Real Talk for July 4, 2015

(Here is a conversation I can imagine having with the President of the United States and First Lady Michelle Obama. They just seem to be real people compared to some of the stiffs we have had in the White House. This picture just confirms what I suspect that they are just warm and friendly people -CHII)

What do I mean by real people or real talk? I am referring to people who are genuine and are opposite of phony. They are people with whom you can have a conversation void of pretense.

Most people, especially politicians, try to show their social side, especially during an election cycle. You’ve seen their publicity film on the national news, eating a hamburger, slice of pizza or hotdog with the common folk at the neighborhood eatery. After winning the election, they retreat back into that congressional twilight zone. They only reappear when they are putting out spin stories for the press to feed to the public. You watch their lips moving, hear them speaking, absorb the words coming from their mouth and wonder if they think you and the American Public are really that stupid. You really can’t take that stuff personally because you know their words are aimed at a certain voting segment in this country. Please keep that in mind as we listen to the run up to the 2016 national election.

Yet, every now and then I see something that inspires me. Something that let me knows there are still politicians out there that show real emotion at the drop of a hat. This picture of Barack and Michelle is one such instance. This picture is so real; it makes me want to meet them and have a face to face conversation.

Don’t they look and act like people you can walk up to and say…”Hey, Barack…let me holler at you a minute. Oh yeah, Michelle, wow, I am so glad to meet you two in person. Please… this is my wife, Sandy Candy. Oh, let me stop, her name is really Sandra. Can we all sit-down and have a cup of coffee, a glass or wine or something?  Since I don’t drink coffee, I will take a diet Pepsi if you got one…or lemonade whichever is convenient. Oh Wow!  This White House is really amazing. The historic significance of it all is just…well, there are no words.”

I am so glad to see you two in person. Do you play whiz or spades? I mean I don’t want to seem impetuous but what’s happening Barack? How you been? You hanging in there huh? Yeah, I know what you mean. We all are just a couple of paychecks away from poverty. I heard you just won a couple of rounds at the Supreme Court, Obama Care or the Affordable Care Act as it’s really called. And that Same Sex Marriage ruling, man…Republicans keep thinking you are dead and buried and you keep rising like the Lazarus Man.” (A big round of laughter from everybody, especially the president)  Right, but…, President Obama starts to say. “Yeah I know, oh I’m sorry I interrupted, you lost one with that EPA thing but hey. It is a conservative court. What’s that baby? I am not going to ask her if she has extensions. Besides I think that is her natural hair. Oh, Michelle, you say it is your natural hair. See I told you, Sandra.”

“Speaking of hair, man…I remember when you didn’t have a gray hair on your head. It comes with the job, you say. I heard that…”

Anyway, I bet both of you are thinking about what you are going to do in January of 2017. From all I’ve heard, Michelle, you can hardly wait. No…I am not rude baby, I’m just telling like it is. These are our new friends. They are real people. They respect and respond to an honest conversation. What’s that…oh, thanks Barack for having my back. I mean that…for this conversation and all the things you have done for all Americans.

“What’s that baby, wow, you are right. Barack, Michelle I am so sorry, I have just dominated this conversation. After all, we just met you as we were touring this magnificent White House. I am sure you are busy. Come on baby, let’s move on and let them get on with their schedule. So… nice to have met you two, here is my business card. Next time either of you is in San Francisco, call me. We’re just across the Bay Bridge in Pittsburg. Stop on by and we can have lunch and another real conversation. We will probably throw something on the grill. Hey, don’t worry about it, we’re originally from Milwaukee so we know what you ‘all Chicago folks like. We are out…call me you hear.”

