ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SOUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512 2153-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! We’re proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours. Call us for quality printing, binding, mailing and data processing services. Get to know the, people at Futura. FUTUM P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760-7427 389-1500 COMMUNICATIONS, INC thing and anything with alcohol in it. Every other Friday we would cash our federal paychecks and go straight to the Iron Gate Club, where Martin wanted to spend as much of the money as possible as quickly as possible. He hated actually having any money. The War on Poverty didn’t impress Martin, and as we both became disillusioned with the half-hearted federal program he became something less than a conscientious soldier. Most mornings his supervisor called to inquire about his whereabouts. Martin even had an apartment at this time directly across the street from Scholz’s. We worked closely together in the late ’60, when I was practicing Movement law. If it had not been for Martin out in the community referring legal business, I would never have made it. But in “political” cases, I donated my services. In 1968 I was defending some activists charged with criminal offenses in a demonstration. It was early on in my private practice, I needed help and somehow managed to persuade Martin to pay borrowed a coat and tie and reluctantly appeared in the County Court at Law with me and the defendants. When I objected to some evidence the State was trying to get in, the judge had all the attorneys approach the bench, where I stated my objection in conventional legal terms. The judge looked at Martin and said “What do you think?” Without hesitation and in his characteristic voice audible to the jury and everybody else, he said: “It’s bullshit, judge. Just bullshit.” So much for bench conferences. In those days Martin had no taste for employment. A heated argument on the subject occurred at Scholz’s one night. My law partner Cam Cunningham suggested that Martin get a regular job so his girlfriend wouldn’t have to support him. Martin became flushed and angry, saying, “You think I should just take some shit-job?” Cam said he did and dubbed Martin the “Sacred Buffalo.” He did seem and look somewhat like a sacred buffalo and it broke me up for years to think of that not with malice or without affection, because Martin was indeed the Sacred Buffalo of the May Day Armadillo Tribe. In the mid-seventies, Martin and his partner, Bobby Nelson, acquired ownership of the fabled Austinesque Split Rail Inn, where for years we had listened to Kenneth Threadgill and others play their music. It was a deal that would end badly. Martin and Bobby proclaimed that the business was owned and run communally by the people who worked there socialism in action. Then, when the inevitable disagreements arose and Martin decided the workers had no say and did not own the business, the unthinkable occurred. Martin, representing management, called in the cops when the workers picketed the Split Rail. For many, the bitterness that resulted from this confrontation lasted until Martin was diagnosed as having terminal lung cancer. In spite of his occasional bull-headedness, we still loved him. Diana Vicars, who had her differences with Martin when she lived with Martin and Bobby Nelson and others, stayed day and night Seton Hospital during Martin’s last painful days. Alice Embree, from whom Martin had been estranged after the Split Rail affair, showed up in his hospital room a few days before he died to sing the sweet est a capella version of “Joe Hill.” Lori Hansel, a Split Rail opponent, wrote a wonderful reconciliatory letter that came to Martin literally on his death bed. Jay McGee walked in, with the original homemade-on-a-bedsheet Mother’s Grits banner. Toward the end of his life Martin worked as a cook and, was a good one. He enjoyed seeing people fed, having a good time. Before that he had devoted his time to something else he believed in: music. At the Split Rail, the Alamo Hotel, Lounge, and emmajoe’ s, he provided a venue for local and national musicians. Many of them, like Lyle Lovett, Nancy Griffith, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, have special fondness for Martin. He first gave them a stage on which to perform. At these clubs, he worked with Bobby Nelson also a renegade lawyer with a great love of music. Martin and Bobby had a personal relationship up until just before the end at emmajoe’ s and though she married someone else, they remained good friends. She was also at Seton Hospital where we gathered to be with Martin and his closest relatives, his sister Elberta and niece Betsy Burba. Who can calculate how many lives were touched by Martin’s combination of and political conviction? No one I have ever known so totally devoted himself to “the Revolution.” His life was a statement more powerful than can be.written, an uncompromising testament to the ideals adopted by a whole generation of young people in America in a time of promise and hope. “I wonder,” Bill Perkins asked, “if his death marked the end of the sixties, or could the possibility exist we will begin a century with less discrimination, less poverty, and less war?’ We can do no less than celebrate the life of Martin Wiginton, friend, comrade, conscience of the community and, of course, Sacred Buffalo of the Armadillo May Day Tribe. When I spoke of him at the tiny service at the cemetery, all I could think of was that Martin would want me to simply quote the words of Joe Hill: “Don’t mourn for me’; organize.” Continued from pg. 24 clients and 80 medical clients, but the National Institute for Drug Abuse refuses to certify any hair testing labs and the Food and Drug Administration called the hair test “an unproven procedure unsupported by the scientific literature of well controlled . studies and clinical trials.” An American Civil Liberties Union spokesman criticized the test as “ineffective” and “invasive,” because, like other drug tests, it allows employers to dwell into an employee’s past. Other concerns include a possible racial bias since non-Caucasian hair appears to retain more chemicals than Caucasian hair. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23
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