Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Trump attempts to exact revenge against President Obama using Perry and Bachmann

Pretend candidate Sir Donald Trump
They're back! Not the Halloween Cookie Monster or Frankenstein costumes! I'm talking about the Barack Obama Birth Certificate wash and wear costume initially put on the market by that foreign born woman named Orly Taitz. This German-born woman with a heavy accent, had the unmitigated gall to accuse President Obama of stealing the Social Security numbers of four individuals, using them all in states where he was employed.    

Just when we thought the costume was discontinued, abracadabra! It pops up faster than beer turns into piss! Or faster than a happy dog can lick its nuts. Did I mention the rabid tea party rants about President Obama being a Muslim? Yep! Muslim! Imagine that! Hawaii born Barack Obama successfully pulled off the biggest political hoax ever played on America! Hot damn the man is a magician.

It was not by accident that the Obama birth certificate mania was given new life by Texas governor Slick Rick Perry with the help of Sir Donald Trump. Sometimes desperate presidential candidates do desperate things to get attention and votes.  Slick Rick was granted an audience with Sir Donald to discuss President Barack Obama's birth certificate. The meeting generated a few more minutes in the spotlight.

Birther Queen, Orly Taitz
Slick Rick Perry walked into the media sunlight, adding his two cents to the birther mania. Hot damn! Slick Rick proved that he is a good ol' Texas boy who just wanted to have a little Southern fun at the expense of the President of the United States! After all, ain't no White man and woman in Texas, or the United States got to show respect towards this colored boy in the White House. Hell, the color of the "White House" says it all! It's the White folks house!

In 1868 a presidential candidate named Horatio Seymour had a campaign slogan that fit right in with the way White politicians and millions of White voters think today: "This is a White man's government"! And that implies, suggests, and says loudly that no Black man has a right to think he can be president of the United States of America.

Slick Rick,  a true Texan, would have thoroughly agreed with Seymour's slogan. Still in the presence of Mr. Trump, Slick Rick said in his lazy drawl--that's the way we talk down here in Texas --“It’s a good issue to keep alive. It’s fun to poke fun at President Obama a little bit, and say, 'how about let’s see your grades, and your birth certificate'”.  

You see, at the scheduled meeting with Sir Trump, Slick Rick agreed that this would be a good subject to retackle. The more pressure on President Obama the better! Hot biscuits and gravy! Exposure is like a fresh blast of Texas sunlight set free by the Almighty God himself!

Slick Rick Perry beamed with pride as he stood in the public spotlight, draped in his metaphorical Barack Obama Birther's wash and wear costume. He was ready to dazzle Americans, Texas style. He thought his spanking new birther platform was hotter than a pair sex crazed jack rabbits in a pepper patch. Sir Trump was pretty proud, too. His name would be in the headlines. Again. The media would write about him like he's a legend. Pundits would talk about him. Oh, the glory! This traveling road show was going to be huge! Hell, they were even going to prove that Barack Obama is not all that intelligent and smart! His grades, whatever they are, are as fake as his claim to be an American! Born Hawaii? Hell, ain't that a foreign country?

Speaking of grades, the Texas governor, preparing himself to be president of the U. S. A., said everybody had seen his college grades. I had to laugh out loud at this, because stacking his grades up against President Obama's grades is like using a sledgehammer to crack a very small nut. A careful examination of the President's academic achievements would have told Slick Rick that he is "poking" fun out the wrong side of his mouth. I do not recall anybody being interested in how well he fared in the classrooms at Texas A and M University.

 Barack Obama graduated from Columbia University at 20, earning a BA. He entered Harvard Law School in 1988. He was selected editor of the Harvard Law Review journal at the end of his first year, and president his second year, a first in the university's 104-year-old history. Obama graduated  from Harvard with a Juris Doctor ( J.D.), magna cum laude in 1991, the year he accepted a two year position as Visiting Law and Government Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. Obama  taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law school for 12 years. From 1992 to 1996 he was a Lecturer; from 1996 to 2004 he was a Senior Lecturer. He was a research assistant for scholar Laurence Tribe for two years while at Harvard.

