|Name:||Thomas Sigismund Stribling|
|Birth Day:||March 4, 1881|
|Death Date:||Jul 8, 1965 (age 84)|
As per our current Database, Thomas Sigismund Stribling died on Jul 8, 1965 (age 84).
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Early in his literary career, he worked as the editor of a small weekly publication called the Clifton News.
Birthright was a major departure from the pulp adventure stories for which Stribling was thus far characteristically known. Birthright is a serious social critique of not only the social practices of the South, but all of America—its social rules, taboos and even laws such as the Jim Crow laws or the Tennessee-initiated Segregation Seating Act for Railroad Cars in 1881, which paved the way for other states and the creation of other related laws. This novel also reflects historical populace movements such as "The Great Migration". World War I had broken out in Europe, and although America was not yet fighting in the war, the nation was supplying goods for the war; in response, the Northern manufacturers recruited Southern black workers to fill the demand for factory workers. "From 1910 to 1930 between 1.5 million and 2 million African Americans left the South for the industrial cities of the North." (Encarta Encyclopedia 2003) It is from these times that the South, as well as America, is trying to heal the social fault; it may be this America that Peter Siner is supposed to embody.
Stribling completed his high school education at the age of seventeen, at Huntingdon Southern Normal University in 1899, in the nearby town of Huntingdon, Tennessee. By this time Stribling was convinced that he was meant to be a writer, having already sold his first story at the age of 12 for five dollars; Stribling was ready to get started with his future in literature. With that in mind, Stribling became the editor of a small weekly newspaper called the Clifton News. Stribling was hoping to use the Clifton News as a launching pad for his writing career, unfortunately Stribling was only there for about a year before his parents convinced him to return to school and complete his education. In the fall of 1902, Stribling graduated from the Florence Normal School, what is now recognized as the University of North Alabama, in Florence, Alabama. There, Stribling was able to earn his teaching certification in one year.
In 1903, Stribling moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to teach at the Tuscaloosa High School. He taught both mathematics and physical education. He actually only taught at the school for one year, having "no idea whatever of discipline" (Kunitz, 1359) before departing, preferring instead to continue his own education. In 1905, Stribling completed his law degree at the University of Alabama School of Law. Yet again he only used his newly earned education for a brief time, moving quickly from law office to law office: The Florence law office of George Jones, serving as clerk; the Florence law office of Governor Emmett O'Neal, where Stribling worked as a practicing lawyer; and law office of John Ashcraft, also as a practicing lawyer. Stribling went through three law offices in less than two years. It turns out that instead of working on clients' cases, Stribling was in fact using the office supplies, typewriter, and paid hours to perfect his writing craft. Under the advice of his fellow lawyers, Stribling gave up practicing law in 1907.
After moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 1907, Stribling picked up a job at the Taylor-Trotwood Magazine as a writer and salesman of ads and subscriptions and as "a sort of sublimated office boy." (Kunitz, 1359) It was at the magazine that Stribling had two works of fiction published: The Imitator and The Thrall of the Green, both reflecting the social themes for which he would later become renowned.
Repeating his pattern and encouraged by his small success, Stribling left the magazine in 1908. He then moved to New Orleans where he produced "Sunday-school stories at the phenomenal rate of seven per day; many of these stories were eventually published by denominational publishing houses." (Martine, 73) Stribling went on to write many more Sunday-school stories as well as adventure stories for boys that were printed in various pulp magazines such as The American Boy, Holland's Magazine, The Youth's Companion, Adventure and Everybody's Magazine. These writings afforded Stribling to, for the first time, live off the profits of his creative ability. For Adventure, Stribling wrote detective stories featuring his psychologist sleuth Doctor Poggioli. Stribling also wrote some science fiction stories with satirical undertones, such as "The Green Splotches" (1920), about aliens in South America, and "Mogglesby" (1930), featuring intelligent apes.
In 1917, The Cruise of the Dry Dock was published in a limited print run of 250 copies. This was Stribling's first effort at a novel. It most likely was heavily influenced by his boy-like adventure writings for his various pulp magazines. It was a World War I seaborne adventure story set in the German infested waters of the Sargasso Sea, where the American crew tries to escape capture and certain death by the hands of the evil enemy. "A potboiler, The Cruise of the Dry Dock is neither in its style nor its choice of subject matter particularly original or impressive." (Martine, 73)
Serialized in seven parts in Century Magazine, Birthright was collected into novel form in 1922. This is considered to be Stribling's first serious novel as well as being the work that introduces to the world his ability to reconstruct not only the landscape of the South, but the heartache as well. Birthright was highly praised by critics in both the black and white communities. Birthright is the story of a young African American (mulatto) man, Peter Siner, who returns home after completing his education at Harvard; he is hoping to effect some changes and to heal racial rifts in his small southern home town of Hooker's Bend, Tennessee. He fails to heal the social rift of the community because of the wide and dividing prejudices of both the white and black man. In defeat, Peter ends up moving to another small town just north of the Dixie Line.
1930 was a highly significant year for Stribling. It was the year he produced his eleventh novel, The Forge (1931), the first book of his trilogy following the Vaiden family. Further, the same year he married Lou Ella Kloss, a music teacher and hometown friend.
These Bars of Flesh (1938), Stribling's last book, is set in New York City. This novel may have been a reaction to Stribling's own time teaching English at Columbia University in 1935. The novel is set in a NYC university with Andrew Barnett attending from Georgia hoping to attain his degree. Stribling takes a satiric look at campus politics, professor tenure and education, and the amount of the students' lack of awareness.
Stribling and his wife returned to his hometown of Clifton to live in 1959. During his final months, when he was in declining health, the couple stayed in Florence, where he died on July 8, 1965. He is buried in Clifton, and the town has turned the Striblings' home into a museum and library devoted to his life and career.
His autobiography, Laughing Stock: The Posthumous Autobiography of T.S. Stribling, was compiled by Randy Cross, a doctoral student at the University of Mississippi in 1982.
Currently, Thomas Sigismund Stribling is 141 years, 3 months and 26 days old. Thomas Sigismund Stribling will celebrate 142nd birthday on a Saturday 4th of March 2023.
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