Author Archives: Doug Cumming

About Doug Cumming

journalism professor at W&L

Plague Notes

There’s a new kind of balance now between the local and the not-local. Global news is of dread interest to all, reliable and scary – “cases near 2 million” – but we are just as interested in what’s happening on … Continue reading

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On Atlanta’s northern border

[Published in website “Like the Dew,” October 6, 2019.] Fifty years after my graduation from North Fulton High School, the pages of my 1969 “Hi-Ways” yearbook fill gaps in my mind better than any real memories. I look at my … Continue reading

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The Arrival of Father Tuck

[This is a slightly edited draft of a profile I wrote for our local weekly, The News-Gazette, twice as long as the one I ended up sending to be published on Dec. 4, 2019.] The Rev. Ellis Tucker “Tuck” Bowerfind, … Continue reading

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Five Lessons & Carols for Southern Liberals

(This essay first ran in the website “Like the Dew: A Progressive Journal of Southern Culture & Politics,” Dec. 8, 2019) The word has gone forth. Our historic Episcopal church has done what many thought was impossible – we got … Continue reading

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Down to the entryway of higher education

For millions of Americans, community college is the gateway to higher education, job skills and a better life. Last fall, for me, community college was a gateway in the other direction. It led me, temporarily, out of the bubble of … Continue reading

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Michael Cohen’s Lesson

They’re cheering Trump in Atlanta, cheering him in Monroe, La. This is the world of TV that Neil Postman warned about in Amusing Ourselves to Death, now taken over the whole American brain and nervous system, our national politics. The … Continue reading

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Review of ‘Deep South Dispatches’

Herbers, John N., with Anne Farris Rosen. Deep South Dispatch: Memoir of a Civil Rights Journalist.Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2018. 260 pp. $28. Look up John N. Herbers’s byline in the New York Times Historical database and you find … Continue reading

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Glimpses of Buckhead, 1930-40

Something I learned about the cultural and economic life in parts of north Atlanta in the 1930s and ‘40s, from online U.S. Census data. I looked up a 1930 page that includes my uncle John Kiser, when he was 2 … Continue reading

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The Mist of History

Living in Rockbridge County, I’ve learned to accept the idea that there are three distinct kinds of “history.” First, there’s the history of historians, the gentle “arguments” of history professors in the three colleges rooted hereabouts and in the lectures … Continue reading

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Shade for sale?

We worked in the lower pasture getting fence posts and yellow jacket stings (two, that is, for me), then met William in Dobson at the Mexican restaurant called Tlaquepaque. It’s bleakly set between the highway and that giant chicken processing … Continue reading

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