When I find the rest of this short news bit, I will add it here. Too bad this was sloppily written.
I believe that's a judge wearing the black robe, and this could be the incoming crop of new legislators for the Alabama State Legislature (circa early 1940s). Major W. Espy, Sr. is eleventh from the left, holding the black hat.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, U.S. states set up War Emergency Councils. My grandfather, who was a state legislator at the time, was selected to be a part of Alabama's council. Click the image to enlarge. Interestingly enough, some Japanese POWs worked on some Espy Mercantile land during and shortly after the war. I will have to research the POW story some more to fish out the details. In the meantime, here's a bit of information about Alabama's contribution to the war effort and the use of POWs to bolster the agricultural workforce.
UPDATE: Although I was told by a farmhand (Mose Thomas) one summer that he remembered some Japanese POWs working on the Espy farms, I have yet to confirm this. In fact, Headland historian Larry Smith says he doesn't believe it's true. However, based on a little bit of research into camps in Alabama for Germans POWs, it's more likely that a German or two worked on the farms. Hope to discover the truth someday.
Henry County War Bond Drive, 1943
In his re-election bid, M.W. Espy lost to Carl Farmer of Abbeville in a close election.
Found on Newspapers.com