods, the local yardstick remains the great drought of the 1950s, when nearby Comal Springs stopped flowing and San Marcos Springs slowed to a trickle.

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A Taste of the Marsh

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Susan Raleigh Kaderka

AS we walked down to the saltmarsh near the observation tower on Mad Island Marsh Preserve, Cathy Porter bent over and broke off a sprig of saltwort, a spiky succulent that grows in clumps by the water’s edge. “Taste it,” she said, offering me a piece and putting a bit into her own mouth. It was an idle gesture, something she’s probably done countless times leading groups of schoolchildren on tours of this 7,000-acre Nature Conservancy preserve. She had been naming off the various species of marsh vegetation for me—seablight, Gulf cordgrass, saltmarsh bulrush—and just come across one worth tasting.

True to its name, the plant tasted salty. As Porter no doubt points out to visiting students, it is well adapted to the conditions of the Texas Gulf Coast, thriving near salt water in a sandy soil. But as I chewed it, a different landscape suddenly came to mind. For a moment, I was back in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, where I lived up to the age of six.

Like most children growing up in the late 1950s, I spent almost all of my free time outdoors. This habit was not evidence of any special affinity for nature. It did not prefigure my later work in wildlife conservation. It was not unique to me at all; it was what everyone did. Childhood pretty much took place out of doors. If you were indoors, it meant it was raining, or nighttime, or, later, that you were in school. Even in winter we played outdoors, bundled up in hooded snowsuits, rubber boots, and mittens. Snapshots of my sister and me in the snowy field opposite our house show us smiling out at the camera from jackets so thick our arms stuck out from our sides. But unquestionably we were outside.

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Introduction The Living Waters of Texas

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ken Kramer

THE power of water. As I craft these words of introduction to The Living Waters of Texas, I am actually far away from the Lone Star State—on vacation enjoying the natural beauty of Jasper and Banff national parks in the Canadian Rockies, a land defined in many ways by the sheer physical power of water. Impressive glaciers, raging waterfalls, clear mountain streams, and beautiful lakes exist throughout this incredible land. To see how the glaciers have shaped the terrain and how roaring rivers have carved their way through the land, moving immense boulders along the way, produces a sense of awe at the amazing power of nature and the water features that are often its agents of change.

Water also has the power to give and sustain life—for fish and wildlife, for the organisms on which they feed, for plants, and for humans. Indeed the life of our planet could not exist without water.

Water has a power for human beings, however, that goes far beyond its physical force and its life-sustaining qualities. Water has the power to fascinate us, to excite and entertain us, to inflame our passions, and to inspire us to action. For many of us, myself included, there is no more intriguing topic than water. Indeed our efforts to describe it, manage it, protect it, enjoy it, and celebrate it have often defined our very lives.

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Malcolm L Fleming (19)
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11 Wartime Destruction

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

This greatest synthetic oil plant in Germany, the Leuna Werk, was bombed 22 times and was forced to cut its production to ¼ its capacity. This and other interesting facts I got from a French slave laborer who worked in the office of the plant and kept track of all the raids. He now is serving the American Military Govt in the city as an interpreter.

Near Merseburg, Ger—6 May ’45

On Nov. 2, 1944, during the 12th raid on this vital Leuna Werk, the B-17 that my friend, Bob Campbell, was piloting was hit by flak, set afire, and forced down.

Near Merseberg, Ger—6 May ’45

Huge statue of Emperor Ludwig, the Bavarian, stands serene in the desolate city center. 171 winding steps bring fools and photographers groping through pitch blackness up to the top of the 125 ft pedestal. See next photo.

Darmstadt, Ger—13 May ’45

Burned-out shells that once were the city’s important buildings. The Air Force must have had a grudge to settle here. All damage is said to have been caused by a single raid with incendiary bombs. View is from a statue-topped tower.

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2 Fast Evacuation of Wounded—An Experiment

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

An experiment in the rapid evacuation of wounded men by glider. A C-47 tows the glider in and drops it, later snatching it into the air again by means of the ground pickup loop shown here. This method is particularly fit for use near the front where landing fields large enough for the plane are not available. The glider can land and be picked up from a tiny strip suitable for the little L-4 liaison plane used by the Artillery.

