Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Civil Rights Movement in Alabama

I posted a copy of the inspirational eulogy given to me by Ila Flowers on William Hampton Flowers that is well worth reading.…/A%20Tribute%20to%20William%… If you have not read it, you really should! It will inspire you to be a better person.
The Flowers Family has been prominent throughout the Tri States area of Alabama, Georgia and Florida. As you would see from the eulogy they came from good folks. 
I did an independent study on the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama while earning my Masters. Though I had lived through that time, I really knew little about it and thought to improve my understanding by that study. The annotated bibliography that I submitted was published by the Journal of Negro History.…
They rejected the article that accompanied it entitled The Dialectic of the Civil Rights Movement Embodied in Governor George Wallace, Rev. Martin Luther King and Judge Frank M. Johnson. 
My favorite book from that bibliography was Outside the Magic Circle: the Autobiography of Virginia Durr, wife of Clifford Durr, a relative of Stanhope Elmore's. Hank Elmore told me she attended a birthday party for Virginia Durr in Washington where the high and mighty gathered to celebrate. Durr was a close friend of Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt, and was sister-in-law (through her sister's marriage) to and a good friend of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black who sat on many crucial civil rights cases.…/…/0817305173

Suicide, a commentary on the death of Ron Gaskill, friend

July 13, 2017  So sad. We have a friend/neighbor who killed himself this morning. 
Ron Gaskill helped his brother Dan remodel our guest cottage. Ron then became our go to guy for many other projects. He became a good friend. Joe always paid him more than his estimate because he was always low on his estimates. We knew he suffered depression and was frequently overwhelmed. But he was always cheerful and upbeat with us, joking around.
During the last week he worked for us, he also cleaned up a pool for another client and suffered almost a heat stroke. He was determined to finish because the guy (who lived in a million dollar home) was having a party and he didn't want to let him down. The guy he was working for told him a tale of woe and promised to pay him later. I am glad I do not know that guy's name!
Then Ron's truck broke down and he had to call AAA to tow him to Dan's house where he worked on the truck to no avail. 
This morning, when Dan came to tell us that Ron had driven his truck into a building, he also told us that the guy whose pool he cleaned paid Ron only half of what he owed him.
I cannot help but wonder how people with so many blessings can justify not paying their debts. Knowing Ron, his charge was much less than the value of the job he actually did. 
Ron Gaskill was one of the good guys. A meek and humble man with a heart of gold. He was a devoted brother to Dan, kind and loving to Sallie, Dan's sick wife, and a good friend to Joe and me. He took folks to the doctor and grocery store in that broken down truck, saying he got such a blessing helping those who could not pay him for his services. He mowed lawns for shut ins though he had a bad back. He would not slow down. 
We wish we had known he needed more of us. I rode with him to buy materials last week and we talked of our faith in God. I told him of the Word God had given me recently when I awoke repeating, "If you look for the good in people you will be a good man; but if you look for the good in people and help them to see it in themselves, you will be a GREAT man."
Ron Gaskil was a GREAT man. I lift him up to our Father in Heaven and pray that he will receive this meek and humble man into his loving care knowing how many lives he touched. God bless his soul and grant him a peace that eluded him through life. He will be missed.

Burnt Corn Creek Re-enactment

There will be a re-enactment of the Battle of Burnt Corn Creek this weekend in Brewton, Alabama. I guess my interest in Creek Indian history was whetted by my Grandmother, Eunice Jernigan Gillis, telling us every time we crossed over the bridge at Burnt Corn Creek that this was where the battle of Burnt Corn was fought. What that was or why it was important to us never registered -- until I did my genealogy and discovered that led to Andrew Jackson later asking my fourth great grandfather, Benjamin Jernigan, to settle in that area and herd some cattle. Jackson learned the hard way that an army travels on its stomach and he wanted to be prepared to battle the Spanish who supplied the arms and supplies to the Creeks who were attacked at Burnt Corn by the militia the Red Sticks later returned the favor at the Massacre at Fort Mims August 30, 1813.
Jernigan, according to one of the Escambia County history books, was a neighbor of Jackson in South Carolina. Ironically, he was also married to a Cherokee Indian, Vashti Vann. His friends, Loftin and Loddy Cotton apparently accompanied him and their children intermarried with the Jernigans and were pioneer settlers in Escambia and Santa Rosa County Florida.
Participating in that battle was Josiah Francis, whom I have discovered was a cousin several times removed. He was later executed by Jackson in what came to be known as the First Seminole War. 
This discovery let to my writing Swimming with Serpents (Creek War) and In Pursuit (First Seminole War) mainly from the perspective of the Creek. Everywhere I looked there was history written by the victors (among whom we also had ancestors) But what happened to the Creek and what was their story?