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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 www.clsnet.org 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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Freedom and the Furman/Upstate History Museum Project

 http://ow.ly/hthbc

  Click on this link above. Proud of my alma mater for this project.

   Over the weekend I have texted family and emailed friends hoping they will participate.
   Even had a chat  Saturday with a Physics PHD at a famous flea market in Alabama about the project. I have read widely and thought maybe too much too often, episodically trying to figure out what happened to me and our family the 16 years we were in Gaffney, S.C. that about 2/3rds in intersected the integration of the public school system.

   I was enchanted with Martin Luther King in those days, cause like my Daddy he was a Baptist preacher.

    My Senior year at Gaffney High, 1971, I was on the School's Bi racial committee. On that committee with me were Charles Foster, who ran Hurdles in the Olympics in Montreal in 76; and Grady Sizemore whose sone in 2007 was the consensus best player in Major League Baseball.

    Our church was a mission of the First Baptist Church of Gaffney, and John Hamrick, the 1974 President of the American Manufacturer's Inst was a key layman in the origins of the congregation in the late 50's.

   So for a season in my 20's I became obsessed with the legacy of race and textile politics in Upstate S.C.

   Nobody got shot in our family but there was a lot of "drama" toward the end of our stay. On her deathbed in 1988 my Mother forgave several folks in the church that were key to the tension, though my father went back to the congregation on several occasions to ratify his witness they were all, always his brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

    For the most part, my soul is rested. I did have a dream one time that Charles Foster hurdled down the aisle on Sunday morning as I was laughing in the choir loft. I remember on a couple occasions I would be out front of the church on a weekday afternoon and he would pass down Wilkinsville Rd to his house and I would laughingly hold up my hand as Stop, no entry if he looked over my way.

   Not welcome here.

   In 2003 or so I was at City Stages in Birmingham, Alabama about two blocks from 16th Street Baptist Church the scene of the Fire Hoses of 1963; and even closer to the Bus Station that is now famous as the ground where Freedom Riders were beaten in 1961.

   Randy Newman was onstage. He's sung about five songs, and I daringly shouted from the Crowd to sing "Rednecks".

    He did. Not as a smart-ass preachers son, not even wayward, but in that moment in Birmingham with all the Holy Dripping Sarcasm of the Song, I was free!

     Post scriptum: Still thinking about all the implications, but Pearl in E. L. Doctorow's novel The March, and her memories of the cotton field in South Georgia, has been a haunting testament to freedom for me for some time; and My Momma, the daughter of a NE Alabama Lincoln Republican who ran for County Schoolboard in the 19 teens and was soundly defeated, pounding out juke joint ragtime music on the piano on a Saturday afternoon in the 70's in the Sanctuary of Bethany Baptist Church, Gaffney, South Carolina:  That's Freedom Too!

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