Friday, February 5, 2010

First Mardi Gras in America, MOBILE ALABAMA

383 years of History and Counting

preceding 1519------- The Indian Villages of the Chickasaw, Crowatan, and Blackfeet of the gulf coast region , stands in or very near the place of what is to become the Colony/Fort/Port of Mobile.
1519 -----Alvarez de Pindea discovers mouth of the Mississippi

1528 .. 1536
Spaniard Pánfilo de Narváez fails in Florida Gulf Coast colonization attempt.

1539 .. 1541
Hernando de Soto explores Southeast, meeting Chief Tuskaloosa (Tascaluza) in Battle of Maubila (October 1540).

October 18: The largest Indian battle in North America occurs at the village of Mabila (or Mauvila) between Hernando de Soto’s Spaniards and Chief Tuscaloosa’s (or Tascaluza’s) warriors. Accounts vary, but most agree that the Indian village and most of its more than 2,000 inhabitants were destroyed. The exact location of this battle has eluded researchers for centuries.

1559 .. 1561
Don Tristán de Luna fails to establish permanent Spanish colony on Alabama-Florida coast.

Beginning of the rise of the historic tribes of Alabama: Muskogean-speaking Indian groups, remnants of the Mississippian chiefdoms, coalesces into the Creek Confederacy. Similar developments take place among the other heirs to the Mississippian tradition, creating the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee tribes.

1682 ------Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle, erects a cross at the mouth of the Mississippi River after descending the river from the Great Lakes and claims the territory for Louis XIV of France, for whom Louisiana is named.

1694 ----- First recorded breakout of regional attacks from and at the hands of the tribes of the area. The colony after repeatedly being warned, not to harass the native Indian hunting parties, wipe out two such parties in as many weeks. The Indians respond by denying the colonies access to a large area of what is now the La.-Ala. border.

1699 ------ Pierre Le Moyne', declares his camp "Pointe du Mardi Gras", (Mardi Gras Point), as Alabama's first European settler's entered the Mississippi/Alabama/Louisiana Delta Gulf Coast Region. A Stone Marker sits on this encampment and marks this ponit at the end of U.S. 1 Highway in Louisiana. This is considered the first celebration of Mardi Gras in the U.S.

1700 ----- Talks breakdown between the native Indians and the colony of Mobile. War is declared by both sides. Several small skirmishes ensue with no clear winner. French Troops are brought in to put down the Indian uprising. It would take 8 years. The french colonists, writing about their longing for home, now begin to celebrate Mardi Gras with feasting and group singing.

1702 ---- On January 6, 1702, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville established a French fort and settlement called Mobile, at Twenty-seven Mile Bluff which served as the capital of the French colony of Louisiane for almost a decade, until its abandonment in 1711.

1704 ----- Mobile is formally made the capital of the french province of the Louisianne Territories. Masque De La Mobile celebrated until 1709. Societé de Saint Louise was founded by French soldiers at Fort Louis de la Mobile. Mardi Gras begins to become the holiday for french colonists to remember their homeland roots! This is now widely considered by all scholars to be the very first organized celebration of Mardi Gras in a city, of the New World.

1708 ----- French troops now begin to win battle after battle with the Indians. Most Indians at this point have simply moved inland and far away from the settlement at Mobile. Most of the Indian nations have had enough.

1710 -----The Society' de Saint Louis, held their first "bouef gras" (fatted ox) celebration on Tuesday, This was the begining of the Boeuf Graf Society which was formed that year in Mobile.

1711 -----Boeuf Graf Society holds it's first parade. Native Indians first taken as slaves to exploit the cheap source of labor to clear the area to be used as a port. Some were Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Blackfoot. Some are placed on ships, others are used to clear more property to enlarge the fort of Mobile.

1715 -----Louis Juchereau de St. Denis establishes Fort St. Jean Baptiste (Natchitoches), first permanent settlement in the Mississippi Valley

1717 ---- Fort Toulouse on the Coosa River constructed to trade with the Indians and offset influence of British; farthest eastward penetration of the French.

1718 ------Jean-Baptise Le Moyne', Pierre's brother, founds the port colony of Nouvelle Orle'ans, (New Orleans). Indians slaves are among the thieves, cut throats, prostitutes, beggars that are the first settlers. The St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans is built, the oldest in the United States.

1720 -----French Louisiana capital moved from Mobile west to Biloxi; then to New Orleans (1722).

1721 -----The Africane sails into Mobile harbor with cargo of over 100 slaves.

1723 ------ New Orleans becomes the capital of Louisiana, superseding Biloxi.

1724 -----French Code Noir extended from French West Indies to North American colonies, institutionalizing slavery in Mobile area.

1780 -----Spanish capture Mobile during American Revolution and retain the West and East Floridas as part of war-ending treaty.

1793 --------Mobile hosts a parade on "Twelfth Night", by the Spanish Mystics. These parades are orderly, and well organized as compared to the mere "gatherings" in New Orleans, which was rough, with no organized activities. People simply celebrated as individuals which was the best way for themselves.

