Picture of John Fleming

Fellowship Title:

Fellowship Year:


“Gone Time” Lives Anew in Alabama

MARION, Alabama – Reese Billingsley, insurance salesman and member of the county’s tiny black middle class, eased his Model-T Ford off the dirt road into the cotton field, and blew the horn. “You see, she told me not to come up to the house,” the 76 year-old explained over lunch at Lottie’s diner, just off the town square, half a century later. “She says to me, the first time I was out there, ‘you toot the horn, and I’ll bring the premium down to you.’ So I laid down on that squeaky horn a bunch of times. Well, directly, here comes Dr. Jones down the hill. He drives up to me and says, ‘what’re you doing here?’ I told him, I’m just selling a little insurance. So he goes, ‘let me tell you one damn thing, insurance don’t feed these “n…..”s, we do.’ “That’s a good bit of how it was back then” he says picking at a chicken wing and finishing off his sweet tea. “That was a different time.” That was the Alabama

Read More »