Henry Cecil “Buck” Simmons

Buck walking with his wife
Granddad “Buck” Simmons and Grandma Beulah Simmons, 1960’s (Photo credit: family photo collection)

Henry Cecil “Buck” Simmons was born on August 10th, 1898 in Vinegar Bend, Alabama, a small village in Washington County, Alabama. Vinegar Bend is now only an unincorporated census-designated place, a location that is only recognized on the census because both it’s population and area are too small. He married Beulah Monk Simmons in 1919, when he was 21 and she was 18. Post-depression, they lived together in Prichard, Alabama, a city in Mobile County where they had four kids (Cecil, Marvel, Burton, and Robert). He was a barber most of his life. They eventually moved to Mobile city, where he died on February 10, 1969.

Life in the Bend

Gripping the cold, shaky metal, Buck stared intensely at the line where hair met skin on his newest client’s neck. A sensitive, 16 year old boy named Robert sat in the chair while he vented to Buck as if he was a father figure to the boy. Buck had owned this shop for two years now, but it got harder daily.

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How Women Buy Underwear

Hill, Margaret. “How Women Buy Underwear.” The University of Alabama, 1933.

Until I found “How Women Buy Underwear,” an academic paper by Margaret Hill, the paper sat in Hoole archives with fading letters and dust residue. Hill studies what women during the 1930’s considered when they bought new underwear. Hill contacted 100 women from the University of Alabama for “the

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Tired Hope

Mexican mother in California. “Sometimes I tell my children that I would like to go to Mexico, but they tell me ‘We don’t want to go, we belong here.'” (Note on Mexican labor situation in repatriation.) June 1935. From Library of Congress Prints and Photographs. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/fsa.8b26837/?co=fsa

In June of 1935, well into the Great Depression, Dorothea Lange photographed a mother and her child in California. The mother talked about how she contemplates moving her and her children to Mexico, perhaps for

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