I’ve just given you a taste of my wild imagination, but the point should not be lost. Barack and Michelle Obama are not your normal run or the mill people or politicians. Besides the fact that are really nice people.  Historians are going to point out the president’s blunders, and missteps compared to his accomplishments. They are going to write about how those accomplishments were gained despite the opposition. In my view, there has never been a president (except Abraham Lincoln) that had to deal with so much opposition, some of which came from his own party. Remember the conservative senate democrats that opposed Affordable Health Care just before its initial passage in the Senate? Think about the money spent to avoid this man reelection in 2008. Every day in the past since that election up through today, no matter what he does, it was not the right thing to do according to Fox News analyst and all Republicans. He is the only American president where I have ever seen placards (Tea Party Rallies, etc.) with him pictured as Adolf Hitler, mustache and all in full Nazi uniform. Yet you never heard a peep about it from the national media.

One day our history books are going to show that President Barack Obama was one of the most accomplished presidents this country has ever seen. Historians are already comparing his record with Frankly D Roosevelt. Just for a quick reference, FDR brought this country back from the Great Depression and through World War II.

It brings to mind a favorite cartoon of mine from the Cagle Post and Cartoons. It depicted George Bush, with cowboy hat and on horseback. He rode off into the sunset. His horse had reared up in a Lone Ranger-Hi-Ho Silver styled salute with him smiling and waving his hat while saying goodbye.  The picture went on to depict little trails of horse manure left behind with each name designated pile. Words like Bail-out, Deficit, Economic Crisis, Iraq War, Housing Crash, Unemployment, were written on each pile. And in the background you see this figure of newly elected President Obama with a broom and pulling a garbage can as he scoops up each pile. It is an obvious reference to cleaning up the crap G Dubya left behind. The caption read something like “They always leave a mess for us to clean up.”

I thought it was priceless along with the enormity of issues that needed to be addressed in 2009 and beyond. We can look back at that on this July 4th, of 2015 weekend and say, a job well done Mr. President. People can always said, he didn’t do enough for black people, or he didn’t do this or that. You know, the old Monday morning quarterbacking routine. The one thing no one can deny is that he has and continues to make real progress in how we as people and politicians address problems. All in all, he has made a difference where John McCain and Mitt Romney would not have had they been elected.  As a country, we are better off with President Obama in office. Historians will bear that out in the history books. So on this holiday let’s give credit where credit is long overdue. And above all, let’s not forget our United States of America troops and their families’ sacrifices from the War of Independence, the Civil War through the undeclared skirmishes’ of today. They are the reason we can sit and enjoy whatever degree of freedom you think you have in this county.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-4e

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

Get my latest book, a collection of my Blogs/Articles from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

                     

                     

Prelude and In Honor of My Father

Following is a rewrite of a blog I wrote back in 2009, republished in 2013 in honor of Father’s Day. It is included in my latest book entitled “The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp.” More importantly, it was an inspiration for my next book, which is about the life and times of my father. Look for its release during this September/October timeframe. For this Father’s Day, allow me to repost an updated version of “In My Fathers Honor.” A faded but priceless picture from mid to late fifties. Left to right (My stepsister Johnny Mae, me, my stepmother Rosalie, baby sister, Delois Ann, and the man himself, Codis Hampton.) 

Those who know me, often hear me talk about my father in glowing terms. Many of my “old school” crowd has or had fathers with attitudes in the same mode. He worked hard and played hard. He was so full of, yet simply enjoyed life. He said what he meant and meant what he said, and did not like repeating himself. When I was a young lad, there were numerous teachable moments. If he gave us the warning to get our act together and we did not hear or misunderstood him. His famous words were “You heard what I said.” At that point, we better figure it out because if we made that same mistake that brought on his warning in the first place? Well, let’s just say that Papa did not take no stuff.

It took my hard head years to figure out that he was truly doing these things for my benefit. Another one of his favorite sayings was “I’ve been down the same road you are traveling.” While, in my teenage, and smart mouth years, I would reply, “But daddy, the roads have been paved, there are new things to see and conquer.” It was an obvious reference to him growing up in the South. Now, I laugh when I think about it. Because, he would just look at my dumb butt and say “Keep on living son, keep on living.”

