First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.
Dan – The run continues, as I landed in the good ol’ US Southeast once again. After VA and NC comes a record low Score thanks to . . . MS; 26/28; 6/10; 3; 154.7. Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Kosciusko (pronounced Kah-zee-ESS-ko):
Here’s a broader view:
For the fourth time, I landed in the Pearl R watershed, on to the G of M. More locally, I landed in the Cobbs Ck watershed, on to a stream with a strange name – Lobutcha Ck.
Here’s a shot of 1979 flood damage caused by Lobutcha Ck. I’m glad somebody noticed that this bridge was in trouble . . .
So, on to Kosciusko (remember, Kah-zee-ESS-ko). From Wiki:
Kosciusko is a city in Attala County, Mississippi. The population was 7,372 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Attala County.
Kosciusko is named for the Polish general Tadeusz Kościuszko, who assisted United States military efforts during the American Revolution. Kosciusko was originally named Red Bud Springs for one of three natural springs that were present in the city.
Kosciusko is the birthplace for several notable people, including James Meredith and Oprah Winfrey. I think I’ll just highlight a little of Oprah’s early days in Kosciusko. I didn’t know anything about her early history, so I found this very interesting. From Wiki:
Though there are conflicting reports as to how her name became “Oprah”, Winfrey was originally named Orpah after the Biblical character in the Book of Ruth. In an interview, Winfrey claimed that her family and friends’ inability to pronounce “Orpah” caused them to put the “P” before the “R” in every place else other than the birth certificate. However, there is the account that the midwife transposed letters while filling out the newborn’s birth certificate.
Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi to unmarried parents. She later explained that her conception was due to a single sexual encounter that her two teenage parents had; they quickly broke up not long after. Her mother, Vernita Lee, was a housemaid, and her father, Vernon Winfrey, was a coal miner and later worked as a barber before becoming a city councilman. Winfrey’s father was in the Armed Forces when she was born.
After her birth, Winfrey’s mother traveled north and Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, for which the local children made fun of her. Her grandmother taught her to read before the age of three and took her to the local church, where she was nicknamed “The Preacher” for her ability to recite Bible verses. When Winfrey was a child, her grandmother would take a switch and would hit her with it when she didn’t do chores or if she misbehaved in any way.
At age six, Winfrey moved to an inner-city neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her mother, who was less supportive and encouraging than her grandmother had been, due in large part to the long hours Vernita Lee worked as a maid. Winfrey has stated that she was molested by her cousin, her uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first revealed to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show, when sexual abuse was being discussed.
Despite her dysfunctional home life, Winfrey skipped two of her earliest grades, became the teacher’s pet, and by the time she was 13 received a scholarship to attend Nicolet High School in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, Wisconsin, but she ran away from home, became pregnant (her son died shortly after birth) and then her mother sent her to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee.
Vernon was strict, but encouraging and made her education a priority. Winfrey became an honors student, was voted Most Popular Girl, joined her high school speech team at East Nashville High School, and placed second in the nation in dramatic interpretation. She won an oratory contest, which secured her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a historically black institution, where she studied communication. At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. She also attracted the attention of the local black radio station, WVOL, which hired her to do the news part-time. She worked there during her senior year of high school, and again while in her first two years of college.
Working in local media, she was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV.
And the rest is history . . .
James Meredith was also from Kosciusko. From Wiki:
Meredith was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. He enlisted in the United States Air Force right out of high school and served from 1951 to 1960. He then attended Jackson State College for two years. He applied to the University of Mississippi, but was denied twice.
On October 1, 1962, he became the first black student at the University of Mississippi, after being barred from entering on September 20. His enrollment, virulently opposed by segregationist Governor Ross Barnett, sparked riots on the Oxford campus, which required federal troops and U.S. Marshals, who were sent by President John F. Kennedy. The riots led to a violent clash which left two people dead. Bob Dylan sang about the incident in his song Oxford Town. Meredith’s actions are regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights in the United States. He graduated on August 18, 1963 with a degree in political science.