1799 -----May 5: U.S. Army Lieutenant John McClary takes possession of Fort St. Stephens from the Spanish and the United States flag is raised for the first time on soil that would eventually belong to Alabama. Andrew Ellicott surveys the boundary between the United States and Spanish West Florida and places a stone north of Mobile to mark the 31st latitude.

1802 -----Georgia formally cedes western claims for its southern boundary at the 31st parallel.

1803 ------- The Louisiana Purchase takes place. American troops march into New Orleans and Mobile to take possession of those colonies. Things will never be the same for the slaves, Creoles, and free men of color, after the "arrogant American White Trash" arrives. With the acquisition of the Louisiana territory, Jefferson nearly doubled the size of the fledgling U.S. and made it a world power, almost over night. Later, 13 states or parts of states were carved out of the Louisiana Purchase territory.

1803 ----- Federal Road system is conceived and building commences, connecting Milledgeville, Georgia to Fort Stoddert, American outpost north of Mobile. The road is built over time coming to completion in 1811

1805 .. 1806 -----Indian cessions opened up to white settlement large portions of western (Choctaw) and northern (Chickasaw and Cherokee) Alabama. The last of these large cession take place around 1806. No more land will be given to the "white man", in exchange for peace.

1810 -----West Florida, from Pearl River to the Mississippi, annexed by U.S. from Spain.

1811 .. 1812 -----Schools established in Mobile (Washington Academy 1811) and Huntsville (Green Academy 1812).

1811 -----Newspapers established in Mobile to the south (Sentinel May 11, 1811; Gazette 1812) and Huntsville to the north (Alabama Republican 1816).

1812 -----Louisiana is admitted to the Union. The first steamboat to navigate the Mississippi River, the "The New Orleans," arrives at New Orleans from Pittsburgh on January 10, 1812

April,1813 -----U.S. annexed West Florida, from the Pearl River to the Perdido River, from Spain; Spanish surrender Mobile to American forces. The American troops march into Mobile.

1813 .. 1814 ------Creek Indian War
July 27, 1813 — Battle of Burnt Corn Creek
August 30, 1813 — Fort Mims Massacre
December 1813 — Battle of Holy Ground

March 1814 --- Battle of Horseshoe Bend August 9, 1814 --The Treaty of Fort Jackson is finalized after warring Creeks, under the leadership of William Weatherford, aka Red Eagle, surrender to Gen. Andrew Jackson and cede their lands to the federal government. This event opened up half of the present state of Alabama to white settlement. September,1814 --British attack on Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point fails, prompting them to abandon plans to capture Mobile and turn towards New Orleans.

February,1815 -----British forces take Fort Bowyer on return from defeat at New Orleans, then abandon upon learning that the war is over.

1817 -----March 3: The Alabama Territory is created when Congress passes the enabling act allowing the division of the Mississippi Territory and the admission of Mississippi into the union as a state. Alabama would remain a territory for over two years before becoming the 22nd state in December 1819.

1818 -----Janurary 19: The first legislature of the Alabama Territory convenes at the Douglass Hotel in the territorial capital of St. Stephens. The Alabama, the area's first steamboat, constructed in St. Stephens. Cedar Creek Furnace, the state's first blast furnace and commerical pig-iron producer, established in present-day Franklin County.

November 21: Cahaba, located at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers, is designated by the territorial legislature as Alabama’s state capital. Huntsville would serve for a short time as the temporary capital. The selection of Cahaba was a victory for the Coosa/Alabama River contingent, which won-out over a Tennessee/Tombigbee Rivers alliance group that wanted to place the capital at Tuscaloosa. The power struggle would continue between the two sections of the state; in 1826 the capital was moved to Tuscaloosa, but in 1847 it was moved to the Alabama River at Montgomery.

1819 -----March 2, 1819: President Monroe signs the Alabama enabling act. Constitutional Convention meets in Huntsville. Constitution adopted with Cahaba selected as temporary seat of government for the new State. The first general election for governor, members of the U.S. Congress, legislators, court clerks, and sheriffs is held as specified by the Constitution of 1819. Held on the third Monday and following Tuesday of September, the voters elected William Wyatt Bibb as the state’s first governor. General Assembly meets in Huntsville until the Cahaba Capitol is constructed. The City of Mobile is Incorporated.

December 14, 1819 ------ Alabama enters Union as 22nd state.

1822 ------December--The Legislature charters Athens Female Academy, which later becomes Athens State University.

1825 -----French general and American Revolution-hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, toured Alabama at Governor Israel Pickens' invitation.

1826 ------Capitol moved to Tuscaloosa.

1829 ---1830 On New Years Eve, 1829, Michael Krafft and a group of men, make it's debuts as a parade in Mobile, Al. as the way to bring in the New Year, on foot, but it would also herald in something much more significant in New Orleans, as history will reveal. Tuscumbia Railway Company chartered by General Assembly; first two miles of track link Tuscumbia and Sheffield (1832).LaGrange College chartered by the Legislature January 19, 1830; eventually becomes the University of North Alabama

State's population=309,527. 1830 Federal Census:

White population=190,406
African-American population=119,121
Slave population=117,549
Free black population=1,572
Urban population=3,194
Rural population=306,333.

