Newspapers vital to past events

Published 7:58 pm Monday, May 1, 2006

By Staff
The Thursday, May 3, 1956, edition of The Brewton Standard had an interesting photo on its front page: Construction was under way on the new county jail being built in Brewton.
I imagine county officials would love to build a new facility of just about any kind for only $100,000 these days.
That same day, the newspaper reported the results of county and state elections - Gov. James Folsom had just been defeated two days earlier.
In fact, a headline stated, &#8220Voters whack every Folsom candidate including governor.”
Back then, according to the ads in The Standard, Daulphin's Grocery and Market had hamburger for 29 cents a pound, while Byrd's Supermarket had milk - three tall cans - for 39 cents.
And Watson Hardware Company had a new refrigerator for just under $200.
Some things have changed since 1956, and some have stayed relatively the same. Political battles are heating up just as much 50 years later, but we're certainly paying a whole lot more for groceries.
Newspapers are thought of as fleeting and temporal; what we read today will be lining the birdcage tomorrow, as the saying goes.
But newspapers record our history, every day, from the big headlines to the bits of everyday information that make up our community.
How many of us kept headlines from Dec. 7, 1941, or Sept. 11, 2001?
How many Bibles have yellowed copies of wedding announcements and obituaries?
How many refrigerators sport copies of honor roll listings, Little League stories, clipped photos?
The Brewton Standard is 100 years old this year - a milestone that honors not only the success of the newspaper but, more important, the success of the community.
Small newspapers thrive in communities that thrive - and in communities that look forward but also honor the past.
As our newspaper continues to celebrate its centennial this year, I hope our readers will share with us what The Standard means to them.
As a new member of this community, I'm interested to hear from longtime residents who enjoy reading the newspaper every Wednesday and Sunday. And, believe it or not, I want to hear what you don't enjoy.
In future weeks we will look for ways to celebrate our centennial - and to celebrate what our long history says about this community.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 251-86-4876 or by e-mail at

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