A Facebook wall announcement at Furman University announcing Jesse Jackson's October 30 presentation there has drawn a lot of flack there, mostly it appears from chumps in the Tea Party in the region and lurkers who want to create a little mischief at my alma mater. But the current student leader of Furman's know nothing conservatives, Lauren Cooley of Ft. Lauderdale, took a shot at Jesse too. She hosted Anne Coulter on campus about three weeks ago.
I have been fighting the good fight in the exchanges reminding the ignorant that Furman great Marshall Frady (FU 63) wrote a bio of Jackson and Jackson preached his eulogy in 2004 at Frady's untimely death. They had an agreement, whichever went first the other would be part of the rites.
My friend Jim Pitts, longtime Furman chaplain, with T.C. Smith who crossed the Selma Bridge in 65 with Martin, read a note from Will Campbell at the funeral.
Ms Cooley apparently knows none of this Furman history. Somebody ought to tell her and she ought to tell Anne Coulter because we don't know if Anne is a Virgin, now do we, we just don't know even after all those scurrilous things she said about the Senator from North Carolina.
Some on Furman's facebook wall have pointed out Jesse Jackson is not a Virgin. But there are other stories about Jackson that like David in the Old Testament, raise his chances when he gets inside the Pearly Gates, and I'm convinced he will. Just see Paul Harvey's Moses Jesus and the Trickster.
I wanted to start this blog. Come back for more Furman related stories about Jackson in a few days. Or check Furman University facebook wall. Jackson's eulogy for Jackie Robinson is already linked there.
Part two. Here are a few high notes in addition to the remarks Jackson made in the Greenville News I will link. I am proud to have met Lucas Black of Speake Alabama when he was about 11 right after his appearance in Sling Blade. And just this spring Lucas did a great job as Pee Wee Reese in the movie 42. I think Lucas and Billy Bob and Jesse Jackson could be friends thought I'm sure their politics would differ on some issues.
Furman historian Courtney Tollison has done a great presentation of Jackie Robinson's poor welcome to Greenville in 1961. Jesse Jackson was most likely on site for that occasion.
My friend Sam Hodges of FU 77 interviewed Jackson for the Orlando Sentinel when Jesse ran for President in 88. Sam said Jackson was kind of difficult, but softened when the conversation got to Furman. Jackson told Sam about throwing basketballs back to Frank Selvy and Darrell Floyd when they practiced free throws on the Old Campus downtown; and how Bob King woulda loved to have had the Sterling High School phenom play football for Furman but the Baptists of the state weren't ready in the early 60's so King helped Jackson get a scholarship to Illinois, for which Jackson was always grateful.
My friend from Gaffney, Fletcher Smith, was Jackson's Mother's longtime state Senator from the district near the old Furman campus in Greenville. And from Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America which Jackson has navigated magnificently; Fletcher and I share a story from Gaffney when Strom appeared at the High School the first year of full intergration, the winter of 69.
Jackson does not get a free pass from me. I was greatly disappointed in his backing of Street James in Newark against Corey Booker in 2002. See the Oscar Nominated doc Street Fight on That one. And whatever misgivings Marshall Frady had about his friend Jesse, I share those too.
Jesse has fault the Good fight. He has had more than his share of miscues along the way. But when his time comes, he will be welcomed home by Martin and Rosa, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin England and Max Heller, Gordon Blackwell and T.C. Smith.
God Bless Jesse Jackson