1831 -----Michael Krafft, a gentleman from Philadelphia, and the group of men who staged the New Year's event a year ago, formally organize, and, in honor of their first parade, they called themselves the "Cowbellion de Rakin Society". " For their first 10 years, they paraded on New Year’s Eve in mask on foot with only a few floats. April 13: The University of Alabama formally opens its doors. Fifty-two students were accepted that first day. By the end of the session, the student body had swelled to nearly one hundred. The faculty was made up of four men including the Reverend Alva Woods who had been inaugurated president of the University on April 12, 1831.

1832 ------Bell Factory (Madison County), state's first textile mill, chartered by General Assembly. Alabama’s first railroad, the Tuscumbia Railway, opens, running the two miles from Tuscumbia Landing at the Tennessee River to Tuscumbia. The railway was the first phase of a planned railroad to Decatur, forty-three miles to the east. That railroad was needed in order for river traffic to avoid the dangerous and often un-navigable Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River.

1833 -----In a spectacle seen across the Southeast, a fantastic meteor shower causes this night to be known as “the night stars fell on Alabama.” The shower created great excitement across the state and for years was used to date events and became part of Alabama folklore. It also became the title of a famous book and song in the 1930s. Jimmy Buffet sang "Stars Fell on Alabama" at the January 1999 inauguration of Governor Don Siegelman.

Daniel Pratt established cotton gin factory north of Montgomery; his company town, Prattville (founded 1839), became a manufacturing center in the antebellum South.

1835 ---------Newspaper reports of Mobile, Cowbellion de' Rankin Society parading thorough the streets of New Orleans. This may have been the first parade in New Orleans. It is certainly the earliest reference that is in written form.

1835 - 1836 -----Alabama gold rush, concentrated in east-central hill country. Dr. James Marion Sims, "the Father of Modern Gynecology," established a medical practice in Mt. Meigs, then in nearby Montgomery (1840), before moving on to New York in 1853 to found the renowned Woman's Hospital.

1836 - 1837 -----Second Creek War (Seminole War). Battle of Hobdy's Bridge last Indian battle in Alabama (1837).

1839 ----- Michael Krafft, founder of the “Cowbellion de Rakin Society,” dies from yellow fever at Pascagoula, Mississippi. There are few buildings in the city built earlier than 1820. Most of the colonial architecture of the French, Spanish and British periods was lost in the Great Fire of 1839, which left the entire inner city in ruin. Among the casualties was the massive Greek revival Government Street Hotel, above right, that was nearing completion and set to be the second largest hotel in the South.

1840 -------Antoine's in New Orleans, the state's oldest continuously operating restaurant, is established. In 1840, the "Cowbellions" presented their first tableau pageant. They present it for the first time based on mythological themes with floats, bands and horses. It is the first time a theme is used as a guide to the set up, and decoration of a New Year pageant.

1842 ----------A group of young upstarts branches out to form the Strikers Independent Society, Mobile second Mystic Organization. These young men were not the cream of Mobile society and therefore were not allowed to join the more ritzy Cowbellions.

1846 -----January 28: Montgomery is selected as capital of Alabama by the State Legislature on the 16th ballot. Montgomery won the final vote largely because of promises of Montgomery city leaders to provide $75,000 for a new capitol and the rise of the prominence of the Black Belt region of the state. The Tea Drinkers mystic Society is founded.

1850 -----State population=771,623. 1850 Federal Census:

White population=426,514
African-American population=345,109
Slave population=342,844
Free black population=2,265
Urban population=35,179
Rural population=736,444
Cotton production in bales=564,429
Corn production in bushels=28,754,048
Number of manufacturing establishments=1,026.

1852 -----The Cowbellions staged their first ball. As other mystic societies form, the Carnival season is gradually expanded from only New Year’s parades, to include Mardi Gras parades. Company of Bedouins present spectacular parade on horseback receiving acclaim. Alabama Insane Hospital established at Tuscaloosa (renamed Alabama Bryce Insane Hospital upon death of its first director, Peter Bryce, 1892).

1854 -----Alabama Public School Act creates first state-wide education system by establishing an office of State Superintendent of Education.

1855 ------Because of the violent antics of a few maskers, a New Orleans Creole newspaper, The Bee, proclaims Mardi Gras Dead.

1856 ----A group of Mobilian's who had moved to New Orleans organized their own New Orleans Cowbellions, the first parading society in New Orleans, which, unlike the Mobile Cowbellions, parade on Mardi Gras. They would parade for nine years ......

1857 ------------Another group of the Mobile Cowbellions, this time joined by Strikers, help 13 New Orleanians form the Krewe of Comus, who coins the word, for the first time, "Krewe". They are also the first Krewe to; (1) choose a mythological namesake, (2) present a themed parade, (3)first to use floats in a Carnival parade,(4) and follow it with a Tableau Ball

1860 -----State School for Deaf, Dumb, and Blind established at Talledega. Last slave ship "Clotilde" lands in Mobile

State population=964,201. 1860 Federal Census:

White population=526,271
African-American population=437,770
Slave population=435,080
Free black population=2,690
Urban population=48,901
Rural population=915,300
Cotton production in bales=989,955
Corn production in bushels=33,226,282
Number of manufacturing establishments=1,459.

