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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dec 1 update/Tim Tyson and Gaffney, Comment and Appeal

Finally got a hold of Jumpin' Jim Crow through Bama interlibrary loan services. Attalla Lib is allegedy acquiring a copy as well.
Tim Tyson story on Nov 18, 1957 Gaffney South Carolina is chilling. At elementary school, Central, where I was a grade behind Bob Peeler, later to become Lt governor of SC who ran for Gov, I routinely walked home by the Grand home that had been dynamited in 57, 5 years before the Foxxes came to town in January of 1962, Anthony Street, about half mile away, probably just a quarter as the crow flies.
Tyson's account says the Sanders phone was tied up by a call from Jennings Trading Post, just another quarter mile from where myfamily moved in 64 into the new parsonage of Bethany Baptist Church, a mission of the FBC Gaffney. Jennings was pretty much equisdistant from our house and that of John Hamrick, Duke Grad and Scion of Textile Interest in Gaffney, CEO of the "Big Mill". Hamrick had a private audience with President Ford in 1974 as President of the American Association of Textile Manufacturers. He was a key speaker when our new sanctuary was dedicated in 1964; it's all there on the cornerstone.
I referenced aspects in my national Public Television Feedback video on the documentary Uprisin of 34 when it aired back in 94 or so.
Tyson said Luther Boyette and the other Klansman who made the call left the phone "danglin'".
Claudia Sanders was active in the Episcopalian church right across the street from Central, where actress Rosie Andie Macdowell family were members, and later the Michies who liked to go strawberry pickin with my Mom and Dad.
In 76 the pastor there let me read his book on liberation theology.
The Sanders home if not the same house on Rutledge Avenue, is right next door to the home of Don Gannt, President Clinton's Sec Ed Dick Riley's best friend in Gaffney. Riley, a Furman grad, is the former Governor. Earlier this year I had a good chance to bring Riley to Collinsville HS to speak to my Mother's alma mater, piggybacking off Berry and Jax. St. but it did not work out.
Former Bama Lt. Governor candidate and Wallace Road Administrator, JSU trustee, the Honorable Jamie Red Etheredge, said he would be delighted to chauffeur Riley from Berry to Collinsville and on to JSU if the grand plan came together.
Didn't work out, but now that I have talked to Artur on the phone, maybe he can come up.

Here is the kerygma of the story Tyson tells about Gaffney in Jumpin' Jim Crow, editted by Simon and Dailey, published by Princeton press

Original Post NOv 9
You need to click on this background context first for what follows to make better sense.

I met Tim Tyson tonight and got his autograph in the book he wrote. Some things you read cut deep and Tyson cut as deep as anything Marshall Frady has written, though there was only one Marshall Frady. The story is strong is what I am saying.
I had no idea that Gaffney was one of the first stories Tyson had written up. There was an attempted dynamite bombing of Dr. Sanders home in 1956. It didn't make the papers anywhere, according to Tyson. It was a keystone cops attempt by the Klan, but one of the three who turned informant "fell" on his car repeatedly a few weeks later and died.
I was captured by the book as it was, and to have this Gaffney story come out tonight when I was getting the book autographed; well I just had to testify during the Q and A; a story I have told friends for the last 30 years; this one kinda comic relief.
Tyson liked it. Because my Dad is gone now and Momma too, I coulda gotten emotional right there in McCalister where I had my big break in 73 as the emcee to Homecoming Festival show that year, a packed house with Herman Lay of Pepsi and Fritos in the audience; but I kept it together.
So I tell a few stories about the high achievers, black folks I knew in Gaffney in the first years of school desegregation, Fletcher and Dawkins and Charles Foster.
Then I tell about Dad going to the Softball games down at McCluney Park out Indian Hill street toward Joe Mack Skinner's home.
So I tell that Donnie Littlejohn who anchored the offensive line for Furman when they played in the Championship Game in Chattanooga in 2002, how I knew his Mom and Dad in Gaffney.
And back in 74 Donnie Rae, Donnie's Dad, and Ulysees Dawkins are playing softball in the championship tournament and Dad is down the third base line harassing them, teasing and going on as he loved to do.
Bout the bottom of the 7th, Donnie Rae is on third and Ulysees is on 2nd and Dad hollers out:" Donnie Rae, you know who you're playing for, don't you.
And Donnie Rae says yeah preacher, we're playin for Gaffney Tire.
And Daddy says you know who owns Gaffney Tire, don't you
And Donnie Rae called his name.
And Daddy Says, don't you know he is the Head man in the Ku Klux Klan in Upstate South Carolina.
to which Donnie Rae hollers to Ulysees (Pic) on Second and says
Pic, Preacher say we playin for the Klan.
And Pic hollers back and says tell the Preacher that's okay, We winnin ain't we.

Great story, true story.
In the tradition of Pearl the exquisite character in E L Doctorow's The March, page 240.

Tyson concedes it is all complicated. He said the recent autobiography by Jesse Helms is a "
"sheath of lies."
Tyson has recently facilitated a joint reading of his book by Trinity Prez, a wealthy white congregation downtown Atlanta, and King's Ebenezer.
I appeal to the progressive Christian community in Gaffney and I know they are there among the Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, and a couple black churches in which I visited Saturday, to begin the process to have a group reading of Tyson and bring him there, a place about which he wrote one of his first stories.
Stephen Fox
Nov. 8, 2006


Blogger foxofbama said...

Tyson tells the story about Gaffney'sDr. James Sanders and his wife Claudia and the 1956 dynamite attempt on their home, in a collection of essays published by Princeton U Press titled Jumpn Jim Crow: From Civil War to Civil Rights. Tyson's effort in that book is Dynamite and the Solid South. He interviewed the Sanders in 93 for the essay.
You can also google up a 2000 story in Creative Loafing about it all by a Gaffney native of the 40's and 50's, John Grooms.

9:35 PM  

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