Codis Hampton worked for the City of Milwaukee for twenty-eight years and retired (2-17-1985) as a trash collector. He was one of the men that walked behind the truck, emptying neighborhood houses trash receptacle. Today it is called recycling. Often, he would bring home items people threw away and repair them. We would use it, or he would sell it for extra spending cash. At times, he would have a basement full of old fans, toys, radios, and other small appliances. The bounty was a bonus for him working the wealthy side of Milwaukee. Some of our neighborhood kids teased me because they would not differentiate between a trash and garbage collector. I just laughed, for my family of small means, it was like shopping. “What you get today, daddy?” He once told me they offered him the truck driving position at one time.  He turned it down. A position change would interfere with his hustle.

In the wintertime, it almost took him twenty minutes to get out of his clothes.  He would have so many layers on to keep away the hawk. Yeah, Milwaukee, we knew “The Hawk” (cold weather) up close and personal. His message to his kids, get an education, and you will land a “good job”. He, like all parents, wanted his kids to be better than their parents. He probably never knew, but I always felt being a better man than my father would be a tough job. He was just that unique in my eyes.

Daddy grew up in Banks Arkansas. He moved his family (me and my mother) to Milwaukee when I was four months old. Being from Arkansas, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and all the country stuff. We went fishing almost every weekend of the summers. During our teenage years, my stepsister and I didn’t want to go. We wanted to hang out with friends. Eventually, they trusted us to stay home. Did that mean party time in the house? Not hardly, because if we had brought a bunch of kids to the house while they were fishing, and they found out about it. We would have had to leave town. Did I say Papa did not take no stuff? Although, he was the most loving and caring man you would ever want to meet.

My father was soft spoken, a man of few words. That is until he had his weekend drink. Imagine having a conversation with him on the front porch of a bright summer day. The next door neighbor might play a James Brown record. He hears the music. Daddy would stop the conversation, yell “That’s my record or jam”, and break off into one of his dance routines. That could be any record, R&B, Blues, or even Country Western, anywhere, or any time he was in a playful mood. He just had to dance and dance he did. I’ve got a picture of my father in a hat, dress shirt and pleated dress slacks with a dirty spot on one knee. That’s right; invariably he would do a half split or just go down on his knees and slowly gyrate back up never missing a beat.

Just as it was in a lot of households in those days (late fifties, early sixties), daddy did not want his wife working, so my stepmother was a housewife. She was responsible for me, my stepsister, and after their birth, my younger half-sister and brother. I was the oldest. I thought we were poor, according to the standards of some of the neighborhood kids. Sometimes Santa Clause skipped our house altogether. We always had a Xmas tree, decorations, and visits from family and friends. Gifts were items of need, like school clothes and new shoes. Or in my case those doggone black ankle high “Brogan Boots.” They had a metal tap plate on the front and a metal horseshoe-like plate for the heel. They also had a steel toe. They were similar to today’s safety shoes for hazardous workplaces.  One could not tear up that boot with a blow torch. At times, I used everything but, trying to destroy those boots. I think one pair would last something like two years. For maintenance, all I had to do was polish them.  After which they would look…polished.  I was so glad when I turned thirteen. I did not have to wear them anymore.

We never went a day without food or a hot meal from my stepmother. Never went a day without clean and freshly iron clothes. We never came home to a nasty house unless there was a gathering culminating with them playing cards and drinking on a Friday or Saturday. Either way, Mama Rosalie had that house spic and span by the next day. Little doilies placed on the arm of the couch. Pillows smartly placed where they should be, end and cocktail table shining with furniture polish, clean ashtrays for company. She would put out one or two ashtrays that could be used by the guest. We had ashtrays for show that were never used. And cook, she is the only woman I’ve ever known that could make beans, neck bones and cornbread taste like a Rib- eye steak dinner, with all your favorite side dishes. She was also the first lady I called my friend. That was partly because she liked to talk and would try to answer my questions.  All we had to do was to keep our bedrooms clean. In our house, everything had a place and everything was in place.

It was not only my house. Most neighbors and family members I knew kept a clean house and somehow dust free. Now, I often wonder where all this dust was when I was a kid. Oh, there were the exceptions and everybody in the neighborhood knew the identity of that family. Why? The entire neighborhood talked about them.

