The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Midian, Marshall, & Me - Davis

Book Cover    Midian, Marshall & Me.  By Jerome Davis.  edited by Dee Davis and Richard J. Davis, cover design Chelsey Tatum.  Trafford, 2008.  Paperback, 130 pages, size: 5 ½ x 8 ½ , ISBN: 9781425136543, $14.49.

If you've wondered where Martin Luther King's words "I have a dream …" came from, they came from Marshall.  Jerome, a little white boy, was best friends with Midian, a little black boy,  there who grew up to assert that you be judged by the "content of your character."

Jerome, a retired communications professional of print, radio, and TV, authors his personal memoirs of growing up in Marshall in the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's.  Midian Johnson lived behind him on the next street.  Such close living was possible because the Davises weren't hardly rich, and as such housed next to African Marshallites.  The boys bonded in the usual Piney Woods minor mischief, church-going, music-sharing, but not Little League, schooling, and the like.  The racial bigotry was real among many in the town, but its clout rarely extended to poor little boys.  Davis' treatment of the period blends the limitations of the time with a bit of gentle avoidance - much as he was treated there.

As it turns out, both boys got good educations there (there's a whole story in that which Davis doesn't touch).  Midian was identified early as a person to know and shape by Senator Lyndon Johnson.  With the 1960 election, young, goodman Midian excelled and went to Washington and found himself advising the vice-president who shortly became the president.  A part of official Marshall in the meantime turned fire department hoses on civil rights advocates on the brick-faced town square.

Midian went on in a successful career and, decades later, recently returned home to Marshall, hoping to retire, but finding himself president of Marshall's Wiley College.

Rarely do these small, modern memoirs carry much of broad value beyond the details of a life, but Davis captures for you things that you would not expect, especially out of Marshall.  Strongly recommended.

Both Davis, now retired in Colleyville, and Johnson are recognized on Marshall's "Wall of Distinction."  For good reasons.


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