Rick Perry
attended Texas A and M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets; the Alpha Gamma Rho and  was elected social class secretary. He was a Aggie Yell Leader. He graduated a C student with a BA in animal science in 1972. Since first publishing this article in 2011 Perry has been confirmed to be the secretary of energy, the department he wanted to dismantle, but could not remember by name in a 2011 presidential debate. He was selected to head the department by Donald Trump, America's latest president, elected  November 8, 2016, beating out Hillary Clinton. Slick Rick became governor of Texas when Governor George Bush decided to run for president. Perry finished Bush's term and ran for office and won.

Photo from 1970 year book Rick Perry is sitting on the far right edge of the couch
Harvard Law Review president Barack Obama (center) a year before graduation.
Donald Trump, during his wannabe candidacy for president, proudly wore his grades  but not too often. College grades are not as colorful, or media grabbing as a "questionable" birther's certificate. However, Sir Trump's imagination and speculation did not fall asleep on the job. He said Obama was a terrible student in college. He said no one remembered him attending college with him! He offered no proof. none of the people in the above photo remembers Obama. Trump told America that he attended the best university in the world--Wharton School School of Business, the University of Pennsylvania

"I went to an Ivy League school. I'm very highly educated. I know words. I have the best words," he reminded America.  And unlike Barack Obama, all of the students and professors remembers him! However, he did not offer proof of his "hugeness" on campus or in the classroom. Slick Rick Perry did not flash his college transcripts or grades, and nobody demanded to see them.

It was not enough for Trump to get drawn, quartered and dragged through the town square by President Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondence Dinner, May 1. With those in attendance and  TV viewers laughing at the President poking Texas size fun of  him, it was hallelujah hilarious!  Donald Trump did not like the joking and poking. He half-assed smiled through the joking but he was steaming hot under his coat of thin skin. The nerve of Barack Obama, an illegitimate Black president, dressing him down on national TV!

And then along comes other Republican candidates requesting an audience with Sir Donald Trump. Michelle Bachmann, via a teleconference call at a town hall meeting, was instructed by Sir Trump to regurgitate the home buying “scandal” in Chicago that nipped at the heels of candidate Barack Obama during his campaign. In 2008 the media and pundits attempted to create a scandal out of a nonscandal issue surrounding the purchase of the Obama's chicago home. The media and pundits can thank Sean Hannity at Fox for the blockbuster. The Hannity hatched "scandal" eventually blew over like a three-legged paper tiger.

The media and talking heads on TV said some funny business had gone on between Obama and the owner of the property. The home purchase costume was worn thin by the media and Fox . If Michelle Bachmann sewed the bits and pieces back together, she has not worn the costume in public. But the circus is just getting started. There is still time.

When the birther's costume lost its unattractiveness and gloss, Slick Rick Perry did the Texas-Two-Step off the stage to shed the ill fitting outfit. He reappeared and said it was a distraction. He did not want to play anymore. Tsk. Tsk. Sir Trump played him like a dime store fiddle. As a friend of mine would say: "He made a fair ass out of him"!

Asked why he revived the birther's question, Slick Rick Perry said, “I’m really not worried about the president’s birth certificate”. Being a sport he just wanted to let Sir Trump have some fun at Obama's expense.  Slick Rick's people did not tell him that "poking fun" may work in Texas but not on a national stage. 

And now Sir Donald Trump is left with his bitter bitchfest, birther's allegations, suggestion that the President may be a secret Muslim, and endless hours of bragging on Fox. The Obama roasting he got at the Correspondent Dinner is now in the presidential archives of hilarious history.  Below is the White House dinner where Sir Donald Trump was called out by President Obama. It's a classic!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Homeless in Austin, Texas

The homeless crisis in Austin was growing rapidly, and there did not appear to be a long term solution on the burner. The Salvation Army statics estimates that there were about 5,000 homeless, near homeless and hidden homeless living in Austin.

I interviewed these homeless people living in Austin, Texas during the early 1990s. The seven participants, part of a series for a local newspaper, were willing to talk about themselves in general terms, but were not willing to delve into their personal lives. Not all of them wanted to be identified by their real names, or have their photos taken. Anonymity was the insurance policy they needed to assure that they could live their lives without interference from friends and relatives. Only two women and one male were willing to use their actual names, but no photos. I also interviewed the mayor of Austin, and program director of Salvation Army. Due to space constraints I am only printing excerpts from four of interviews.