I was living the American Dream at home and did not even know it. I learned more about being a man, being part of a family and life itself from watching my dad live his life. As previously stated, the men back then did not talk a lot. There were times I wanted him to explain things to me. Now that I look back on it and being as inquisitive as I am, he probably felt like he did not have the time to explain every little thing in long detail to me. I practically ran the nuns crazy at St. Benedict (Grade and later, Jr high school) asking them about God and racial relations.

All in all, he was a great dad. I would not have had him behave in any other way. He taught me by words and deeds. After moving my family out west, (1978), I would always call him, a couple of uncles, cousins, and my mother. Living a Long distance from family, each of you not so sure when you will see each other again, has a tendency to eliminate all taboo subjects. Conversations were meaningful, heartfelt, and simply enjoyable.  These were people who I missed talking too, seeing or simply being in their presence. I learned so much more about them and from them during those conversations than I ever knew.

Today, many of them have passed on; I will never again talk to them on this earth.  My father died of a stroke (January 14, 1988), twenty days before his 63rd birthday. I knew at the time how important it was for me to have had those memorable conversations with him. Especially… those that were between a once knuckled-headed son and a very understanding father. You think you and your homies are close, try family. That is a real bond of blood for life and eternity.

So today, or on his special day, if you have the opportunity to look into your father’s eyes, smile at him.  He probably is not really looking for flowers, candy, or some other small gift from you this Father’s Day. That’s not the way daddy’s roll. You might just catch him staring at you. Know that he stares because he is looking at his finished product, so to speak. You, just happen to be the one great legacy or gift he gave this world. He looks at you knowing that in you, he has placed in this world another part of himself. The remainder of his dreams and aspirations are in you. Oh, he won’t say it because he doesn’t want to put a large burden on you. But you can bet your last bottom dollar, he wants you to carry on. That is the way daddy’s roll.

On a personal note, I’m having so much fun reminiscing while working on daddy’s book. It’s a pleasure to write about the man for whom I give the credit (besides God) for making me into the man I am today. I just wish you all had met him. You would have remembered him because he was the kind of individual that left a lasting impression. RIP, I love and miss you, Daddy.    

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-3L

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

Get my latest book, a collection of my blogs from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

European Tourist, Black Churches and Race

A few weeks ago a friend and business colleague of mine posted pictures on his Facebook site of European tourist standing in line to enter black churches. My colleague was enjoying a vacation in New York while sending back photos of interest. The churches, doubling as tourist attractions are located in New York City (NYC). My mind, being what it is, first thought was…this a wonderful idea. As long as church members didn’t mind, why not accommodate the visitors?

Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who had not heard of this practice. By the time I saw his post, my vacationing friend had dozens of comments. They ranged from surprised, befuddlement, and suspicion with most in agreement to let the visitors see and learn.

It immediately sent me into research mode. Well…how long has this been going on you ask? If you are not familiar or heard of the practice, it seems to have caught a few national journalist attentions in 2012. The actual practice began in early 1980 and has become part of NYC Tour Company’s itinerary. Some of which are selling tickets at charges up to $55 per person, and providing most participating churches a cut of the profit. Plus you can be sure each church goes through their donation process to take advantage of all these visitors.  Naturally it brings about several questions, problems, and issues. What are the pros and cons? What do the church members think? How about the Pastor and Deacons? What do they think about this practice? Do the financial gains outweigh members or church officials concerns? Oh yes…there is that word again, finance. In other words is everybody concerned getting their fair share of the cash flow?

After taking a look at the NYC European tourist history and current practice, for me, there is a deeper issue. It is centered on how we as a people are portrayed in today’s media. Better yet, how much time should we give in an attempt to balance out the tendency of our white owned-managed national and local media? Those tendencies are targeted to an overwhelming majority of white readers or electronic viewers.  It reminding me of another recent headline, that went something like, is it the black folks responsibility to educate white people about race issues?

