Booker T. Washington, 1905

A colorized image of Booker T. Washington on a fishing trip to Coden in 1905

Booker T. Washington, known for founding now-named Tuskegee University, rose from slavery to become the foremost speaker and educator on race relations and civil rights during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Keeping a full schedule required annual recuperation. Here, Washington (pictured fourth from right) and his traveling companions pose after their yearly fishing trip in Coden at the summer home of C.W. Allen (third from right). Allen was Mobile’s most successful black undertaker, and his name is attached to Alabama’s oldest black mortuary, Johnson-Allen Mortuary, which his family still operates. 

Coden, the small fishing village near Bayou la Batre, was touted as being a resort town at the turn of the last century. The shoreline was known as the “Coney Island of the South” and was visited by tourists from all over the country, eager to relax and hook tarpons.  

Do you live in Coden? How has it changed over the years? Let us know! Email [email protected].

Photo courtesy Johnson-Allen Mortuary, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama // Colorization by Dynamichrome Limited

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