Carl Riley: From working high to homeless low

Riley is an African American male who was gainfully employed at Caterpillar Tractor Company in Chicago. When Riley lost his job he found himself homeless, but not hopeless. Eventually he lost his family. Riley was clean cut, clean and neatly dressed.

Q. Why are you homeless?

A.  I became a homeless person about five years ago. I worked for the Caterpillar Tractor Company in East Peoria, Illinois. They sold out to Mitsubishi, which put thousands of people out of work.  Everybody moved to different places. I came to straight to Austin. I had been here on vacation in 1976. I liked the sights here. But when I came back I couldn’t believe the economic downfall. When I moved to Texas I got a job and things were going great, but certain circumstances beyond my control made that job go on the slack. I’ve picked up a few more jobs here and there; I’ve worked minimum wage jobs. But in Texas you cannot live on minimum age.

Q. Did you give up after not finding more employment?

A. No. I didn’t give up. I kept on looking, working. I worked for a brand new car wash on Bee Caves Road. I was assistant manager out there. It was only minimum wage. I’m still trying to find something better.

Q. Did you lose your family as a result of losing your job in Peoria?

A. Yeah. When I lost my job I couldn’t get another job right away. Caterpillar ran most of the town. When it folded up the whole town folded. There were no jobs, everybody was out of work. It was a loophole in our contract where we couldn’t draw any kind of employment benefits, and that screwed people around. I had two cars, one was paid for, and I was in the process of losing the other. I didn’t care as long as we had one left. Then bang! The house! Ten years of my life washed away as far as I was concerned. My house was being take away from me because I couldn’t finish paying for it. Once the house was gone I didn’t have no place for my family. That started marital problems. My wife and kids went one way and I ended up in the middle, all alone.

Q. How being homeless changed you? Has it been hard to adjust?

 A. It was not hard for me to adjust to the situation, but it did change my thinking about things. When I working pretty steady, buying my cars and my house, I felt like I could do it. I had a whole different attitude, even though I had been homeless as a kid.
 ‘I don’t blame anybody but myself’

Carol Warner, a 22-years old White female, is outspoken, somewhat overweight, homeless and infuriated about her current situation. She is angry about the negative attitudes citizens have toward homeless people. Warner said she did not like how homeless people are looked at when they walk down the street, panhandle, or enter a place of business. She understands that some of the homeless men and women are rebuffed because they are belligerent, unkempt, and their behavior is frightening.

Warner said she hates the strict rules and regulations she has to follow while living at the Salvation Army in Austin, Texas. But it is the only place she can call home for now. Despite of her self-induced misfortune, Warner said she takes full responsibility for the mismanagement of her life. She has been on a homeless binge since age 18.

“My parents put me out of their house,” Warner said. “I didn’t listen to my mother and dad. So I ended up in some places I didn’t want to be. I don’t blame nobody but myself for where I am. But I can change that.”

Perched atop a plastic crate, looking like a cheerful, freshly scrubbed college student, Warner said she once dragged around everything she owned in the same kind of crate. She said when she was told to get out of her parent’s home she stayed in her hometown for a year, living here and there before she finally decided to leave for Minneapolis, where she lived for a year, floating in and out of shelters.

“I thought about my situation in Minneapolis, and I said, I ain’t going nowhere! But I left and come to Texas. I went to Dallas and then directly to Austin. I went to Fort Worth, and stayed there for a day. I went to this place and got enough money for a ticket to Austin,” Warner said.

When she arrived in Austin, Warner said, “I lived at the old Salvation Army on 6th Street. They told me I couldn’t come back again because three days was long as I could stay.”
Warner said due to nourished misconceptions about homeless people, homeless women are often perceived as prostitutes, drug addicts and alcoholics.

“A lot of people shun homeless people. We get kicked out of restaurants because we don’t look like the average, normal citizen. We stand out more, but we can’t help that. We have to carry all of our belongings with us,” Warner said, a sad expression on her face.
She said people who are not homeless should “turn their hearts around, and realize we’re humans, too. We have rights just as well as they do.” Warner said being homeless forces a person to live by his or her wits in order to survive. “And pride ain’t got nothing to do with it.”