Near Unkel, Ger—22 March ’45

The glider has been adapted to hold twelve stretcher patients and three attendants or walking patients. This glider was built as a cargo glider and used in airborne landing operations. It this time brought in bundles of medical supplies and will take out a full load of wounded.

The walking wounded on the right is a German. Men submitting to use in this experiment were either volunteer GIs or Germans, with or without their consent.

Near Unkel, Ger—22 March ’45

Hold your breath—the C-47 is swooping in to snatch that loop of nylon rope, a tricky job at 130 miles per hour. But he does it and the surprising part is that people in the glider feel only a sensation like that of a car starting with a fast pickup speed. Of course the rope had some elasticity, but the real reason for the non-jerk takeoff is a special cushioning mechanism in the C-47.

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14 German Village and Country Life

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Children wait for their daily measure of milk. The lady has a horse-drawn wagon which she stops at each street corner, ringing a bell to rouse the nearby housewives.

Gardelegen, Ger—23 May ’45

Little fellow makes his way to the Mulberg town bakery balancing on his head the pie his mother sent him with.

Near Gotha, Ger—9 June ’45

Farmhands are exceedingly scarce these days. Age is no exemption from manual labor. Youngsters usually come to the fields with their folks. Another way of thinking about this photo is as “War’s Residue, the Very Old and Very Young.”

Sangerhausen, Ger—11 May ’45

They couldn’t help giggling at the two American soldiers who stopped their Peep and walked clear out in the field just to take pictures of them. The youngest is ten, and they work about nine hours a day.

Near Gardelegen, Ger—29 May ’45

Husky and hard-working, but not eager to be photographed in such a role. The German people are surprisingly alert to the propaganda possibilities of pictures and hence object to posing for any that might show them in an unfavorable light, not so much as individuals, but as representative Germans.

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7 Russians in East Germany Part I—Linkup at the Elbe River

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

The scene of the historic linkup. A confab and party for the respective army generals, Russian and US, is going on in a building hidden by those trees across the Elbe, but after rushing 150 miles to get there Kitzero and I were not allowed to cross, being too late to go with the other newsmen who were all carefully counted by the Russians as they crossed over and later as they returned. Our “Eisenhower Passes” didn’t cut much ice with the Russians. They, incidentally, had uninhibited access to our side.

Torgau, Ger—30 April ’45

Four Russian soldiers pose with a couple of GIs in front of the 69th Inf Div’s famous sign at the Elbe R. linkup point.

Torgau, Ger—30 April ’45

Kitzero took this pic of me. The Girl and the sign were the favorite props of all GI photo fans there. She’d been in the Red Army since Stalingrad, where all her folks were killed or captured. She is a sniper and is said to have liquidated 120 Germans. This was a personal fight to her and to most Red soldiers.

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9 Gardelegen Atrocity

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

On the day before US Forces took Gardelegen, over a thousand slave laborers were burned and shot to death here. They were herded into a barn, the floor of which was covered with gasoline-soaked straw. A grinning 16 yr. old SS boy struck the match. Victims who tried to smother the flames or escape the barn were shot—machine guns being emplaced around the building. About one in twenty was identified as Jewish.

Near Gardelegen, Ger—20 May ’45

Mayors were brought from all the towns in Gardelegen County, made to view the 300 charred bodies and the makeshift grave for the other 700. All able-bodied males in the city of Gardelegen were forced to exhume the bodies in mass graves and bury all in individual plots with white crosses.

Near Gardelegen, Ger—20 May ’45

Sign marking the cemetery entrance. As it implies, each grave has a Gardelegen family charged with keeping it forever beautiful. As we were leaving this area on May 30 the British, who had taken over, saw to it that flowers were placed on each grave.

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Photographs By Tammy Cromer Campbell Essays By Phyllis Glazer Roy Flukinger Eugene Hargrove And Marvin Legator (5)
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Fruit of the Orchard

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

Fruit of the Orchard tammy cromer-campbell

Tammy Cromer-Campbell

I begin this story with a profound dream that changed my life. In 1993, I dreamed I was protesting with a group of courageous people from Winona, Texas, in a grassy field.