1861 -----January 11: The Alabama Secession Convention passes an Ordinance of Secession, declaring Alabama a "Sovereign and Independent State." By a vote of 61-39, Alabama becomes the fourth state to secede from the Union. The Civil War temporarily stops Mardi Gras until 1865.

February 18: After being welcomed to Montgomery, Ala. with great fanfare, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America on the portico of the Alabama capitol. Davis, a former U. S. senator from Mississippi, lived in Montgomery until April, when the Confederate government was moved from Montgomery to its new capital of Richmond, Virginia.

February-May: Montgomery serves as C.S.A. capital until the C.S.A. government seat is moved to Richmond, Virginia.

March 11: The Confederate Congress, meeting in Montgomery, adopts a permanent constitution for the Confederate States of America to replace the provisional constitution adopted the previous month. The seceded states then ratified the essentially conservative document, which was based largely on the United States Constitution.

1861 .. 1865 ----- 194 military land events and 8 naval engagements occurred within the boundaries of Alabama including:

Streight's Raid in north Alabama (April-May 1863);

Rousseau's Raid through north and east-central Alabama (July 1864);

Wilson's Raid through north and central Alabama (March-April 1865);

Battle of Mobile Bay (August 1864) and the subsequent campaign which involved action at Spanish Fort (April 8, 1865) and Blakeley (April 9) before the fall of the city of Mobile (April 12).

General Richard Taylor surrenders last sizable Confederate force at Citronelle, Mobile County (May 4, 1865).

1862 ---------The first salt mine is discovered at Avery Island, oldest in the Western Hemisphere

1865 ----------The Cowbellions hold their last parade.

September 12
New Alabama Constitution adopted to comply with Presidential Reconstruction dictates to rejoin Union; rejected by U.S. Congress.

December 6
The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S Constitution is ratified, thus officially abolishing slavery.

1866 ---------- Joe Cain appears as Slacabamorinico, chief of the Chickasaw from Wragg Swamp. He rides a coal wagon, through the streets on Shrove Tuesday. Lincoln Normal School founded as private institution for African-Americans at Marion; relocated to Montgomery (1887) and evolved into Alabama State University.1866 was the beginning of the modern era of Mardi Gras in Mobile. Beginning with daytime activities on Fat Tuesday, the carnival season in Mobile has grown through the years. Today, street pageants span over a two week period.
*--denotes a day parade
Fat Tuesday only
Joe Cain and Lost Cause Minstrels*
other participants names unknown*
1867 ------The chief makes his second appearance, but this time he is accompanied by the lost cause Minstrels, 16 former confederate solders playing drums and horns. The Order of the Myths parade on Fat Tuesday.
1868 -----Reconstruction Constitution ratified (February) gaining Alabama readmission to the Union, and allowing black suffrage for the first time. The Infant Mystics begin to parade in Mobile.
1870 ----- State population=996,992. 1870 Federal Census:

White population=521,384
African-American population=475,510
Urban population=62,700
Rural population=934,292
Cotton production in bales=429,482
Corn production in bushels=16,977,948
Number of manufacturing establishments=2,188.
1871 ------Knights of Momus and the Knights of Myth are founded. Birmingham founded; evolves into center of Southern iron and steel industry.

1872 ------ The De Leon Carnival Association crowns Daniel E Huger reigns as King Felix I. MCA begins to be organized as a Carnival Association. Other firsts are the Carnival colors, song, and flag in New Orleans, which mobile will soon adopt.

1873 -----Huntsville Normal and Industrial School chartered; evolves into Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.

1874 -----State elections return conservative Democrat "Bourbon Redeemers" to political power.

1875 ------Governor Warmoth, considered a carpetbagger and the then first black lieutenant governor Pinchback, sign into law the Mardi Gras Act, making it a legal holiday in Louisiana. But political and racial unrest cancels most of the season. Louisiana is still the only state, where Mardi Gras is a legal holiday.

1875 -----November 16: Alabama’s Constitution of 1875 is ratified. The Bourbon Democrats, or "Redeemers," having claimed to “redeem” the Alabama people from the Reconstruction rule of carpetbaggers and scalawags, wrote a new constitution to replace the one of 1868. It was a conservative document that gave the Democrats, and especially Black Belt planters, a firm grip on their recently reacquired control of state government.

1880 ----- State population= 1,262,505. 1880 Federal Census:

White population= 662,185
African-American population= 600,103
Urban population= 68,518
Rural population= 1,193,987
Cotton production on bales= 699,654
Corn production in bushels= 25,451,278
Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,070.

1881 -----February 10: The Alabama Legislature establishes Tuskegee Institute as a "normal school for the education of colored teachers." The law stipulated that no tuition would be charged and graduates must agree to teach for two years in Alabama schools. Booker T. Washington was chosen as the first superintendent and arrived in Alabama in June 1881. Washington's leadership would make Tuskegee one of the most famous and celebrated historic black colleges in the U.S.

1883 ----- Mobile's renown Excelsior Band is formed and begins to follow Slacabamorinico ( Old Slac for short ) on his annual processions. A tradition that will continue for the next 118 years. The band is forced to discontinue the trek after raising costs and lower funds take their toll.