She said all too often homeless people have to resort to games of emotional manipulation and panhandling. Some women pair up with homeless men for protection. Some times that works, sometimes it doesn’t. Warner said a woman that she was friends with was killed by a man she paired with for protection.  They had been drinking all day, and he thought she drank more of the cheap wine that he did. He got angry and bashed in her head with a brick, killing her. Warner said she’s heard of homeless women getting gang raped and beaten, but they were too scared to make a police report.

“I had a puppy, and my puppy was my excuse to get money for something to eat.” She said people are more drawn to hungry animals than they are to hungry humans. “I didn’t buy dog food. I bought hamburgers that I shared with my dog. That was how I survived for a while,” Warner revealed.

Warner, who lived in many shelters, observed that the shelters are doing a very good job of helping the homeless. “Places like the Salvation Army enables people to stay homeless to they can stay open.”

Warner said she is on her way to Waco, Texas where she intends to enroll in a computer training class. Warner said she wish she had money enough to build a shelter in which the homeless would be treated fairly and with dignity.

‘Jane Doe’ was on a journey in search of something

Jane Doe had a different experience. She asked that her name not be used when this article was written. Jane is a Black female and mother of five.

“I lived at HOBO (Helping Our Brothers Out) for seven months. They’re real good. Marion Morris is over it. When I was down there we didn’t have to worry about nothing. The people were so nice to us. The Stouffers Hotel donated over two or three hundred pillows, because they knew we had to sleep on the floor. They donated foam mattresses; they bought us food, clothes, tooth paste and tooth brushes. They gave us everything we needed.

“On Tuesdays they took us to West Lake Hills, where we showered and had breakfast. Our dirty clothes were dry cleaned for us. Everybody pitched in and helped the homeless at HOBO. Sometimes the men fought a lot amongst themselves because they were so full of anger. I truly thought somebody was gonna get killed. They never did bother us ladies. You know how men are. They’re rough. I went to a church mission run by Brother Jones. The people there helped me,” Jane recalled.

Jane said that she was on a “this journey.” She had a reason to call her homelessness a journey.  She expected to walk into world of danger and destitution. She did not expect to find kindness from strangers.  “I found people are very giving. They were sometimes overly giving. Sometimes it made me sick. It truly did. Sometimes I used to watch people pass by, and they’d throw food on the ground.

“Well, at the time I really didn’t know what that meant. So I got to thinking, maybe that meant eating food off the ground. Well, you see that’s wrong. You never know when you might be down.” Jane Doe reasoned that no one should throw food away. Food is the key to surviving when you’re homeless.

“My five children were with me at first; and at first it was scary and exciting. Kids are very flexible. Nothing bothers them. So the ripping and running was fun to them. It was exciting to me, too. But the only thing is we never knew what was going to happen from one day to the next day. This is going on my fourth year, but now my kids are with relatives. I’ve been by myself for about a year now.

Jane recalled the time someone gave her and her kids a box of doughnuts to eat. “Like I asking this man here the other day . . . I said, ‘Don’t you remember me? A couple of years ago when me and two little bitty kids come to the Salvation Army, and it was the day before Christmas, and you all gave us a giant box of doughnuts?’ He said, ‘I remember you’! That was all we had to eat all day long. But at least we had something to eat. We rode the bus all day long, and then we found a place to stay.

“When this happened to me, I said I’m not going to get in contact with any of my friends. I wanted to see what this was all about. I’m a very independent person. I have friends I can call, but I’m happy. When people look at me and say I look bad, I tell them I’m happy with myself.

 “I didn’t decide this was going to be my life. It just happened. Me and my kids got evicted, and everything happened so quick. It was nothing for us to do but live from day to day.”

Tom and Dick are not happy campers 

Tom and Dick are two homeless White males, willing to be interviewed but like all the others, did not want to talk freely about their personal lives.

Tom: I stayed at one place one time on a alcoholic ward, and they put you to work, and gave you a lowly two dollars at the end of the day. I’ve been to New Orleans and San Francisco. I’ve seen women and kids turned away ‘cause they didn’t have no I.D. card. Most of these places charge. In New Orleans it’s five dollars to stay at the Salvation Army. If you ain’t got the five dollars you can’t stay there. These Baptist missions are the same way. They’re cheap, and to a lot of people two or three dollars don’t sound like much, but unless you get in a labor pool it’s hard to come up with that kind of money.