And…taking into account the past Memorial Day, it brought back another old memory for me. Back in the sixties, I took a Greyhound bus ride home from a US Army post (Fort Carson, Colorado). I could have taken a plane, but the bus ride wasn’t a long trip to Milwaukee. I was just getting out of basic training and wanted to save a little bit more spending money.  After all, I was looking forward to a little R&R with assorted partying on the side.

Anybody who has been on a bus knows that it stopped at every little nook and cranny town and corner bus terminal on its way to Chicago ending up in Milwaukee. One of our stops was in some little godforsaken spot south of the boonies. I got out and went into the little bit larger than a bathroom sized terminal to get a candy bar. We had already been told by the bus driver that lunch could be bought further on up the road.

The moment I walked into the little outlet, all eyes were on me including somebody’s dog that started barking. Since I was still a little groggy from just waking up, it finally dawns on me what was going on. I was a dark black man in a full US Army dress uniform, shining metal coat buttons, and spit-shined shoes. Keeping in mind I was also the only black person on the bus and certainly in the little bus stop.

As I made my way to the vending machine, one little blond hair girl was staring so long, I could actually see the fear in her eyes. I walked forward toward the machine which was to the right of the ticket window. She began to back up, feeling for her mother’s leg who was transacting business at the ticket agent’s window.  Her eyes were wide and fixed on me. I smiled and waved to no avail. For a second, she reacted in kind but evidently thought better of it and decided to take the cautious route. The girl let out a low whimper and turned to grab onto her mother’s leg. The mother was temporarily startled by her daughters’ action. With an annoyed facial expression, while attempting to reassure her daughter, the mother turned around to see what or who caused such a reaction. By then I must have been about six feet away from them. She placed her arm around her daughter and called out her name advising the youngster to “settle down and be quiet.”  Looking directly at me, she immediately understood what had almost set off her little girl. She smiled at me and admonished her daughter telling her “that soldier is not going to bother you.” Still fondling her daughters head pressed against her leg she returned to transacting her business with the ticket agent. I bought three candy bars and gave the little girl one of them. Her mother immediately took the candy out of her daughter’s hand and saying “you can have this later.” She nodded to me with a smile and turned back to taking care of her ticket window transaction.

As I settled in my seat, I remember thinking, I was probably the first black person that little girl had ever seen up close and personal. That was why I made the conscious effort of offering her the candy bar. I wanted to reassure her, as did her mother, there was nothing to fear from me.

Back in the early sixties while traveling as a soldier, there were similar incidents. Believe it or not, most odd reactions and staring came from adults rather than kids. At the time, a soldier must be in a full dress uniform when traveling to get a servicemen ticket rate. My family use to tease me. They wondered why the only time they saw me in uniform was when I arrived or was leaving home. I avoided wearing it during my R&R times because…sooner or later somebody in the hood would always want to challenge a uniformed soldier to a fist-fight. Sometimes all they needed was to hear you were in the military. They always wanted to test your toughness. I don’t know, I guess it was just a street thing.

As for the stares and the little girls’ reaction, remember this was the early sixties. Besides Amos and Andy, several appearances by Nat King Cole or Sammy Davis Jr. on the Ed Sullivan Show, blacks on TV were null and void. Where else would white folks come in contact with black people? Not in those small towns and rural areas.

Too much you say. Again, why should we act as educators on race issues? I say, because like it or not, we are ambassadors for our race when we are out and about in public. And frankly, it doesn’t matter if we are in mixed or non-mixed company. Remember Chris Rock’s rant, “I love black people but I hate (you know the word).”  We, as do all races, including white people always represent our race-ethnicity in dealing with the public on a daily basis. Why because, every time someone begins talking about an incident they observed, were involved in, or heard about they always mention the person’s race. If they don’t, somebody listening to the story will ask…was they black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc., etc. It’s because we, especially in this country are obsessed with race.  I don’t necessary like it either…but somethings are out of our control. People are going to look at people through a racial microscope, good or bad. We are just trying to project who people of color really are, not somebody’s twisted imagination of who they think we are.

