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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.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

April 4, 1968, Gaffney South Carolina

   The pastorium for Bethany Baptist Church of 205 Dogwood Drive had four phones in the sixties, one in the kitchen, one downstairs in the basement between the stairwell and the garage, one in Daddy's study and one in his and Momma's Bedroom. It was the bedroom phone I answered late afternoon 45 years ago. Sandra Darwin, one of the church members said Stephen I know yall are kinda fond of the colored people and if you haven't heard yet Martin Luther King has been killed.

   I thanked her for calling.

   My Daddy was a Baptist preacher and I knew good preachin when I heard it and MLKing was a fabulous preacher. And what he said mattered. I was in the 9th grade, the last year of segregation in Gaffney. Things had been interesting in Gaffney for some time as I found out a few years ago in Tim Tyson's essay in Jumpn Jim Crow. But I had no idea at the time. I just knew King could preach and Daddy would come in on occasion from a conference talking about what Marney had said and Uncle Prentice and Uncle Gordon would have some intense conversation at my Grandfathers in Rome Georgia when the extended family got together.

Both of them were preachers too.

I've read a lot about Martin, from Marshall Frady's bio, to the early Garrow piece and recently Pulitzer Taylor Branch's The King Years. Frady and Branch in particular soar.

In 86 I moved to Bama and not long after was downtown and heard a Baptist deacon say, and could easily been April 4 87 as Momma was still livin and it was this time of year: I say we dig the nigger up and shoot him again.  One of his buddies later said it was a joke; maybe the deacon had a Django Unchained side to him I never quite go.

Last year a Moslem friend and I went to Selma to walk across the Bridge, a highlight of my stay on this earth. I was there with John Lewis and Ethel Kennedy and about 100 thousand other people.

This morn I called John Lewis office in D.C. Talked to an Emory grad from Charleston, S.C. Told him to get word to John was proud of him for speaking at Ga Tech today, and it had crossed my mind as I'm sure Lewis knew well, had King not been assassinated, on April 5 68 he planned to be in Winder, Ga

I've heard my friend Kate Campbell sing the Kris Kristofferson song My God they Killed Him. I hope to be in a room with some good Baptists in Gainesville Ga April 25, The Governor Nathan Deal's home congregation. If she don't sing it after a few numbers I may call it out from the audience.


Blogger Leland Bryant Ross said...

I was with my family in a train station in Japan when someone (Daddy?) brought an English newspaper to us and showed us the headline. Hope you can get Kate to sing it again.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Leland Bryant Ross said...

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8:42 AM  
Blogger Leland Bryant Ross said...

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8:42 AM  

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