The Doctors & The Black Man
In the '50's, there were no blacks living in Rector. Come to think of it, weren't no Mexicans either . . . nor orientals . . . just poor white folks. Farmers mostly, hard working, of highest integrity, church going, fun loving, hard working, bill paying (when they could, but, it most generally would get paid . . Did I mention they were hard working?
Farmers generally raised pretty good sized families, mostly because they needed the free labor. Had they enough education to figure out what that free labor was a costin' they mighta' raised smaller families.
But, I'm gettin' off my story.
There were two doctors in town that I remember. I did not experience this story, but, I can sure relate to it. I heard my Daddy tell it many times. But, back in them days, white folk didn't tolerate black folk. No siree bob! They might allow one to come in and buy food 'n such, but that was all!
Well, one day this here black gentleman came into town and kinda of liked what he saw, and decided he'd just set down roots. When the news got back to the two kindly doctors, they sent the man a message. It went something like this; "If you're not out of town by 5:00, we'll run you out with shotguns!
Well that old black gentleman thought it over and, (I guess . . .), figured they were trying to bluff him out. But what the hey? This is A.M.E.R.I.C.A.! We've been liberated! We don't have to take no back seat to nobody! I'm sure lines similar to these ran through his head.
Sure enough, when 5:00 rolled around, the old black man was still in town! But he wouldn't be long! He was walked right out of Rector, right down Main St., with a doctor walking on each side of him, and both were toting 12 gauge shotguns!
Right down Main St, the doctors of the town, one on each side, with a 12 gauge shotgun, ushered him out of town. The local Police Department drove behind them, and when the man was safely out of town, gave the good doctors a ride home. But, they did their job: they saved the life of that good old man.
Must have been a peculiar sight . . . a black man walking down Main St, with the two town doctors, each with a shotgun, oblivious to traffic, people or their stares, and cops riding in the squad car close behind.
Nowadays you see all nationalities. But back then, weren't no blacks allowed in Rector . . . But in 2014 I was in Rector spending some time in the great little museum there when I came across a very brief mention in an article which mentioned Nigger Mose.
"Who was Nigger Mose" I asked.
"Well," the old timer started, then paused long enough to to deftly stow the wad of Redman in his jaw. He took a long breath as if to start the long story. "You see, there was this ex-slave that acquired a bit of work around one the well-to-does of early Rector and just kind of stuck round. Never had no kids and don't recollect any family. Never even had a name - said every body just called him Nigger Mose."
"Where'd he come from?"
"How old was he? Where is his kin? Where'd he go?
"Don't know that either."
"Sure doesn't know much does he?" I thought to myself as I pondered the precious little information I'd acquired.
"Well," the old timer said with a drawl. "Guess it's time for me to 'go-to-the-house." He worked his way up from the old well-worn bench on shaded size of the park, hitched up his drawers to the correct place for walkin', and turned toward the tracks.
I sat watching the old timer as he walked slowly along the old park rail. He had a hitch in his git-along from a long life of hard work in the fields eeking out a living from the red clay in the bottoms of the St. Francis river. And that is all I ever heard of Nigger Mose. Even none of my uncles knew anything about him.