Here’s a picture of Meredith being escorted on his first day of classes at the University of Mississippi:
Many students harassed Meredith during his two semesters on campus. Though the majority of students accepted Meredith’s presence, according to first person accounts chronicled in Nadine Cohodas’s book The Band Played Dixie, students living in Meredith’s dorm bounced basketballs on the floor just above his room through all hours of the night. When Meredith walked into the cafeteria for meals, the students eating would all turn their backs. If Meredith sat at a table with other students, all of whom were white, the students would immediately get up and go to another table.
He led a civil rights march, the March Against Fear from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi in 1966 and was wounded by sniper Aubrey James Norvell on June 6. This photograph of Meredith after being shot won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in 1967.
A novice photographer for AP, Jim Thornell was on the scene for the voter registration march and he took two rolls of pictures. Minutes passed before an ambulance reached Meredith, who lay in the road alone, shouting “Isn’t anyone going to help me?” The photo (and the event itself) was a flash point in the American civil rights movement. It united and galvanized the scattered civil rights movement.
So, what about Kosciusko himself? Well, he was quite the dandy:
Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko was a Polish military leader. He is a national hero in Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, and the United States. He led the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising against Imperial Russia and Kingdom of Prussia as Supreme Commander of the National Polish Armed Force. Prior to commanding the 1794 Uprising, he had fought in the American Revolutionary War as a colonel in the Continental Army.
As a national hero in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the United States, Kościuszko has given his name to many places around the world.
Feel free to skim the following paragraphs. You’ll get the idea . . .
He has given his name to Kosciusko, Mississippi and Kosciusko, Texas; Kosciusko County, Indiana; Kosciusko Island in Alaska; New York State has two Kosciuszko Bridges (one upstate and one between Brooklyn & Queens); a street in Queens, Kosciuszko Street (BMT Jamaica Line); the Kosciuszko Bridge that crosses the Naugatuck River in Naugatuck, Connecticut; Kosciuszko Street in Brooklyn, New York; Kosciuszko Street in Manchester, New Hampshire; Kosciuszko Street in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania; Kosciuszko Way in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Kosciuszko Park in Stamford, Connecticut; Kosciuszko Street in South Bend, Indiana, Kosciusko Street in Woburn, Massachusetts, and Thaddeus Kosciusko Way in downtown Los Angeles, California.
Monmouth, Illinois, was to be called Kosciuszko after that name was drawn from a hat around 1831. It was decided that Kosciuszko would be too hard to pronounce, so Monmouth was selected as an alternative.
There is a Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument in Detroit, Michigan. There is an equestrian statue of him at Kosciuszko Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, across from the Polish Basilica of St. Josaphat, and other statues, in Boston Public Garden; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Chicago’s Museum Campus on Solidarity Drive; Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C.; the United States Military Academy at West Point; Williams Park in St. Petersburg, Florida; and Red Bud Springs Memorial Park in Kosciusko, Mississippi; in Kosciuszko Park in East Chicago, Indiana; and (with Kazimierz Pułaski) in Poland, Ohio, a village named in honor of the two heroes of the American Revolution.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his Revolutionary War home is preserved as Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial and a monument to him stands at the corner of Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 18th Street. Hamtramck, Michigan, has a Kosciuszko Middle School; Winona, Minnesota has Washington-Kosciuszko Elementary School; Chicago, a public park named for him in Logan Square; and East Chicago, Indiana, a public park (with statue), a school and a neighborhood, all bearing Kosciuszko’s name. There is a Kosciusko Way in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Who’d a thunk?
One final thing about him. He was born in Mereczowszczyzna. There’s a Polish woman in our office, and I asked her to pronounce this for me. She laughed, and laid it on me. I kind of tried to get a phonetic spelling, but it wasn’t really worth the effort for an anglo-centric like me . . .
© 2009 A Landing A Day