Just as some of you hate reading these race issue articles, I hate writing them. But then, I am compelled, no…not forced, I enjoy acting as a counterpart to the Bill O’Reilly’s, Sarah Palin’s, Rush Limbaugh’s of the world? Add an occasional slip of the tongue by some politician, entire political parties that thrive on creating a hostile “we against them” environment. Or attacks on our voting rights by Republican Governors, there is no shortage of voices needed to combat these forces.  These people need to be checked, rebuffed and corrected every time they voice an ignorant opinion. We all need to be involved and aware at all times.

We ought not to display our talents to others as if we are in a zoo, but rather on stage. When someone wants to see us at prayer, play, or exercising our abilities in the Arts, we should accommodate them. We should be glad to education those who have a natural inclination to see who we really are in our natural habitat, so to speak.  Anytime that black folks can have a real teachable moment or event that contradicts stereotypes, we should take advantage.

We are a people born with special qualities that some may not possess. That does not mean we are better than any other race. What it does mean is we are and should be responsible caretakers of our heritage and customs. These are very special traits that should be passed on to our young. Our children, who are smarter than we were at their age will have the same responsibility. They will pass it on to their children. If the History of Race in America has taught us anything, it’s that we can never become complacent. That just the way it is my people.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-3o

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

Get my latest book, a collection of my Blogs/Articles from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Black Legends of The Wild, Wild West, Part I, #BHM

This is the first article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. Originally publised in April of 2015, republised today in celebration of our Black History Month of 2020. Today we take a look at U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves.

620bass-reeves-portraitlarge

The subject matter and individual I’m writing about this Black History Month cause me to be reflective of my personal history. I remember when I was a nine, ten, eleven-year-old kid living in Milwaukee. Yes, it was that red brick apartment building located on thirteenth and Juneau that many have heard me lovingly refer too.

It reminds me of Saturday mornings spent watching ‘Tales of the Texas Rangers,’ Lash LaRue, the Lone Ranger, and yes, even Roy Rogers as well as other Cowboy television programs. We would eat breakfast and hurry to the living room to watch my father’s, subsequently, our favorite shows.  I had a makeshift holster and belt. It was just a blue boy scout’s belt with the shiny brass buckle running through a leather holster that held my trusty six-shooter. I would tie that holster down to my right thigh with an old shoestring just like a real gunfighter.

Talk about imagination; I was full of daydreams during those years. Whenever my friends or cousins came over, we would play in my back yard. We’d use the fifty-gallon oil drums sitting on A-frame stands as horses; throw rags and an old blanket over the barrel as saddles. It didn’t help, because after we finished playing and went back inside? My stepmother would smell the coal oil residue on my pants and me. I would get another warning about her having to wash those pants in with other clothes spoiling the pleasant aroma she was creating with detergent fresher of some type. I am not sure, but I think after several warnings, she washed my play pants with daddy’s work pants.

Back then (mid-fifties), all the cowboys seen on television, movies were white. My father always told me not to worry about it because there were black cowboys in the old west.  Just because television program writers didn’t write about them, did not mean they didn’t exist. He’d tell me, I can be anything I want to be, but make sure you’re the best at whatever you choose. So in my mind, it was my blackface riding that horse chasing rustlers, bank robbers and fighting range wars. I would imagine myself, family members, and other people I knew, would be just as comfortable in the old west as anybody.  Of course, later on in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, the public did see black faces appearing in cowboys, gangsters and all kinds of entertainment. It was readily known that Sammy Davis Jr was a fast draw expert in real life, seen as a frequent guest star in several of the cowboy television series. By that time, I’d hung up my gun and holster, turned to chase girls instead of rustlers and the like.

One such real live lawman who roamed the old west while dishing out justice was U.S. Deputy Marshall Bass Reeves.  Born as a child of slaves in Paris, Texas, in 1838, he served as a water boy until old enough to become a field hand. He became his master’s body servant and personal companion at an even older age.

