The Two Faces of Lummie Jenkins
November 26, 2018 9:36 AM   Subscribe

The people of Wilcox County, Alabama, remember Sheriff Lummie Jenkins as a god or a monster—it just depends on who you ask... They remember in 1962, as the push for black voter registration began 40 miles away in Selma, how the county shut down the Gee’s Bend ferry, turning what had been a short passage across the Alabama River into an all-but-unmanageable journey. “We didn’t close the ferry because they were black,” Lummie supposedly said. “We closed it because they forgot they were black.”
posted by Horace Rumpole (10 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Excellent read, thank you for posting this.

I’d been to the area a couple months before, in late August, to talk to the quilt-makers of Gee’s Bend, who live right across the river from Camden in the small African American community of Boykin.

See also the author's article about the quilters of Gee's Bend.
posted by asperity at 11:15 AM on November 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

There are countless uproarious stories about the sheriff’s knack for coercing a confession from anyone

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 12:48 PM on November 26, 2018 [10 favorites]

Considering how often it must have been pissed on over the last 40 years, his stone is in great condition. (I had to look him up just to see if he was real. He sounds like a Hollywood bad southern sheriff.)
posted by pracowity at 1:13 PM on November 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by SonInLawOfSam at 2:10 PM on November 26, 2018 [5 favorites]

Is this one of those optical illusion thingies? Because I only see just the one face..
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:14 PM on November 26, 2018 [9 favorites]

the best quote

A month after Arnold was elected, but before he took office, Lummie Jenkins died of a heart attack at the age of 77.

At that time, Sheryl Threadgill Matthews was a social welfare officer at the Alabama Department of Human Resources. “My coworker, a white lady, came up to me at the water fountain,” she remembers. “She said to me, ‘Mr. Lummie said he would die and go to hell before he see a black man become sheriff. And, well, I guess he sure did.’”

posted by pyramid termite at 2:18 PM on November 26, 2018 [14 favorites]

I liked it better when he just ran into that WoW battle shouting.
posted by The otter lady at 2:49 PM on November 26, 2018 [9 favorites]


Thanks for posting.

Terrifyingly relevant.
posted by SystematicAbuse at 8:40 PM on November 26, 2018

[A few deleted. Yes, not all Southerners are racist. It would be good not to broadbrush, because the people you are brushing are right here, too. But also, don't come screaming into the thread to make it all about "not all Southerners." Just contact the moderators if you don't want to flag. Either way, it's easy.]
posted by taz (staff) at 7:16 AM on November 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Those white people at the beginning of the article, claiming that this violent racist didn't carry a gun, people just turned themselves in? They know the truth. They must know outsiders know the truth, or at least realize the story is false. Who is the story for when we all know it's not real?

Great article. If you're trying to place where you've heard about Gee's Bend quilts, they came up when Michelle Obama's official portrait was unveiled. The dress she is wearing in the portrait is a nod to those quilts.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:54 PM on November 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

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