Dick: The shelters are supposed to be free, but the majority of them aren’t free.

 Tom: You see people bringing all this food and clothes and stuff and these people give it to the churches, and stuff like that. People that really need it can’t get it. They hand out a few things to people that are down and out, but most times you don’t get nothing. In New Orleans I went to one of those homeless programs for Vietnam veterans, and it’s the same problem they have here, getting stuff from different organizations, and by the time it get to the people it’s nothing left. It’s no good that way.

Dick: You get day old doughnuts and powdered milk and a bowl of very runny oatmeal.

Tom: That homeless veteran thing didn’t work either. You could stay in the place for 30 days, but while you were there you couldn’t work. There’s no way to get out of one of them places. But, yet, they was drawing in all that money. They hadn’t told anybody that. That’s like the churches and these places. They’re not just getting donations, they’re getting government grants. That’s why they want to keep you coming in here. They have a day labor program here, but the fact that it’s coming out of the Salvation Army, and it’s a joke.

Dick: This place does more for you than the majority, but it still comes down to the same thing. I stayed in one shelter in Las Vegas for a while and it was really bad. Every six months they gave you a card. You could stay there 14 nights, but your chances of getting a bed for more than two nights was virtually impossible. They’d have a freezer full of meat there: chickens, ham, beef, turkey and the like. I talked to the cooks that worked there, and they told me a couple of times a year the director’s wife would pull the van up in the back of the kitchen and start loading it up with meat.

Tom: I think they should set up a program where they can take these guys, clean them up and get them onto a job. I think that would really help instead of giving these places government grants. Soon as they get the grants and these donations they could care less about you.

Dick: It’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. But it’s something I wish more people would experience for a week or two to see what it’s like, to take just a couple of days to come down here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ingredients of a 1950s melodrama minus the music

These are the ingredients of a dark 1950s melodrama. No dramatic music necessary. Stir in harassment and rape, illegal gambling, wealth, racism, Jim Crow laws, a married woman, White doctor turned senator-elect, paramour rights, murder by bullets, victim threatened with jail or beat down if she complained, neighbors whispering behind closed doors, sensational trial, death sentence, mental illness.

In the 1940s Ruby Jackson McCollum was an African American woman of wealth. As we say in the South she was “pissing in high cotton.” McCollum, her husband Sam and their children lived in a two-story stucco home surrounded by date palms, and a pond filled with goldfish. The McCollum’s were church going folks. They were upstanding citizens in Live Oak, population 4,000.

Money by any other name is still wealth

Sam McCollum’s owned a juke joint, a funeral home, sold insurance to Black folks, and owned a tobacco farm in a small farming town located in North Florida. Sam’s farm was the largest tobacco allotment in the county. They also owned a funeral home. He sat on the board of the largest Black run insurance company in Florida. Because Ruby was good at math she kept books for the family businesses. 

Clemon Jackson, Sam’s nephew, in an interview with producers of the movie “You Belong To Me”, said, “Each child had their own room. They had a lot of toys and stuff, and the best clothes and stuff, because she never shopped in Live Oak. She always went to Jacksonville. I think the name of the store was Monmaker in Jacksonville. The only way I took advantage of that was when the clothes got too small for Sam, Jr. they would give me the clothes. So I wore some pretty nice clothes”.

McCollum was educated at Fessenden Academy, a private school for African American students. Her goal was to be a school teacher, but she didn’t reach her career goal. However, life was good for the McCollum family.  She drove a new light blue Chrysler every year.  When Sam Jr. became college age he was accepted at UCLA in California.

Ruby McCollum
Ruby Jackson was born to Gertrude and William Jackson, August 31, 1901 in Ocala, Florida. She was the first daughter, the second born to the Jackson’s, who had five other children. Ruby was 20 years old when she married Sam McCollum. They moved to Nyack, New York, where their first son, Sam Jr. was born. After five years they moved back to Florida in 1940s. They lived in Live Oak in segregated Suwannee County, Florida. The state was dry; legal alcohol was not sold there until 2011. 

