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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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Miss Mississippi 1963 and Gaffney SC

   I have aspirations for this blog to be published in some fashion. And I have a postscript in mind. So check back on it in a week or a month.......    


       Last Sept 9 I posted a blog on the Fox Family leaving Gaffney SC in the summer of 78. Since then compliments of a former SGA president of Samford University I've gotten my hands on a copy of Hodding Carter II's So the Heffners Left McComb which I make reference in the blog.

     Red and Malva Nave Heffner were deep rooted in white Mississippi when as progressive Episcopalians they had two white civil rights workers in their home the Freedom Summer of 1964. Within a month these parents of Miss Mississippi 1963 were run out of town.

    The 1965 book a feature of the Mississippi Book festival last August was spotlighted on a sterling panel late summer on Cspan's weekend booktv. The newly reprinted edition complete with magnificent new intro by McComb native Trent Brown is a must item for every personal library of a student of that era, and should be on the shelves of any decent public library in the Southeast.

  As a back cover blurb says of the book, it was a summer of "white apartheid" in Misssissippi. 

    The Fox family in the mid 70s faced a similar though admittedly lesser tension in Gaffney and my father left for a church in Knoxville. My sister brought several groups of mission friends and other friends home from Mars Hill College, one that included a basketball player of color and a white missionary's son and about eight white girls. That got rumored to be my sister's fiancé, the person of color and the end was nigh after too many black boys playing basketball in our back yard.

   And as the early summer of 78 played out I had an unforgettable phone conversation with a former school board member of the late 60's who was enamored with Strom Thurmond and George Wallace's Freedom of Choice School plan as the end of Never had arrived and full school integration was at hand.

    With some of the drama that played out fellow had gotten to the point where he said he "could stand on my toes and beat my ass into the ground!" Apparently I had pushed some buttons. Two years earlier my father spoke at the Black Limestone Street Baptist Church funeral for a friend of the family who was accidentally shot and killed by his Sister. Their sister became the Mother later of Donald Simms the mixed race grandson of South Carolina Governor Dick Riley's best friend Don Gannt as they grew up together.
 
    Gov Riley stayed in Gant's home on College Drive in Gaffney in  76 when he ran for Governor of South Carolina. That home was bombed in 1956, then home of a Doctor whose wife had made a mild declaration on race. Duke's Tim Tyson wrote that up in the collection Dynamite and the Silent South, in the essay collection Jumpn Jim Crow.

     The Monday after my father spoke at the funeral a fellow at Stephenson Ford asked him, Preacher are you okay. There was a rumor on CB radio around Goucher community over the weekend your house was gonna be blown up.

      See the blog of Sept 9. Read this book, the new edition with new forward by Trent Brown. It is riveting memoir. A concluding excerpt of the new intro follows. This book was a feature of the Mississippi book festival last fall.

      Gaffney was good to me on the whole. The only time I got beat up was by a group of black boys the last day of school my eleventh grade. It was the tithes and offerings of the good people of Bethany Baptist Church that put food on our table for 16 years and statewide Baptists through Furman gave me an extraordinary opportunity with a 15 percent discount as the son of a Baptist minister.

    Johnny Dawkins has been a lifelong friend since the days of integration in Gaffney. A year older than me he finished High School in 1970 two years into full integration. One of two black athletes to stay on the football team, he was a star running back who went on to Mars Hill and then to Southern Cal film school

    He wrote early script for Denzel Washington, and had several credits on St Elsewhere and Ed Asner networked projects. He was nominated for an Emmy with his ABC Afterschool special the Hero Who Couldn't Read starring Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

   Over the years, most open in the last ten, we have discussed Gaffney. He has several great stories about conversations with John Hamrick in the late 60's. Mr. Hamrick a former president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, had a private audience with President Ford in 1974.

    He was also the key strategist, church laymen who gave tireless hours in the fifties to the creation of Bethany Baptist church which my father came to pastor as a mission of the First Baptist Church of Gaffney. 

     In those stories Mr Hamrick whose family and network of other influential men kept the town on the map, comes out pretty good. But those are Johnny's stories to tell, at the same time modified by the chapter in Jumpn Jim Crow of the textile politics of Upstate SC in the 40s and 50s.

