County Fair Time, circa 1940s

This time of year is what families in rural America refer to as “county fair time” – when the long tradition of exhibiting livestock at fairs is matched with carnival rides and delicious treats like lemon shake-ups, elephant ears, and tenderloin sandwiches. It is fitting therefore that while assisting a researcher, I came across these interesting photographs of what is noted as “the first dairy cattle show held for Negroes in the Tennessee Valley.”
 

The photographs were originally part of a mid-1940s scrapbook labeled “The Picture Story of Trinity School ,” which is located in the American Missionary Association Archives Addenda. Trinity was founded in Athens, Alabama, after the Civil War by the Western Freedman’s Aid Commission, but later gained sponsorship by the American Missionary Association (AMA).  Begun as a co-educational primary and normal school, Trinity dropped its first six grades when Athens opened a public elementary school for African Americans.  Later the AMA transferred the normal school to the state of Alabama. The photographs shown here were likely taken in the Athens area.

In honor of the accomplishments of these youth back in the 1940s, we highlight these photographs and are reminded that the struggle for equal opportunities occurred on many levels, from national politics to the local county fair.

The Trinity School delegation comprised more than half of the youths attending the dairy competiton.

The Trinity School delegation comprised more than half of the youths attending the dairy competition.

The Grand Champion of the show.

The Grand Champion of the show.

The Yearling Division Champion.

The Yearling Division Champion.

One of the six girls who entered calves in the dairy show. She was the only prize winner among the girls.

One of the six girls who entered calves in the dairy show. She was the only prize winner among the girls.

Posted by Christopher Harter

(Images from the American Missionary Association Archives Addenda. May not be reproduced without permission.)

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