1884 ------ The Cosmic Cowboys, a satirical society, presents it's first parade.

1887 -----Farmers' Alliance grew out of earlier Grange (1870s) and Agricultural Wheel (early 1880s) organizations; evolved into the Populist movement which challenged conservative Democrats for control of state politics.

1888 ----- Mobile Fire Department established

1890 ------- The first women's Mystic Society "Mobile Women Mystics", holds it's first Mardi Gras Ball.

1892 ------- Rex parade Symbolism of Colors, proclaims the Carnival colors of purple, gold and green to mean justice, power, and faith, respectively. This is the proper announcement of the Mardi Gras Colors as heraldic protocol demands.

1893 ------- Mobile's first electric streetcar begins operation. Ethel Hodgson rules as the first queen of the Mobilian Carnival.

1894 ------- The Order of the Doves, Mobiles first black Carnival society holds it's first Ball.

1895 -----February 16: Alabama formally adopts a state flag for the first time. The legislature dictated "a crimson cross of St. Andrew upon a field of white," which was the design submitted by John W. A. Sanford, Jr., who also sponsored the bill. This flag remains Alabama's flag today.

1896 -----October 12: The Alabama Girls’ Industrial School opens its doors as the first state-supported industrial and technical school devoted to training girls to make a living. The school later became known as Alabama College, and is now the University of Montevallo.

1898 ------ The second Carnival Association crowns King Felix II

1899 ------- Coldest Mardi Gras on record, temperatures dips to 7 degrees, as Rex parades with a frozen mustache. The Krewe of Proteus postpones their parade, until the first Friday in lent, a never to be repeated mistake.

1900 ------State population= 1,828,697. 1900 Federal Census:

White population= 1,001,152
African-American population= 827,307
Urban population= 216,714
Rural population= 1,611,983
Cotton production in bales= 1,106,840
Corn production in bushels= 35,053,047
Number of manufacturing establishments= 5,602.

1901 -----January 31: Tallulah Bankhead, star of stage, screen, and radio in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, is born in Huntsville. The daughter of U.S.Congressman William B. Bankhead, Tallulah was most famous for her flamboyant lifestyle, throaty voice, and stage role in The Little Foxes (1939) and her part in the film Lifeboat (1943). (There is some question of the exact birthdate; this is the most generally accepted).

March 2: Trustees of the Alabama Department of Archives and History meet in Gov. William J. Samford's office to organize the nation's first state archival agency. Charged with, among other responsibilities, "the care and custody of official archives [and] the collection of materials bearing upon the history of the State," the department was housed in the capitol until 1940. In that year it moved across Washington Avenue to the War Memorial Building, which had been constructed for the Archives.

New state Constitution ratified, disfranchising substantial numbers of black and white voters (November).

1902 -----November 29: The New York Medical Record publishes an account of Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performing the first open heart surgery in the western hemisphere when he sutured a knife wound in a young boy’s heart. Dr. Hill was the father of Alabama politician and U.S. senator Lister Hill. The Bicentennial of the establishment of Ft. Louis de la Mobile on Jan. 22, 1702 at 27 mile bluff and the founding of the city of Mobile by Pierre LeMoyne and Jean Baptiste LeMoyne is observed and celebrated. Mobile's first modern street pavement is laid.

1904 -----Colonel William Crawford Gorgas of Alabama begins elimination of scourges of yellow fever and malaria in Panama Canal Zone. Joe Cain passes.

1907 -----Tennessee Coal and Iron Company in Birmingham purchased by U.S. Steel.

1909 -----Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, establish "flying school" on land outside Montgomery (present site of Maxwell Air Force Base) six years after their first flights. Boll Weevil, insect destroyer of cotton, enters state from Mississippi border. The Tramps Social Aid & Pleasure Club is founded in New Orleans. They parade in the back streets of New Orleans, as it is illegal to use the main thoroughfares to parade for a black Krewe. This group is important in Mobiles history as it will give rise to the Zulu SA&PC. One witness to this parade is A. S. May, on a trip to New Orleans, the importance of this, will be felt in Mobile in 1938. The “Kickshaw Society” is founded as a Mystic Order.

1910 ------State population= 2,138,093. 1910 Federal Census:

White population= 1,228,832
African-American population= 908,282
Urban population= 370,431
Rural population= 1,767,662
Cotton production in bales= 1,129,527
Corn production in bushels= 30,695,737
Number of manufacturing establishments= 3,398.

1916 -------- Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, Inc., in New Orleans rolls for the first time under it's present club name.

1917 -------- The Chattanooga Company Bakery introduces the popular marsh mellow cookie “moon pie”. It will become a popular “throw” in Mobile Mardi Gras parades.

1917-1918 ------- World War I cancels most all M.G. activities. A few balls are still held. The 15 Funny Fellows parades on Fat Tuesday.

1918 -------- World War I forces Krewes to cancel Carnival for the next two years.

1919 -----December 11: The boll weevil monument is dedicated in Enterprise. The monument honors the insect that killed cotton plants and forced local farmers to diversify by planting more profitable crops such as peanuts. Even though the monument was in appreciation of the boll weevil, the weevil statue was not added to the monument until 30 years later. Fire destroys 40 city blocks in Mobile.