    And in the last days of our stay in Gaffney I had a conversation with Joe McCluney. Joe was in the real estate and lumber business and rumored to be influential in the Klan. Some of the property of Bethany Baptist Church--I always understood the land for the parsonage we lived in for 14 years--was given to the church by McCluney.

   Among the many in the absentee congregation my Dad ministered to over the years was Joe McCluney. I asked him what he woulda done had my church tried to integrate Bethany in 65.
 
    He said I woulda shot him. I asked him what he thought about my Daddy now, in 78. He said if anybody tried to hurt the preacher, they'd have to go through my ass to get him.

   It is all interesting reading, and anybody who wants as much insight as they can have of that era, So the Heffners Left McComb is necessary reading, and necessary acquisition for your local public library.

    This work still in progress; may be submitted to a progressive national Baptist publication for bigger platform

    
 Trent Brown from Intro of 2016 edition of So the Heffners Left McComb
    .....It has been a hard pill for Mississippians to swallow, but it is nevertheless the truth, that White Missippians had the luxury to notice or not noticing race as the occasion demanded. Nostalgic recollections of the old days in McComb and other Southern Communities can afford to forget Jim Crow because whites were allowed not to think about it. This is not precisely the same thing as saying every white person carries guilt from those years or benefitted tangibly from the subordination of black citizens, although the latter is true. We do not make history in the ways textbooks and popular culture suggests we can. People of McComb went about their getting and spending and lives and religious devotions asking mostly that tomorrow might be better than today and at least no worse. And considerations of responsibility are meaningless if one does not draw a distinction between those people who planted dynamite and those who wished only to live their lives without getting involved one way of another, as surely did the grandparents and the two high school students that summer who would become my parents in 1965. (Trent Brown) .  To demand that any of them should have "done something" about the conditions that prevailed that summer or in the yers leading up to it is to ask more of them than most of us ask of ourselves. But southern whites (of those years and later) must understand that Jim Crow operated in Mc Comb in a direct, visible and often violent way on the black citizens of the community, and the legacies of those years and the failure forthrightly to remember and confront them have something to do with the problems with which we are faced today.

    The Story of the Heffners, then, shows how fragile and how strong at the same time the bonds of white community were in the Jim Crow South. And in many ways, so they remain. In what amounted to an instant, what the Heffners believed about responsibility and belonging turned on them. It is perhaps not to much to ask that in the chronicles of the Jim Crow years in Mississippi it is remembered that the Heffners suffered, too.

6 Comments:

Blogger swaqny Co said...

شركة سوقنى المتخصصة فى التسويق الالكترونى وتنفيذ الخطط التسويقية والترويجية من خلال اشهار المواقع
الالكترونية .. فلدينا متخصصون فى مسك كلمات
واختيار الافضل من بينها فقط تواصل معنا الان

5:27 AM  
Blogger Syanat 3 said...

احصل الان علي صيانة للاجهزة الكهربائية باقل اسعار موجدة في مراكزنا فقط وهي خدمة مراكز صيانة ماجيك شيف الكبري .
http://maintenanceg.com/Magic-Chef-Agent-Egypt.html


12:55 AM  
Blogger almyaa almyaa said...

حرصت مراكز صيانة جولدي علي توفير قطع الغيار الاصلية لصيانة الاجهزة الكهربائية التابعة لتوكيل جولدي العالمي.
https://www.almyaa.com/Goldi-Maintenance/


1:49 AM  
Blogger 3nod Makka said...

تعمل شركة غسيل خزانات بمكة علي عزل خزانات بمكة بافضل طرق العزل وهي العزل المائي والعزل الحراري للخزانات.
http://www.el3nod.com/1/company-tanks-isolation-cleaning-mecca

2:22 AM  
Blogger karmed said...

احصل الان علي مهندسين متخصصين في تركيب قرميد اسباني من خلال اكبر شركات قرميدالمصنوع في شركة البدر .

2:59 AM  
Blogger care olders said...

تقدم لكم دار مسنين بالقاهرة الكثير من الخدمات التي تعمل علي تقديم خدمات ورعاية المسنين من خلال دار رعاية مسنين وايضا اقل اسعار دار المسنين لخدمات الترفيهية

3:41 AM  

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