McCollum’s brother, Buck McCollum, had acquired a considerable fortune operating a lottery type gambling game called Bolita, a numbers racket. He was successful. He always paid the winners, and his customers were a mixture of Blacks and Whites. Sam learned the business, earning his own fortune. Considered a racketeer, Sam’s nickname was “Bolita Sam.” Sam McCollum moneyed the pockets of local police; a move that allowed him the freedom to operate without fear of his door getting kicked in by police or arrested.

Dr. Clifford Adams, the son of a wealthy, political family with loads of influence, was loved and respected by his Black and White patients. What people in Live Oak didn’t know about the good doctor was that he made himself a sideline partner in Sam’s gambling business. Being a Black man in living in the South Sam couldn’t tell Adams to take a hike up a mountain. The police and whomever else would have turned on him. Adams used to the money to run for senator, which he won. 
Ruby McCollum's fairy life comes to an abrupt end

The McCollum’s fairy tale life came to an end August 3, 1952 when Ruby McCollum shot Dr. Clifford Leroy Adams four times, foreclosing on his life, and the years of misery he had caused her. She went to his office with a 32 caliber revolver in her purse, entering his office through the “colored entrance.” Two patients sitting in the “Colored Waiting Room” said they heard Dr. Adams and McCollum arguing about a bill. She didn’t understand why they received a bill when neither she was nor her husband were treated. Amid the argument she demanded a receipt. The bill was never mentioned at the trial, nor was it produced by her attorney or the prosecutor.

On a TV show called “A Crime To Remember” it was revealed that Sam McCollum’s girl friend had a D&C performed after she got an abortion.  Supposedly Ruby McCollum opened the bill that was addressed to her husband. That was the bill she and Adams argued about. If this was true as depicted in the TV show testimony of the D&C was not broached at McCollum’s trial.  

When 42-year-old Ruby McCollum went to Dr. Adams office that morning she was pregnant with her second child by the doctor. According to  “A Crime to Remember” she wanted Adams to perform an abortion and “fix” her so she couldn’t get pregnant by him again. At her trial Ruby testified that she had a diaphragm, but Adams wouldn’t let her use it when he demanded sex.  After years of demanded rape, abuse and terror, it McCollum’s intent to tell Adams that she wanted him to leave her alone. But fate flipped the script. Dr. Adams had been coming to her home whenever he wanted. He knew that Sam was not home a lot. He busy overseeing his multi-business enterprises.

Dr. Clifford Adams
Adams told McCollum that he wouldn’t perform an abortion for her, warning that he would kill her if she tried to abort his baby. Dr. Adams shouted at her, “Goddamn, woman I am tired of you”! During her first pregnancy by Adams a physician associate, Dr. Dillard Workman, attended her prenatal care. When the baby girl was born the doctor refused to give McCollum a birth certificate.  Some Black folks in Live Oak suspected that Dr. Adams addicted McCollum to heroin or cocaine to control her, according to the TV documentary.

Carlton Jackson, another resident of Live Oak, voiced the same suspicion: “Well, the first thing I thought was Wow. That doctor must have done something wrong . . . mighty bad. Than I was told that she was pregnant by the doctor. I was told, too, that he was giving her drugs. I was going into medicine . . . I’d worked with one doctor already. I know that some drugs was habit forming, so I figured he must have been giving her habit forming drugs. And it probably got to the place where she wanted a drug and he wouldn’t give it to her unless she did something. All this was in my mind. What actually happened, I don’t know. And eventually, since she got pregnant, she might have gone down and just wanted to end the whole thing”.

'Paramour rights' gave southern White males the right to rape Black women and young girls

Despite his wife giving birth Dr. Adam’s child, Sam McCollum was helpless to do anything. He knew the little curly haired, light skin child wasn’t his. He couldn’t kill the doctor or tell him to stop raping and impregnating his wife. The law was not on his side no matter how much money he had.

John Yulee, of Live Oak, who was interviewed for the movie “You Belong to Me” talked about a closeted secret that was not so secret in the small town. “Black people used to say a White man touched that lady. You’re working in their homes, tobacco fields, they’re the boss. You can’t file a complaint. The boss was right and you were wrong. If a baby comes out light-skinned, you had to live with it”.