1921 ----- The Crewe of Columbus begin to roll on it's annual trek. The Crewe is one of a handful of the mobile societies to keep the original spelling of the word "Crewe", instead of the now adopted misspelling started by the "Krewe of Comus" in New Orleans.

State population= 2,348,174. 1920 Federal Census:

White population= 1,447,031
African-American population= 900,652
Urban population= 509,317
Rural population= 1,838,857
Cotton production in bales= 718,163
Corn production in bushels= 43,699,100
Number of manufacturing establishments= 3,654.

1923 ------------The Mystik Club debuts. Mobile Fire Department retires last Horse-Drawn Apparatus

1927-present ------ The Mobile Carnival Association(MCA) crowns King Felix III

1928 -----Convict lease system ended.

1930 ----- State population= 2,646,248.

1931 ----- March 25: Nine black youths, soon to be known as the Scottsboro Boys, are arrested in Paint Rock and jailed in Scottsboro, the Jackson County seat. Charged with raping two white women on a freight train from Chattanooga, the sheriff had to protect them from mob violence that night. Within a month, eight of the nine were sentenced to death. Based on questionable evidence, the convictions by an all-white jury generated international outrage. "The Mystik Krewe", by Perry Young is published. By some in the carnival circles, it is considered the bible of research on Mardi Gras at the time.

1936 ----- August 3: Lawrence County native Jesse Owens wins his first gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Owens went on to win four gold medals in Berlin, but German leader Adolf Hitler snubbed the star athlete because he was black. Today visitors can learn more about Owens at the Jesse Owens Memorial Park and Museum in Oakville, Alabama. William B. Bankhead elected Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives.

1937 ----- State sales tax instituted to help fund education. Alabama Senator Hugo Black appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to the U.S. Supreme Court.

1938 ------ A. S. May, a witness of the Zulu's parade of New Orleans, decides mobile needs something similar. He founds the Knights of May Zulu Club, an African-American parading organization in Mobile. After this organization parades, several prominent immediately begin plans for another organization the next year.

1939 ------ The Colored Carnival Association chooses a King and Queen and elects a "Mayor" of the Colored Mobile. This Organization would later become MAMGA ( Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association ) and the Mayor position would be placed by the "Grand Marshal"

1940 ----- The Mystic Stripers Society begins to parade. The Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association ( now MAMGA) crowns King Elexis I

1941 ----- Training of African-American military pilots, the "Tuskegee Airmen," underway.

1942 ------- World War II, cancels most of Carnival. No parades roll, but some celebrations are held. This continues until 1945, the end of the conflict.

1944 ----- First Oil Well In Alabama--On January 2, 1944, the State of Alabama granted Hunt Oil Company a permit to drill the A.R. Jackson Well No. 1 near Gilbertown, Choctaw County.

1945 ----- University of Alabama Medical School moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham.

1947 ----- Big Mobile Colored Carnival vs Zulu rift, over the dignity of the Zulu style. Mobile negroes reject the Vaudeville style of Zulu as "shameful." Zulu fails to take the matter or the warning seriously and 14 years later the subject takes an ugly toll on the krewe.

“Nuts to those Mobile peoples,” said Johnie J. Smith, 1947 King Zulu. Smith lashes back at the Mobile Colored Carnival Association for criticizing the Zulu’s Mardi Gras celebration as undignified. Dr. W.L. Russell, long time president of the Mobile Colored Carnival Association (now MAMGA), said jitterbugging isn’t allowed at his queen’s coronation ball; neither is the blackface makeup during their parade.

King Zulu’s response: “I’ll be on my stand at Melpomene and Magnolia – on the neutral ground Mardi Gras (day) and if I see any Mobile complainers, I won’t throw no coconuts to them – just a dirty look for being such busy bodies.” ( excerpts from full story )

1948 ----- Mystics of Time bursts onto the parade scene. July 17: The Dixiecrat Convention assembles in Birmingham, with over 6,000 delegates from across the South in attendance. They selected Strom Thurmond as their candidate for President for their States' Rights Party. In the 1948 presidential election the Dixiecrats carried four states, including Alabama, where Democratic candidate Harry Truman's name did not even appear on the ballot.

1949 ------ For the first time a women's organization the Polka Dots, parades in Mobile. The Maids of Mirth are founded.

1954 ----- Democratic nominee for state Attorney General, Albert Patterson, murdered in Phoenix City, prompting clean-up of the "wickedest city in America."

1955 ----- December 1: Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, is arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a boarding white passenger as required by Montgomery city ordinance. Her action prompted the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott and earned her a place in history as “the mother of the modern day civil rights movement.” Ms. Parks was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in August 2000. City of Mobile purchases Oakleigh

1956 ----- Army Ballistic Missile Agency established at Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal. Autherine Lucy unsuccessfully attempts to desegregate the University of Alabama. The Supreme Court ruling banning segregated seating on Montgomery’s public transit vehicles goes into effect. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were among the first people to ride a fully integrated bus, ending the historic year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1960 ------ September 8: The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Gov. John Patterson and Werner von Braun, director of the space flight center, were in attendance as was Mrs. Marshall who unveiled a bust in honor of her husband. Restoration of Downtown Mobile begins

1961 -----Mobile's Colored Carnival's warning, 14 years earlier, is proven right as the New Orleans, Krewe of Zulu starts to come apart at the at the seams. The Black pride movement of the time, almost wipes out the Krewe as it's Vaudeville style comes into direct conflict with modern society.

