Posts Tagged ‘Farmerville Louisiana’

Make no mistake about it, Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. The feeling of love warms the inner body as we greet our friends, neighbors and even strangers with a smile as we utter a Merry Christmas. Food is plentiful for most and for those in need there is usually a good meal available complements of the more fortunate or as a religious gift of unconditional love. We find solace and give thanks in the season and in many quarters give thanks for our many blessings. While Christmas is a wonderful time of the year there was one Christmas in America that was not so merry yet it truly epitomizes the patriotic virtues of our great Nation.
On December 19th, 1777 General George Washington arrived with his tattered army at a location that was to be the winter encampment for the Continental Army. It had been a rough year for the new army and the Christmas season was one of despair for the young military. The temperature plunged to six degrees Fahrenheit above zero. George Washington knew his men could not survive in their tents so he had the men build log buildings with fireplaces. Washington remained in his tent until the last soldier was no longer living in their tents. He then moved into a nearby farmhouse.
Food was almost non-existent. By December 21st the soldiers were beginning to mutiny. Washington noted that his men were unable to sleep due to the cold and sat up all night by the fire to stay warm. Foreign offices from Europe that came to fight for the Americans were amazed that an army could take so much hardship and deprivation yet remain a fighting force.
The clothes and shoes were rotting. If a soldier was fortunate enough to have had a blanket, they would wear it while sanding guard. One soldier standing guard stood on his hat in the snow to protect his bare feet. Life was more than miserable at this Christmas period yet true American patriots persevered.
Desperate times require desperate measures and Washington knew he must make a bold move or all would be lost. His militia would soon be disbanded, his regular army was starving and freezing and the enemy was encamped across the Delaware River celebrating Christmas.
On December 25th Washington crossed the Delaware, flanked a slumbering British force and America got a wonderful Christmas present. The British soldiers were mostly Hessian (German) mercenaries. When the surprise attack was over 1,000 British army prisoners were taken while America lost 2 to 4 killed. This is an example of the intestinal fortitude that built our young country and continued on for over two hundred years as we have sustained our will to grow into a world leader. What a celebration for the birth of Jesus than to deliver the birth of a new country that is dedicated to provide all the virtues of a humanitarian nation.
Thomas Payne, one of our founding fathers, wrote of the sacrifices of the army under Washington at Valley Forge. “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put the proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right, not only to tax, but ‘to bind us in all cases whatsoever’, and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then there is not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God….
While most have seen the picture of Washington crossing the Delaware, standing so regal on the bow of one of the lead boats, there is another picture of Washington that captures the enormity of the Christmas of 1777. It is evening and Washington is alone in the woods A beautiful white horse is standing behind an officer clad George Washington. The General is kneeling on one knee in the snow. His hands are clasped and his head his bowed as he prays for the strength to overcome unsurmountable odds to win an unwinnable war.



Huey Long was assassinated in 1935 while crossing the corridor of the Louisiana State Capital in Baton Rouge.  No single state politician has stirred the imagination of America as much as Huey Long.  Farmerville is a small rural town in North Louisiana and just celebrated its’ 175th birthday.  To commemorate this celebration a presentation was delivered at the Union Parish Museum of History and Art in Farmerville.  You can select the above link to see the presentation that shows Long’s association to Farmervil

If you would like to see a more detailed description of Long and his ally from Farmerville, go to Amazon and get a copy of “I Called Him Grand Dad, The Lost Political Papers of Harvey G. Fields”.