Tameka Hobbs, history professor at Florida Memorial University, and citizen of Live Oak said, “With Ruby there was so much shame with the Black community. Because of the sexual liaison they really did not want to talk about it”. In the early days, unlike today in the era of social media and networks, Black folks didn’t “air their dirty laundry” in public. No matter the sin or the deed it was hush-hush in the family. But there was behind the door whispering, and we know your secret stares.

The boisterous argument between Dr. Adams, 44, and McCollum concluded with Adams getting shot four times. He had a hundred dollar bill in his hand that Ruby had given him for a bill. She had demanding a receipt.  After shooting Adams, McCollum got into her car and drove home. Two of her children were in the car; the youngest was fathered by Adams. Many folks in Live Oak believed the bill was a ruse. She had $1,800 in her purse. The McCollum’s were known to pay their bills on time.

McCollum was arrested the same day at her home. She was quickly whisked off to the Florida State Prison Farm in Raiford, 50 miles in Suwannee County. In Live Oak the KKK would have dragged her out of the jail and hanged her before she could go to trial. Live Oak White folks were sticklers for Blacks following the rules of no race mixing, and staying in their place. No Black person could kill a White person and get away with it! A Black woman was jailed for six months when she was caught drinking from the “White Only” water fountain.

One true story in Live Oak’s past tells of a 15-year-old African American boy named Willie James Howard. He sent a Christmas card to White girl he liked. He paid for this innocent act with his life. On January 2, 1944 three White males dragged Howard out of his parent’s home at gun point. He was hogtied and taken to the Suwannee River. He was never heard from again. No one can explain what happened to him. His body was never recovered or found. The three White males were never arrested.

Ruby McCollum was whisked away secretly by specific police. She was a prominent Black woman. A public arrest would have attracted the media and strangers coming to their state, popping open a can of worms the small county wanted to keep sealed. McCollum supposedly had a black ledger with the names of all the White police, politicians and other folks they paid to keep their eyes closed and their mouths shut. The ledger was never found.

 While she sat in jail McCollum didn’t know that her husband died of a heart attack after fleeing to Ocala, Florida with their children. Hearing that his wife had been arrested for killing Dr. Adams, Sam rushed home to get his daughters, packed some clothes and a suit case full of dollar bills. The fast move was for their safety. History is replete with stories of the KKK or lynch mobs taking revenge on family members, or a Black community if they couldn’t get the person or persons they were after.

Imagine having money, a fancy home, husband and children, wearing expensive clothes, the freedom to travel, but not the freedom to reject the sexual advances of a White man. Ruby McCollum, even with her money, was subjected to the same kind humiliation Black women and young girl encountered living in the South. In the 1950s, some 88 years removed from slavery, a White man could have an African American woman arrested on trumped up charges, or beat her if she did not consent to him raping her without fear of judicial consequences.

'Ruby did not break down and weep piteously'

Zora Neale Hurston
When McCollum’s trial began s noted writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, traveled to Live Oak at the behest of The Pittsburg Courier editor to cover the story. Unfortunately, she could not interview Ruby McCollum or her attorney, Frank Cannon. The title of her series was "The Life Story of Ruby McCollum". Judge Hal Adams imposed a gag order on McCollum to stop her from participating in interviews with the media. Hurston had to sit in the segregated balcony in the courtroom.

McCollum’s Black attorney, realizing that he couldn’t mount a convincing case to an all White jury, all of whom former patients of the Dr. Adams, turned the case over to a White attorney named Frank Cannon.

Hurston wrote: “Ruby was allowed to describe how, about 1948, during an extended absence of her husband, she had, in her home, submitted to the doctor. She was allowed to state that her youngest child was his. Yet, 38 times Frank Cannon attempted to proceed from this point; 38 times he attempted to create the opportunity for Ruby to tell her whole story, and explore what were her motives; 38 times the state objected and 38 times the judge sustained these objection”. The objections frustrated Cannon. The judge has the power.

Hurston observed: “Ruby did not break down and weep piteously there was an abrupt halt in her testimony and something rushed from the deep of her tortured soul and inhabited her face for a space. The quintessence of human agony was there”.

