African Americans have played an important role in the history of the N&W Railway and NS as well. That role has evolved over time as laws have changed and doors of opportunity have opened. This book endeavors to tell the stories of some of these railroaders, “in their own words,” whose careers spanned the years from Jim Crow to the Civil Rights Movement to today’s institutional diversity programs. Some of the stories are the stories of pioneers who paved the way to today’s more level playing field, and some are the stories of their children and grandchildren who have become the engineers, conductors, and corporate managers, positions that were denied to earlier generations. And, in many cases, in telling their own stories, they tell the stories of their father or grandfather who worked for the railroad and their mother or grandmother who urged them on and supported them. It is a multi-voiced, multi-generational tapestry of voices that tells the story of struggle, resilience, and triumph.
That’s the way the story was told for the next 85 years — that is, if anyone in Dickenson County spoke of it at all, which most people did not. Folks did not want to upset the men’s numerous descendents.
That would have been the end of it, except for Jenny Cooper, who is a granddaughter of Mullins and a genealogical sleuth. Cooper’s mother had always told her that the tragedy on the courthouse steps was not the result of some family feud. Cooper’s mother always claimed that her father had died in the line of duty.
In Howard’s shadow was his son, Frank, who in his mid-twenties began escorting around New Orleans a widow six years his senior. The Lottery King strongly objected to his son’s amorous relationship and demanded it be ended, even offering his son $50,000 as an inducement to do so. The expectation that his son would acquiesce was certainly ensured given Howard’s penchant for barking orders and manipulating the lives, ambitions and fortunes of so many in and around New Orleans.
The Roanoke [VA] Times, Thursday Morning, December 19, 1929– Body of Floyd County Girl Is Found On Bent Mountain; Disappeared Last Thursday Extensive Search Had Been Made for Freeda Bolt, 18, of Near Willis–Sheriff Locates Body on Information Reported Given Him By Buren Harmon,Held at Floyd in Connection With Case. The body of Freeda Bolt, […]