As a child in elementary school I lived for Saturday afternoons. During the school week I would toddle up to the main street of Farmerville to look at the marque of the local Joy Theater and see what would be showing the next Saturday. Then at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon I would walk the three blocks to the theater, place my quarter on the ticket counter, get my thirteen -cent change and spend a glorious afternoon watching a double feature with a cartoon and on occasion a short reel. In today’s world these movies would be cheesy but in the 1950s and 60s they were great and the actors and actresses did what they did best; they acted, kept to themselves and were guarded in all aspects by the giant production companies that held their contracts. Their sole purposes in life was to hone their craft and entertain a world of raved fans.
Political statements were made on the screen by the craft of the men and women that took pride in the country they lived in. Jimmy Stewart, famous for such memorable movies as It’s a Wonderful Life, North by Northwest, Vertigo and so many more, was in fact a highly decorated World War II bomber commander and retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Brigadier General. Another giant in the acting community was the king of macho, the actor that simply had to walk on a set and his presence dwarfed all others. The actor, John Wayne, was the undeclared king of Hollywood and the actor that the studios, actor guilds or tabloids cared to not dispute in any way. Wayne’s patriotism came through in his flurry of military movies that covered a period from the Civil War into World War II and on to Viet Nam. His portrayal of the siege of the Alamo is legendary. As large as these actors are they both had one major attribute in common; they never attacked their country, the leaders of the country nor did they feel superior to the fans that supported them so much. Arrogance was not present.
Today we are enthralled with the rich and famous of Hollywood. Every checkout line in our retail stores is engulfed with magazines displaying the faces of Hollywood elite. Social media deluges us with photos, tweets and stories of our actors. As great as these performers are and as much as they are loved by their fans, they are not the elite group to be directing the direction of our great nation. When we hear actresses say they will leave the country or even go to Jupiter if a specific candidate is elected president discloses a disturbing bias. Instead of trying to be leaders of our nation and working with newly elected leadership, at all levels, we witness a childish attitude that displays men and women of great acting abilities displaying a child-like attitude with little true leadership character.
Recently the sexual harassment of actresses across Hollywood has become the subject of the month that brings a new revelation to an unknown epidemic of sick lifestyles among the rich and famous. Suddenly Hollywood displays shock, disdain while some even say declare they wished they had done something following decades of assaults. The truth is that these self – proclaimed leaders of America who want to tell America how we need to be governed have in fact shown no backbone when it came to stopping sexual harassment within its’ own world. Those that claim they are just hearing of this is laughable. Alfred Hitchcock’s pursuing and harassment of Tippy Hendren and her rejection and subsequent destruction of her career has been legendary since the 1960s. The joke of the casting couch has been with us for over a half century. To say that this is new knowledge is no defense for Hollywood and shows how it is easier to turn ones back instead of confronting the devil.
Those that say they should have done something earlier displays a flaw in the character and leadership of those that allowed this to continue for so long. These are the individuals that so many follow and due to the pinnacle we place our wonderful performers on we accept everything they have to say without question.
Sam Houston’s character in the History Channel’s movie on the birth of Texas stated, “Do what’s right and accept the consequences”. Unfortunately for many young aspiring actresses this never happened and the predators of Hollywood stalked the streets of California unabated for generations.

We also have those that are not vocal in a manner that is divisive.  There are those that put politics aside and  use there talents to bring a small fleeting amount of humanity to a very stressful situation that humanity has forgotten.  These are the men and women that forego holidays and time at home to entertain American troops.  Actors such as Gary Sinise  and his Captain Dan Band is a prime example.  The late Bob Hope was completely non-political but his support of USO shows in godforsaken parts of the world is legendary.

When we look at a civilization the first thing that is noticed is its architecture. When the word Egypt is mentioned the thing we first notice is the pyramids. Speak of France and the Eifel Tower is envisioned. This is so true of so many countries around the world as well as civilizations that have disappeared only to be re-erected from the desert sands and jungle canopies.
Another main aspect to a great civilization is its’ education of its’ population. The 3,000 year old Minoans of Crete left beautiful wall paintings that depicted an affluent life and Egypt did the same. The ancient Phoenicians not only developed the first alphabet but with their large commercial ship fleets they delivered this alphabet around the Mediterranean world.
Museums and libraries, an extension of the education of a society and the treasure trove of knowledge of a country or society, are viewed as a major factor in the greatness of a civilization. The magnificent library at Cairo contained the majority of all knowledge in the ancient world only to be burned by Alexander the Great when he conquered Egypt. The same is true of the great museums of the world. The Smithsonian in Washington, the Museum of Natural History in New York and the Louvre in Paris are all world famous repositories of knowledge but this represents a very small fraction of libraries and museums around the world that contain collections of the worlds great past.
Recently the Union Parish High School opened its’ new doors. This combined architectural beauty with educational excellence. The façade welcoming students, educators, staff and visitors is bold and beautiful and defines in stone and steel the ideals of this institution. This entrance epitomizes the greatness the institution espouses. The interior provides a fresh look for the youth of the community to encourage these young men and women to achieve great things.
Of course there is more to a great civilization than merely its’ physical monuments. There is more to a school than its architecture. The real pillar to the legacy of an education institution is its’ educators and staff. Union Parish High School does not disappoint. The youthful enthusiasm of the teachers and staff at this new school is infectious and will transcend to the students of Union Parish.
There is more to this continued development of the student in the Parish. It is not only the teacher and the workers at a school that builds the student, it takes the community. To continue to grow our education system in Union Parish it will take the parents of the student and it will take the community as a whole to expand the education network of the youth of Union Parish. Hillary Clinton wrote a book, “It takes a Village”. The title tells it all. We are all in this community together and what we put into it should produce more than what we invested.