Background

Winona is a rural Texas community of 500 people living downwind of a toxic-waste injectionwell facility built in 1982. Photographs of these residents reveal the tragic results many believe are associated with toxic emissions and contaminants from the American Ecology

Environmental Services toxic-waste facility (formerly known as Gibraltar). The community was originally told that Gibraltar would install a salt-water injection-well facility and plant fruit orchards on the remaining land. Instead, trucks and trains from all over the U.S. and

Mexico came to Winona to dump toxic waste into the open-ended wells. No fruit orchards were ever planted. It was not until 1992, when the residents began to fear the long-term effects of the various emissions and odors emanating from the facility, that Phyllis Glazer formed Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins (moses). In March 1997, the facility announced its shutdown, citing continued opposition by moses as the reason.

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Plates

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781574412154

A Tear in the Lens

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

A Tear in the Lens

Roy Flukinger

Sometimes the well dent is visible, where once a spring oozed; now dry and tearless grass; or it was covered deep, not to be discovered till some late day, with a flat stone under the sod, when the last of the race departed. What a sorrowful act must that be, the covering up of wells! coincident with the opening of wells of tears. These cellar dents, like deserted fox burrows, old holes, are all that is left where once were the stir and bristle of human life … henry david thoreau, Walden

The great educator Robert Coles was once showing the work of a number of Farm Security

Administration photographers—those lean and rich documents of America in the 1930s—to some young students. One student in particular, Lawrence Jefferson, was drawn to the work of Marion Post Wolcott—one of the less well-known but perhaps the most ethically committed of all these federal photographers. Coles was curious to know why and Jefferson had a succinct but telling response: “She’s more upset with what’s wrong than anyone else.”

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Toxicological Myths

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

Toxicological Myths

Dr. Marvin Legator

In the never-ending battle to clean up our environment and make our world safer for humanity, individuals and organizations that profit from polluting the environment have developed a series of scenarios to obfuscate the human effects of exposure to toxic substances. The underlying assumption of toxic waste facilities, and frequently state and federal agencies, is that they know more about the technical aspects of toxicology than the victims of chemical exposure. This arrogance is often manifested in the unnecessary use of technical jargon and misleading or confusing factual information. Informed residents who are knowledgeable as to the adverse health effects of chemical exposure have repeatedly challenged the toxic waste facilities and frequently persevered in obtaining necessary remedial action. The informed citizens of Winona, Texas, are outstanding examples of how to fight for environmental justice and challenge the questionable assertions of the toxic waste facility as well as state and federal agencies. In 1997, moses (Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins), under the leadership of one of our present-day environmental heroines, Phyllis Glazer, was instrumental in shutting down the major polluting facility in the community of Winona.

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Preventing Future Winonas

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

Preventing Future Winonas

Dr. Eugene Hargrove

The Limits of Environmental Justice in the United States

Concerns about environmental justice and environmental racism are usually focused on large population centers, and more specifically on the poor urban neighborhoods in which the majority of the residents are minorities, usually black or Hispanic. The Environmental

Protection Agency is currently looking into ways to deal with these environmental justice issues, focusing on the identification of problem areas. In these surveys, industrialized sites in urban areas stand out starkly in comparison with rural areas. Sadly, small towns do not end up even as a blip on the radar scope in these surveys. Moreover, given that the epa efforts are underfunded, the agency has no significant resources to devote to places like Winona.

Overcoming the Burden of Proof: Proving Harm

Once damage has occurred, the only course of action is usually legal, either to try to stop the pollution if it is ongoing or to seek compensation. Winning, however, is difficult because it is hard to demonstrate a causal connection between the actions of the alleged polluters and the alleged damage to human health, property, and the environment. Consider smoking and lung cancer. Smoking is a necessary, but not a sufficient, cause of lung cancer. It is a necessary cause because most people who have lung cancer also turn out to be smokers. It is not a sufficient cause, however, because there are also many people who smoke all of their lives without getting cancer. As a result, it is easier to explain the cause of lung cancer after someone has it than to predict that any particular person will get it. The case for smoking as a cause of lung cancer, nevertheless, is very strong because over many decades in the twentieth century statistics became available showing that most people who developed lung cancer also smoked. These kinds of statistics, however, are generally not available in air and water pollution cases. Usually there is not a single contaminant involved, but rather a mix of contaminants, and the mix of contaminants may vary from site to site.

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