Endless Research

I’ve been a bit scarce of late, but it’s not because I haven’t been writing. The creative juices have really started to flow with my novel and I have been spending every available moment doing research. I even have the tentative first couple pages drafted.

Do you know how difficult is it to find out the price of a train ticket from Nashville to Algood, Tennessee in 1912?

And what about the statutory interpretation of a 1881 Jim Crow law that railroad companies were “required to furnish separate cars for colored passengers who pay first-class rates”. If a white person and a black person were to both buy second-class tickets, could they then ride in the same car? And before you think that there wouldn’t be provision for black people to go first-class, the law was amended in 1882 so that railroads were “required to supply first-class passenger cars to all persons paying first-class rates.” It’s not the sort of thing a lot of people need to know.

And what was travel like in a day car? Photo archives that I’ve seen only show the inside of first-class carriages. I have a fight to stage and I need to know what I’m working with here.

Confusing Historical Fact and Fiction

I have the hardest time convincing some students that Jesus, regardless of what they think of His claims or the Church’s teaching about His Deity, was a real historical person. When I tell them that there is more documentary evidence for the historicity of Jesus than there is of Julius Caesar, invariably the response is, “Who was Julius Caesar?”

But it’s worse that I thought. According to a survey commissioned by UKTV Gold, 21% thought Winston Churchill was a fictional character. It wasn’t just Sir Winston whose reality was called into question. The further back in history, the more doubt prevailed. Thus 27% thought Florence Nightingale was mythical and 47% though Richard the Lionheart never existed.

On the other hand 58% thought Sherlock Holmes really lived. Only 53% acknowledge Richard I.