From the American Scene: Boyhood in Mobile
In Mobile during the ante-bellum days, a strikingly large proportion of the population was foreign born; almost twenty-five per cent, in fact, of a city of some twenty-nine thousand. While the French influence predominated, so much so that many Negroes spoke French, the Gulf City was truly cosmopolitan. The very names of the streets give eloquent testimony: Dauphin and Royal; Conti and Eslava; St. Michael, St. Louis, St. Joseph, and St. Emanuel; Conception and St. Francis; Jackson, Hamilton, and Monroe; Church, Commerce, and Water.
Mobile was thus the ideal melting pot from which an American was to emerge sensitive to the traditions of many peoples. It had a perplexing combination of languor and fervor; of intensities of rivalry and friendliness; of diverse culture and undivided loyalties. And to this melting pot came, in the middle of the 19th century, substantial numbers of the forty-eighters fleeing from the oppressions of Germany and Austria. This background and this ethos of a city were as pregnant for the future as the personal heritage into which I was born on August 6, 1877.
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