When I lived and worked in Saudi Arabia I was fortunate to have met numerous people with international backgrounds. One such individual was my Sr Project Manager. He had been a naval cruiser commander during World War II. Following the war he had gone to work for Standard Oil of California, now Chevron, where he worked around the world for the next 30+ years. He told me one day how much he disliked U.S. news coverage due to slanted commentary and bias portrayed by the correspondent. He said the British Broadcasting Company had is right. The BBC read the news and nothing else. There was no commentary. The listener could form his or her own opinion. It took years before I fully understood what he was saying.
The press is powerful and has made major inroads in shaping our nation. Case in point is William Randolph Hearst; the publishing mogul that built the largest newspaper chain in America and used sensationalism, supposition and innuendos to increase circulation. He began building his empire in 1887. He is noted for saying, “A politician will do anything to keep his job, even become a patriot”. The power of the press was gigantic at the turn of the 20th century and Hearst proved just how powerful.
Prior to the beginning of the Spanish American War, Hearst used the harsh treatment of the Cuban citizens by Spain as an opportunity to sensationalize the conflict and thus sell more papers. Published sketches of an American woman being stripped searched by Spanish on the deck of a ship were published by Hearst and infuriated a new nation. It was later proven to be false but in 1899 American was building a war fervor. When the U.S. Battleship “Maine” blew up in Havana Harbor there were sketches published of the ship blowing up and headlines that the Spanish had blown up our ship; thus war was declared. It is now believed that the ships boiler had blown up and not destroyed by the Spanish. When war fervor was running high in America Fredrick Remington was hired by Hearst to insurrection in art. There are undocumented reports that Hearst told Remington, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”. Hearst, himself, landed in Cuba with the U.S. Army and had his group of correspondents report live from the fighting. While Hearst Publications didn’t cause the Spanish American War, his biased reporting built up a war fervor in America that made war an easy pill to swallow by the American citizen.
In Theodore Roosevelt’s speech, Man in the Arena, he captured the importance of the power of the press and the care that the press must take to insure truthful coverage. “Of course all that I say of the orator (speaker) applies with even greater force to the orator’s latter day and more influential brother, the journalist. The power of the journalist is great, but he is entitled neither to respect nor admiration because of that power unless it is used aright. He can do, and often does, great good. He can do, and he often does, infinite mischief. All journalists, all writers, for the very reason that they appreciate the vast possibilities of their profession, should bear testimony against those who deeply discredit it. Offenses against taste and morals, which are bad enough in a private citizen, are infinitely worse if made into instruments for debauching the community through a newspaper. Mendacity, slander, sensationalism, inanity, vapid triviality, all are potent factors for the debauchery of the public mind and conscience. The excuse advanced for vicious writing that the public demands it and that demand must be supplied, can no more be admitted than if it were advanced by purveyors of food who sell poisonous adulterations.”
Roosevelt’s words are just as important today as they were in the early 1900s. The veracity of news shows that attack instead of report and the multitude of multi-media comments that hold no rational knowledge is even more divisive to our populace than what Roosevelt experienced. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear or read the news and then let the reader or listener evaluate what is being reported rather than being told how we are supposed to behave when the news is presented to us.