1962 ----- Le Krewe de Beinville is founded to offer tourists the chance to attend Mardi Gras.

1963 ----- Governor George C. Wallace inaugurated for first of four terms in office. Birmingham bombings of Civil Rights-related targets, including the offices of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the home of A.D. King (brother of Martin Luther King, Jr.), and the 16th Street Baptist Church (in which 4 children were killed), focus national attention on racial violence in the state.

Governor Wallace's "stand in the schoolhouse door" at the University of Alabama protests federally forced racial integration; Vivian Malone and James Hood register for classes as first African-American students. University of South Alabama founded in Mobile.

1964 ------ U.S.S. Alabama brought to Mobile. Mobile Municipal Auditorium (Civic Center) opens, and holds it's first modern Mardi Gras ball.

1965 ----- A mobile, Alabama citizen, Roert G. Cox aids neighborhood children to decorate a single red wagon. The group then parades through the streets of that central city neighborhood. This is the beginning of the Mystics of Children. "The man with the velvet voice," Nat King Cole dies in Santa Monica, California. Born the son of a Baptist minister in Montgomery in 1919, Cole sold over 50 million records and became the first African-American male with a weekly network television series.

March 7: Six-hundred demonstrators make the first of three attempts to march from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery to demand removal of voting restrictions on black Americans. Attacked by state and local law enforcement officers as they crossed Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, the marchers fled back into the city. The dramatic scene was captured on camera and broadcast across the nation later that Sunday, causing a surge of support for the protestors.

March 21: Rev. Martin Luther King leads 3,200 marchers from Selma toward Montgomery in support of civil rights for black Americans, after two earlier marches had ended at the Edmund Pettus Bridge--the first in violence and the second in prayer. Four days later, outside the Alabama state capitol, King told 25,000 demonstrators that "we are on the move now . . . and no wave of racism can stop us." On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

1967 -----The grave of Joe Cain(1832-1904) is moved from Bayou La Batre, Alabama to the Church Street Graveyard in downtown Mobile. Many organizations begin to use the New Mobile Civic Center for their balls. Lurleen Wallace inaugurated as state's first woman governor (died 1968).

1968 ------ Joe Cain Day is established as an all inclusive street celebration.

1969 ------ University of Alabama at Huntsville established. University of Alabama at Birmingham established, joining University's medical and dental schools there since the 1940s. Mrs Frederica Evans, considered the "Mother of Colored Carnival",passes.

1972 ----- Gov. George C. Wallace is shot in Maryland while campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president. The assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer left the Governor paralyzed from the waist down and effectively ended his chances at the nomination. He campaigned again for president in 1976, marking his fourth consecutive run for that office.

1973 ------- The new Expo Hall at the Civic Center is now the site of some Mardi Gras activities.

1975 ------ Mobile Fire Department establishes Paramedic Services. The Order of Pi is formed with little fanfare.

1977 ----- Conde Cavaliers begin their annual parade.

1981 ------ Country music group Alabama selected "Vocal Group of the Year" by Academy of Country Music; went on to garner fifth consecutive "Entertainer of the Year" award from the Country Music Association (1986).

1983 ------ The first emblem cups are thrown by the Order of Inca
1985 ------The City of Mobile purchases the first set of Barricades for the parade routes. 250 sections are purchased, 2,000 feet total, at $67.50 each.

1985 ----- Neptune's Daughters, the Society of the Pharaohs begin to parade. Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway opens.

1986 ----- Snappy-Poppers are banned.
1987 ------In the midst of great religious debate over Mardi Gras' evil influence on Mobile christians, the Catholic church openly supports Mardi Gras " may be tinged with excesses, but for the most part it doesn't conflict with catholic teachings and is just good wholesome family fun"
1987 ----- The Mobile City Council officially adopts a Mardi Gras Flag for Mobile. The flag bears the colors of purple and gold, with a serpentine "M" floating over a traditional mask.
1989 ------ The Mystic Stripers Society throws coloring books that depict the emblem, the parade theme, and each of the 15 floats.

1989 ----- The Order of LaShe's begin to hold their annual Ball. Founded in the tradition of the city of New York, this society seeks to bring some of New York's fashion and style to Mobile.

1990 ----- State population=4,040,587.

1992 ----- Tillman's tricksters begin their annual parade schedule. This is the last year of the use of Alabama National Guard trucks to pull parade floats. A regulation was discovered that prohibits Guard equipment use for such an event.

1993 ------ Governor Guy Hunt, in second term as first Republican governor of the state since Reconstruction, convicted of misuse of public funds and removed from office. The City of Mobile Convention Center opens. The International Carnival Ball is organized as a joint effort including both the Mobile Carnival Association and the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association. The ball signifies a ceremonial coming together of King Felix III and King Elexis I. The Mobile Mystics Mardi Gras organization was founded in May of 1993 with hopes of having a Mardi Gras parade in the 1994 Mardi Gras season. The charter membership was comprised of 52 members who quickly obtained use of Mardi Gras floats from another organization and made plans to stage their first parade.

1994 ----- First parade of the Order of Mystic Magnolia. Silly String is banned from downtown Mobile. MAMGA's Mammoth parade route is changed from the traditional Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. route to a typical downtown parade route. This change stirred up a community outcry and protest. Petitions were signed, among other things, to stop the change, but they failed.

1995 ----- Alabama's Heather Whitestone serves as first Miss America with a disability.

1996 -------$115.00 fines are enacted for jumping or climbing over parade route barricades. Parade season attendance surpasses the 1 million plateau, estimated at 1,054,300 by the Mobile Police Dept.

1997 ----- Mobile Mystical Ladies is established. The Knights of Mobile are founded take to the streets in 1998. Mardi Gras Archives is created by Dave Sweatt, the first significant Mobile Mardi Gras website on the internet.

1998 ----- Mobile Mardi Gras float designer and builder Webb Odom dies. The Cities of Spanish Fort, Orange Beach, Dauphin Island holds their first Mardi Gras parades.

1999 ------ Mardi Gras Coconuts. Com, a New Orleans website, begins year around coverage of Mardi Gras events, including a weekly online Radio program, entitled " Mardi Gras Digest ". Les Femmes Cassette otherwise known as the Cassette girls began their parade schedule. Mobile witnesses the return of Orange Mardi Gras pies! The “Mystic Krewsaders Society”, a black mystic society is founded.

2000 ----- The Order of Venus, and Mobile Married Mystics make their debute on the parade scene. Founded for married couples by married couples, it is the only such club in which marriage is reqired before you can be seen. The “Mystic Order of Persephone”, an Order in the suburb of Daphne, Al., an all women’s mystic society is founded. The “Apolla’s Mystic Ladies” Eastern Shore women’s mystic society is founded. The “Krewe of Mullet Mates” of the suburb town of Point Clear, is founded as a mystic society. The “Mystics of Pleasure” Orange Beach mystic society is founded.

2001 ----- Mullet Mates begin parading. The community of Point Clear holds its first Mardi Gras parade. Mardi Gras Coconuts.Com begins regular coverage of Mardi Gras Balls with the ball review of King Arthur. It is the only other source of Ball coverage besides the local newspaper. Mardi Gras Archives, becomes, then for some unknown reason, in April, 2001 goes dark. The most significant Mardi Gras website on the Mobile Carnival to date, is not heard from again. The “Order of Outowners” mystic society is founded. An “Out of towners” ball is held at the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center ballroom and King Moon Pie and Queen Azalea are chosen to rule over the festivities. This organization aims to be a more modern and inclusive society than the traditional ones in Mobile, offering ball tickets for sale to the general public.The community of Point Clear holds its first Mardi Gras parade.

2002 ------Birmingham native Vonetta Flowers and teammate Jill Bakken win a gold medal in bobsledding at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Flowers is the first African American to win a gold medal in a winter Olympics. Bobby Frank Cherry is convicted of murder for his part in the bombing of Birmingham's Sixteenth St. Baptist Church. Cherry is the last living suspect to be prosecuted for the Sept. 15, 1963, blast that killed 11-year-old Denise McNair, and 14-year-olds Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins. Mardi Gras Coconuts splits off it's news section into a new site called Mardi Gras Digest, which debuts January 1, 2002. Tricentennial of the establishment of Ft. Louis de la Mobile on Jan. 22, 1702 at 27 mile bluff and the founding of the city of Mobile by Pierre LeMoyne and Jean Baptiste LeMoyne.

2003 -------Mardi Gras Digest.Com begins coverage of Mobile's Carnival.

2004 -----Birmingham native Condoleeza Rice is appointed to the post of Secretary of State, under re-elected, President George W. Bush. She is the first African American woman to occupy that position.

2005 -----Virginia Wrecking Co. of Stapleton, Ala., awarded $1.3 million contract to tear down the old county courthouse, according to a report in the Mobile Register (Mobile, Ala.), the county plans to build a new Mardi Gras-themed park. Mobilians see Mardi Gras in July as Eleven floats from various Mardi Gras societies roll in an abbreviated parade. Joined by 10 high school marching bands, the restaging of parades is one of the newest tools the Mobile CVB can use in it's tourism efforts. A new Mystic Association, La Joie De Vivre, begins its existence as a Ball organization. The William and Emily Hearin Mobile Mardi Gras Museum opens in Mobile at 355 Government St.--Mobile, AL Also a new parading society is formed, the Conde Explorers. This is the first African American society to parade at night in Mobile. Mardi Gras Digest.Com expands it's coverage to include the entire gulf coast of the U.S.

2006 ----- New Orleans celebrates 150 years of Mardi Gras (parades) in the Crescent City. However, the date is found to be wrong, the real date to celebrate is in 2007! In Mobile, a new Mystic organization, the Order of Angels, is formed.

Mardi Gras Digest

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