Episcopal Seminarian Daniels Preaching in Alabama, as Photographed by His Co-Seminarian, Judith Upham The Texas Observer A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South OCTOBER 29, 1965 25c ‘But My Heart Is Black’ By Jonathan Myrick Daniels SHOT DEAD AT HAYNEVILLE, ALABAMA, NEAR SELMA, ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 20, 1965 Reality is kaleidoscopic in the black belt. Now you see it; now you don’t. The view is never the same. Climate is an affair of the soul as well as the body: today the sun sears the earth, and a man goes limp in its scorching. Tomorrow and yesterday sullen rain chills bones and floods unpaved streets. Fire and ice … the advantages of both may be obtained with ease in the black belt. Light, dark, white, black : a way of life blurs, and the focus shifts. Black, white, black . . . a rhythm ripples in the sun, pounds in steaming, stinking shacks, dances in the blood. Reality is kaleidoscopic in the black belt. Sometimes one’s vision changes with it. A crooked man climbed a crooked tree on a crooked hill. Somewhere, in the midst of the past, a tenor sang of valleys lifted up and hills made low. Death at the heart of life, and life in the midst of death. The tree of life is indeed a Cross. Darkly, incredibly, the interstate highway that had knifed through Virginia and the Carolinas narrowed and stopped. It was three o’clock in the morning and bitterly cold. We found it difficult to believe that we were actually back in the South. But in the twinkling of an eye our brave, clean highway became a backwoods Georgia road, deep in Cracker country, and we knew we were home. We were low on gas and miles from a point on the map, miles from sanctuary in Atlanta. We found a gas station and stopped. While one of us got the tank filled, the other went to the outdoor phone. Our Massachusetts plates seemed to glow in the night. As I shivered in the phone booth, I saw, through a window, white men turn and stare. Then my eye caught the sign over the door . . . WHITE ONLY. We had planned to get a Coke to keep us awake until Atlanta, but I guessed I no longer cared. I heard the operator speak and then Father Scott in Atlanta. His voice was sleepyand tired and it took him a minute to recall our meeting at the airport a week or two before. Then he shifted into gear, and I received precise instructions. We would find a small street at the end of the night and a certain door. We would knock and say
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.