 McCollum testified that she was caught between a rock and a hard place and the hard place was squeezing the life out of her. “I was so worried I had to either yield or maybe die. I suppose that was what would happen”. Zora Neale Hurston exposed a sin heaped upon Black women and young girls. She wrote that the trial of Ruby McCollum “sounded the death knell for paramour rights”. McCollum was describing her ordeal with Adams' paramour rights.

Keith Black, the prosecuting attorney in this case, apprised folks in the courtroom that McCollum “shot Adams in anger over a disputed bill, which was supported by three witnesses during the trial. McCollum herself testified that she had discussed a bill with Dr. Adams that day, but maintained that she shot the doctor in self-defense when he attacked her. Residents in Live Oak knew that McCollum was a wealthy woman and she and her husband were known to pay their bill promptly”. (African American Registry)

McCollum testified of the times the doctor came to her home. “Dr. Adams came out to my house that afternoon, before the morning of the beginning of this sexual relationship, and he told me that afternoon, ‘I will be back in the morning as soon as I finish all of my work. I will be back and I will show you what I was taking about’. And he came back out there the next morning about 9:30 and took me upstairs and laid me down on the bed and began the intercourse. And when it was finished he left, and he said, ‘I will be back some other time. You call me some other time”, and I said, ‘Yes, I will.’

“I told him I had not received a birth certificate for my baby yet, and I was supposed to receive a certificate a month after the baby was born. And I asked if he would get it for me, and he told me ‘I have it, and I am going to keep it until you tell me . . . until you do as I say do.’” (Persphone Magazine)

Ruby McCollum’s trial was historical in a sense that she survived without getting lynched. She had two trials. Not because of a hung jury or acquittal. On December 20, 1952 the male White jurors, all 12 former patients of the deceased, found her guilty of murder. She was sentenced to die in Florida’s electric chair. Testified claims that she was repeatedly raped and forced to have a child by Dr. Leroy Adams fell on the deaf ears.

McCollum spent two years on Florida’s death row. July 20, 1954 the conviction and death sentence were overturned on a technicality by the Florida Supreme Court. It seems that Judge Hal Adams (no kin to the deceased) failed to go with the jury to inspect Dr. Adam’s office, the scene of the crime.

McCollum’s attorney, Frank Cannon, filed a motion of insanity on her behalf. That led to an examination by court appointed physicians. The procedure was agreed to by Randall Slaughter, the state attorney. McCollum was declared mentally incompetent. She was sentenced to 20 years in the Florida State Hospital for the mentally in Chattahoochee, Florida.

Her memories disappeared

Cannon visited McCollum in 1974. He had filed papers under the Baker Act, hoping to get his client released from the mental institution. A patient not considered a danger is eligible for release under the Baker Act. Upon her release, McCollum went to live in a rest home in Silver Springs, Florida. Her bill was paid for out of a $40,000 trust fund set up by William Bradford Huie, a writer who chronicled her story in a book titled “Ruby McCollum: A Woman in the Suwannee Jail”. He intended to produce a movie, adapted from the pages of the book.

A reporter with the Ocala Star Banner visited McCollum in 1980. He found that she no longer had memories of her last life. He was told that she suffered Ganser Syndrome, a mental disease that caused McCollum to suppress painful memories. While she was in the mental hospital she had been subjected to shock treatments and heavily medicated, one of the medications being Thorazine.

Ruby McCollum died of a stroke May 23, 1992. She was 82 years old. Her remaining family members arranged for her burial behind the Hopewell Baptist Church next to the brother Matt Jackson, who died less than a year before she passed.

Sam McCollum, Jr. in an attempt to follow in his father’s footsteps was not as successful. Still living in his parent’s home at the time, he was caught with $250,000 cash. He was indicted in federal court on 10 counts of gambling. One of McCollum’s daughter’s was killed in a car accident, the other died of a heart attack.

Because there were no eyes witnesses to the Ruby McCollum/Dr. Clifford Adams tragedy, it is difficult to cite with accuracy, what happened exactly between these two people. Eric Musgrove, a citizen of Live Oak, who was interviewed for the movie “You Belong To Me”, said: “In looking at the Ruby McCollum trial, we’re never going to know everything thing that happened. The only two people that know exactly what happened are now deceased. A lot of what we talk about beyond the written records is going to be hearsay, misconceptions of what happened. But through all the conversation we’re never going to know every facet of what transpired between those two”.