Several times over the last couple of years I have written about the Founding Fathers and the concept of “all men are created equal”. My interpretation of these prophetic words was not that all citizens of the Unites States are guaranteed a particular life style or entitled to a set of materialistic rewards for simply living in our great nation. Instead we are entitled to an opportunity to make our own way and we are allowed to pursue happiness individually without bias or constraint.
I have, in the past, also quoted an excerpt from one of President Teddy Roosevelt’s speeches that many refer to as “The Man in the Arena”. This is a marvelous speech that espouses the man that attempts to achieve anything in life and the laurels that should be administered to the man that attempts and fails vs the man that sits in the arena as an onlooker yet never attempts to achieve but instead finds it sport to criticizes those that fail.
The actual Roosevelt speech was not titled “The Man in the Arena” but was instead titled “Citizenship in the Republic”. The Man in the Arena is merely a paragraph of a much larger speech delivered in France in 1910 when Roosevelt was returning from a scientific expedition of East Africa that was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute. I recently read the speech in its’ entirety and was surprised to read Roosevelt’s comments on the equality of man. This speech also addressed other problematic activities we are experiencing today and even though this speech was delivered 116 years ago the content is still true today.
The following is the section of the speech that addresses equality of man in America.
“I think the authors of the Declaration of Independence intended to include all men, but they did not mean to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all men were equal in color, size, intellect, moral development or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness in what they did consider all men created equal-equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This they said, and this they meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth that all were actually enjoying that equality, or yet that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which should be familiar to all—constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and, even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people, everywhere.”
We are bound in honor to refuse to listen to those men who would make us desist from the effort to do away with the inequality which means injustice; the inequality of right, opportunity, of privilege. We are bound in honor to strive to bring even nearer the day when, as far is humanly possible, we shall be able to realize the ideal that each man shall have an equal opportunity to show the stuff that is in him by the way in which he renders service. There should, so far as possible, be equal of opportunity to render service; but just so long as there inequality of service there should and must be inequality of reward. We may be sorry for the general, the painter, the artists, the worker in any profession or of any kind, whose misfortune rather than whose fault is that he does his work ill. But the reward must go to the man who does his work well; for any other course is to create a new kind of privilege, the privilege of folly and weakness; and special privilege is injustice, whatever form it takes.”
Hope to see you at the 175th anniversary of our community. Ricky Albritton’s steering committee under the auspices of Mayor Baughman and the Farmerville Town Council is performing an admirable job of making this auspicious event a memorable moment in the history of Farmerville.

America went through a tumultuous time in its’ history during the 1960s. Civil rights went to the forefront of America’s interests and was right there with Viet Nam, the Kennedy assassinations and landing a man on the moon. It was a hard struggle and within Louisiana’s political landscape the ability for minority voting was enhanced with the abolition of the poll tax. Unlikely politicians such as Earl Long promoted minority voting and helped to open the doors for those that had never been given the constitutional right to vote.
Segregated water fountains and bathrooms disappeared as did segregated schools a minorities appeared at a quick pace on television and in movies. America had transitioned to an integrated society where African Americans no longer discriminated against in the deep south just and American Indians were integrated into a white man’s world in the West. America had grown up; at least in many quarters.
Many of us had fathers and grandfathers that went to war to fight a diabolical philosophy, an enemy that was committed to purify the earth from innocent men, women and children in a horrid social engineering experiment. The Nazi viewpoint was taken to an extreme and six million Jews were murdered simply because to their linage. Blacks were slated to be on the extermination list as were others deemed to be inferior and sub-standard humans. This was a sad time in the history of the world and a young black man by the name of Jesse Owens disproved this ideal race concept when he destroyed the track competition at the Olympics held in Berlin, Germany with Adolf Hitler looking on.
Many good men and women from the Allied nations never returned from World War II but their sacrifices insured that much of the hatred in the world would be eliminated and we could live in peace without fear of repercussion due to race, creed or religion. This ideal took a long time to be adopted and then understood by the masses. It took a long time after the war to fully espouse the concepts of Americanism; but America has come a long way. Is total equality with us today? The answer is “no” but it is so much better than a decade ago and it will be better in the future decades.
Last week a protest in Virginia ended in tragedy and death as a protest turned deadly. White supremist spit venom into a lovely southern community that is an echo from a time in Germany that saw the goose stepping Nazis terrorize a country and spread its’ hatred across Europe. Actions like this are not a part of our great nation and there is no place in America for this behavior just as marches espousing the killing of police followed by police assassinations are likewise divisive and filled with hatred.
It is imperative that we realize that a few protesters spewing a sick rhetoric in front of a news camera hungry for television ratings does not reflect the majority of any one group. We must look beyond these bumps in the road and look at the greater requirement ; the continued growth of our nation. We must continue to strive to place prejudice behind us from all quarters and place God and country at the forefront.