Bass reportedly ran away after beating up his master (George Reeves) after some dispute during a card game. He found a haven by living with the Seminole and Cherokee Indians, where he developed his skills with the pistol and rifle. It’s also where he became fluent in several Native American languages, finally freed in Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation order of 1863.

Moving to and buying farmland in Van Buren Arkansas, while marrying Nellie Jennie a year later. He would go on to father ten children (five girls and five boys) from this union. Although the family lived happily on the farm, Frontier Law answered Bass’s restlessness and yearning for adventure.

He was appointed as part of a 200-deputy crew by U.S. Marshall, James Fagan in 1875, because of his specific knowledge of the Indian Territory and his ability to speak their language. At the time, the area had become inundated with outlaws, thieves, and murderers looking for an area that before had no federal or state jurisdiction. With a patrolling area covering 75,000 square miles, the deputy’s instructions were to bring in the perpetrators dead or alive.

Bass-Reeves-group-cropped

At 38 years old, he was the first black U.S. Deputy Marshall to serve in that capacity west of the Mississippi River. Known as being courteous and impeccably dressed in his boots polished to a shine, he rode a large reddish stallion with a white-blazed face. While marshaling in the Oklahoman Native American Territory, over his 32 years of service, credited with killing fourteen outlaws and having arrested 3,000 felony lawbreakers of all kind. At 6’2”, approximately 200 pounds, he was ambidextrous with a reputation for being quick, accurate and deadly with his two guns. He was just as skilled with a rifle. Maybe that is why in all those years, he never suffered a gunshot wound, although his hat was shot off more than a few times. A big man with those kinds of skills had to be imposing enough to look at much less take on in a gunfight.

One of his most emotional and personal manhunts involved the apprehension of his son, Benny Reeves. The warrant charged his son with the murder of his young wife. The ultimate fair-minded Bass Reeves demanded the assignment as other deputies were reluctant to take the job because it was his son. In 1902, after a two-week trek into the badlands, he found and arrested his son. Returning him to Muskogee, Oklahoma to face trial, he turned him over to Marshal Bennett. Benny was tried, convicted and served twenty years at Leavenworth for the crime. A citizen’s partition was instrumental in gaining his pardon and early release, after which he spent the rest of his life without further incidents with the law.

By 1907, Oklahoma became a state, and Reeves Deputy US Marshal Commission ended. He was 68 years old. He moved on to join the Muskogee Police Department until his health became a problem while attempting to carry out his duties.  Bass Reeves died of Bright’s disease in 1910. There are several books and articles written and available today. His life and exploits as a US Deputy Marshall was the subject of a movie entitled Bass Reeves, released in 2010. James A. House played the leading character. He confided that when independent filmmaker and owner of the San Ponderous Productions contacted to play the part, he “didn’t even know who Bass Reeves was.”

Here was a man who could not read or write. He had to have others read his warrants to him before searching for various outlaws. He would memorize the details from that reading, including which warrant was for whom.  When serving the document, he never failed to pick out the correct warrant belonging to a specific outlaw. It is amazing to me how our people always found a way to adjust and make progress on whatever job they had to do. That is an important legacy they left us, the ability to improvise. To this day, we use those skills in our everyday lives. Deputy Marshall Reeves goes down in US history as one of the greatest frontier heroes this country has ever known. And once again, my father proved to be right. There was black folk roaming the Wild West.  Look for Part II next week.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

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We present the republication of the Authors’ tour of South Korea as a 17-year-old GI with Unchon-ni. Check out the details at https://outskirtspress.com/Unchonni

We are in a continuing effort to publicize, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. Based on the life of the Authors Grandmother. The Novel examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of his fifth book, Misguided Intentions. A book where family relationships questioned to the core. Read MI’s review at https://redheadedbooklover.com/gracie-hall-hampton-codis-hampton-ii/  Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions   

Get any of his books by visiting my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

Look for new books, updates of current titles, and submission of short articles to major magazines upcoming in 2020. We love to pass on our written word. – HampOur Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at http://hcoa.net/ and http://www.chiia.com/home.html. Our Retail Site is https://frostyltd.com/frosty-ltd-com

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment.