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Kingston Photo of people buying and selling produce at the Community Market, 1917

A new idea, from 101 years ago.

Kingston Photo of people buying and selling produce at the Community Market, 1917

 

In 2018, a new farmer’s market opened in Kingston. The Library’s usually there; check us out! It’s a great new venture with some interesting echos of the past.

In  1917, Kingston also had a new community market, this one located at the Point, right where Summer Street splits from Main. The Old Colony Memorial on July 13 that year invited anyone with surplus food  to join in.

No matter how small an amount you may have to sell, you are invited to bring it to the market. Products of the garden, dairy, poultry, etc. in fact, anything you are engaged in producing…

Part of the national effort to increase local food production as the nation entered the First World War, Kingston’s market was sponsored by the Grange, the Patriotic Society and the Food Production Committee of the Public Safety Commission. There was no charge for selling: vendors just had to show up with their wares.

Within the first week the market was open, 17-year-old diarist Helen Foster wrote that “things sure were stirring there.”

Source:  Newspapers PC19; Mary Hathaway Collection MC21

Cover of The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist, showing a hearse under a storm cloud

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist : a True Story of Injustice in the American South, by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

Cover of The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist, showing a hearse under a storm cloudInvestigative journalist Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington, Director of the Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi, have put together a heart-rending account of the institutional racism embedded in the intersection of law and science in Mississippi. The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist of the title are Dr. Stephen Hayne and Dr. Michael West, who together held sway over the murder investigation and prosecution  for decades. Leaning heavily on an antiquated system of county coroners, complicit officials who fought hard to maintain the Jim Crow status quo and a gloss of CSI-style razzle-dazzle and jargon, Haynes  literally cornered the market on autopsies in the state and brought along his friend West, who professed expertise in a number of shaky forensic techniques.

The two became the favored experts for prosecutors. not least for their creativity and willingness to shape the “evidence” to the state’s needs.  Judges accepted the “science.” State officials refused to staff or fund a modern medical examiner’s office. Haynes and West grew rich and famous.  And innocent people, mostly African-American, went to jail.  While two of the wrongly convicted men detailed in the book were exonerated when Haynes and West eventually fell from grace, many others remain imprisoned with no systematic review of this deep injustice likely.  This is not a story with a happy ending, but one that will leave you shaking your head and whispering Mississippi goddam.

Gravestone of Edward Gray in Plymouth cemetery

In other spelling news

Gray’s Beach Park is named for Edward Gray, who arrived in Plymoth Colony in the 1642 and eventually became one of the the richest men around. He owned land along what later became Kingston’s shoreline, including as this notable land record,  the site of  Kingston’s little beach.

And we know it’s Gray’s with an A, because, yes, it’s carved in stone.

Gravestone of Edward Gray in Plymouth cemetery

This is Old Burial Hill in Plymouth, and Gray’s is one of the oldest marked stones there. The more legible of the two markers is actually a sign pointing to the original stone, which appears to be  in some kind of protective frame.  The related page on Find-a-Grave has some good modern close ups of the actual stone.

Source: The Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slide Collection IC4, series “The Pilgrim Story, Plymouth” 90 slides copyright A. S. Burbank, circa 1920.

Grimacing toddler on the cover of Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness by Melissa Dahl

Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkardness by Melissa Dahl

Grimacing toddler on the cover of Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness by Melissa Dahl You probably know the feeling well. You’re lying in bed, just trying to fall asleep, but images of your worst moments in junior high — the bad haircut, the wrong clothes, the time you called the teacher “Mommy” —  just will not stop tapdancing through your painfully conscious mind.

That’s the feeling Melissa Dahl investigates in Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness.  To get deep inside the cringe, Dahl talks to anthropologists, sociologists, neuroscientists and advice columnists. She puts her own social discomforts, teenage angst and work dilemmas in the spotlight to illustrate and individualize scientific studies and broad research. She pores over her own online writing; attends workshops to learn to talk about race; even reads from her teenage diaries on stage.

Her eager search for compassion for her awkward self — indeed, for all the cringing selves everywhere — is deep and kind and just plain funny. You’ll cringe in sympathy, and maybe stretch your understanding of this very, very human experience.

The awkward in me sees and bows to the awkward in all of you.

*Recommended by Susan.

Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927

Summer Street, 1927

In March 1927, Emily Fuller Drew (seen here in her Tercentenary costume) took these photos of Summer Street, looking south toward the center of Town, just after Town Meeting voted to widen the street.Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927 Houses on Summer Street, Kingston, in 1927

Summer Street had been previously straightened and/or widened in 1846, 1856, 1905 and 1922, when a number of very early houses around the Point fell victim to highway work.

This time the casualties were the gracious trees that lined and shaded the street.  Emily wrote “Maples and elms lined our Summer Street in the old days..the green tunnel which was our street before the trees were cut down in 1927, to allow for widening the thorofare. Summer Street was the Boston Road which superseded the Bay Path as a highway from Plymouth to Boston.”

Her cousins Mary W. Drew and Jennie McLauthlen (Kingston’s first librarian) made their position clear in this handbill, but to no avail: the proposal was approved, the street widened, and the trees all taken down.

Handbill about the removal of trees required by a proposed project to widen Summer Street, March 1927

Sources: Photos from the Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16. Handbill from Vertical Files OC2 “Summer Street.” Additional information from Street Files TOK6 “Summer Street.”

Cover of The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse Eisinger

The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse Eisinger

Cover of The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse Eisinger
It’s a little frustrating. A decade after the financial crisis that nearly demolished the world economy, there has been little if any accountability. Citizens, many victims of essentially criminal acts by huge multinationals, wonder “Why isn’t anyone  going to jail? Isn’t that kind of thing illegal?”

Well, yes, fraud is still illegal, but the Department of Justice doesn’t seem to handle it that way anymore. The Chickenshit Club explores how the DOJ, and the regulators who rely on it for criminal enforcement, changed after successful prosecutions of Enron, WorldCom and other last century harbingers of impending financial doom.

It’s a sad tale of dedicated prosecutors and investigators hemmed in by front office politicians far closer to the center of corporate power than to the people they should serve, losing their edge, their institutional memory, and ultimately, their mission. If you want to know how deferred prosecution agreements and “chump change” fines replace criminal convictions and jail time,  this book has the answers.

Filled with horrifying examples of the revolving door between high powered corporate law firms and high ranking government positions, The Chickenshit Club is an informative read,  but not a very happy one. As Eisinger notes in conclusion, “Any hope for tougher corporate enforcement appears laughably misplaced.” Sigh.