Gerry Glenn Jones is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, as well as scripts for theatre and film. This is a factual article.
Mississippi 1954: Where it all Began
Mississippi in 1954 was on the verge of a war within itself. That war would become known as the race war in which Mississippians fought Mississippians only because of skin color and the belief by many that the African Americans were an inferior race that should still be controlled by men and women of Caucasian.
One of the problems with that argument is if they were inferior, it was because they had not had the same educational opportunities as the white Mississippians. This was one of the major protests of the entire Civil Rights Movement that began in the late 1950s and grew immeasurably in the 1960s and 1970s. It would take lives on both sides of the fence, and even some that acted as mediators for both sides.
A Life of Structured Development and Values of only Black and White
When I speak of black and white, I am not pertaining to race, but to the idea that what we do is either right or left, up or down, wrong or right, with no substructure of riding the fence or bending the rules. It is the rhetorical "right or wrong," with no understanding that some things must be considered and applied to mediation, without an ironclad sentence of guilty or not guilty. Sometimes we must consider a common ground between the basic "right and wrong."
As a child, I was taught that you must take a stand on one side of the fence, and dare not straddle it. This was typical Mississippi doctrine of the time, as it was for many southern states, for many Mississippians, the American Civil War still left them with a bad taste in their mouths and in their minds. This was as evident in the small town of Houlka, Mississippi as in many other parts of the south.
Being born in 1954, in North Mississippi was as demanding and unbending as it was at the end of the Civil War, in the minds of many Mississippi households. The war may have ended, but the conflict was as pressing and embedded as it was in 1865, especially because the South had lost. It wouldn't have been so bad if Carpetbaggers, both from the North, as well as the South, had not exploited the situation to line their greedy pockets and in doing so, threw salt into the wound.
Even though it was stressed to many of us that if we were overheard saying "yes mam, no mam, yes sir, or no sir" to an African American, we would be punished. However, in high school, and elementary school, as integration began, we of the Caucasian race excepted it, and began adapting. Some of the older students in the college system were more attuned to fight the concept and do whatever it took to make this desegregation issue become dead in the water.
I, as a child of 5-7, did not understand the reasoning behind segregation, and my best friend was Clyde Knox, an African American, who we were taught to refer to as "colored." My uncle, whom everyone called "Beck," an abbreviation of the surname "Beckham," which was an ancestral name, loved to hunt and he and young Clyde's grandfather, hunted together and spent endless hours discussing and trading dogs, while Clyde and I played in the dirt underneath a huge oak tree that stood majestically beside the Knox home. Clyde was a very adaptable young man, with a special ability to build toys out of many different disposed articles, such as a plow made from a discarded "Prince Albert Tobacco" can.
I felt no animosity toward Clyde; I wished I could be as innovated and smart as he was, but the situation changed as I aged and was taught by some that I was in a dominant race and that I should keep my distance from an African American, like Clyde. This did not come from my parents but reared its ugly heard from white society and caused me to hesitantly draw away from him to prevent name calling and social rejection in my then, segregated school. It did not; however, prevent us from being lifetime friends.
Birth of a Boy That Thought he Could Change the World
It was during the years before the Civil Rights Movement began to get a lot of fuel, that I was born on December 1, 1954, in the Pontotoc, Mississippi Hospital. I set a new precedent in my immediate family by being the first member to be born in a hospital. My parents were nurtured into life with the help of midwives in their own homes.
The saga of my life began in that hospital; a place which would hold a unique spot in my future; a place where I would meet my future wife, Shelia Self,19 years later. It was also the place where our first child, Cynthia (Cindy) would arrive in this life.
It was during the late 1050s that I was influenced by the music of Elvis Presley, Fats Domino and many others who got their big breaks into music in that era.
Previous Houlka, Mississippi Police Department Office
As I add more to "Gerald (Gerry) Glenn Jones: He Wore Silver and Gold," I will add photos of my law enforcement career at the end of each article since it is part of the title of the collection of articles that I am writing. Also, another article is complete, and can be found by clicking on He Wore Silver and Gold: The Life of Gerald (Gerry) Glenn Jones: Article - 'Stolen Occupied Horse.'
To all my friends, I as you to please send me copies of pictures with you and me together. By the way, the "silver and gold" in my articles' titles reflect the ranks of the patrol officer (silver), supervisory personnel and chief of police (gold). I have some very interesting experiences to share with you all.
© 2018 Gerry Glenn Jones
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 11, 2018:
I am looking forward to your series also. You mentioned the carpetbaggers, and I have always thought if Lincoln had lived maybe it would not have been so bad.
i am a little older than you but grew up in Lakewood, Ohio on Lake Erie. My graduating class had 614 people, and it was all white! I never learned to be prejudiced, and really didn't understand how bad the situation was until I was in my late teens.
I think we have made much progress in racial relations. I would love to read about your law enforcement career.I am glad you remained friends with Clyde also.
Gerry Glenn Jones (author) from Somerville, Tennessee on July 10, 2018:
Thank you, Linda, I planning to write in a way that will not bore anyone. My early history will be in chronological order in every other article, but the articles between those will contain the most exciting adventures of my life. By the way, I love everything you write! I get a little smarter every time I read one of your articles, so please keep them coming my friend.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 09, 2018:
I think this is going to be a very interesting and educational series. I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm glad that you and Clyde remained friends.
Gerry Glenn Jones (author) from Somerville, Tennessee on July 09, 2018:
Thank you, Peggy, I have had a very exciting life. I grew up in the small town of Houlka, Ms., where I began my law enforcement career, as I stated in the article. I was then a police officer in Verona, Ms., St. Louis County, Missouri, Memphis, Houston, Ms., and later returned to Verona and became chief of police after 7 years, and finally took early retirement in 2003, mainly because of a bad heart. I was involved in so many exciting things in law enforcement, without shooting anyone. My kids begged me to write my autobiography, so I thought I would do it on Hubpages. My wife is legally blind, but I read all my articles to her, and she is glad I am doing it also. After law enforcement, I began acting and writing. I love doing both! Thank you so much for reading my work, and I really enjoy yours.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 09, 2018:
This article of yours proves that children do not naturally discriminate with other children because of race, color or religion but it is taught to them by others. It is nice that you and Clyde became lifelong friends. We have come a long way since the Civil Rights Movement began but we obviously still have more to do to attain full equality between not only races but sexes as well. Nice learning more about you on HubPages.