Lawrence Wade Black, Jr (born October 26, 1947; died February 2, 2014) was an educator, filmmaker, and executive director of the Birmingham Pledge Foundation.
Black was the son of Lawrence and Auguste Richerzhagen Black. He graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 1969 and earned a master's in English at Florida State University in 1975.
Black taught telecommunications at Alabama A&M University and was a founding member of the Alabama Filmmakers Co-op, and became its first director in 1977. He left in 1982 to accept a job as administrative director of "Film in the Cities" in St Paul, Minnesota. He left there two years later to return to film making under the auspices of his Bozart Mountain / Jade Films. He joined the faculty of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and organized the 1988 international conference on public broadcasting training there.
Black worked as associate director for outreach and special projects for the Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education from 1994 to 2006, when he became director of the Birmingham Pledge Foundation. He was a co-chair of the Birmingham Metro Diversity Coalition and an active member of 16th Street Baptist Church. He also volunteered his time with the Firehouse Shelter and American Red Cross.
Memphis, TN - We had no guesses on John Drummond's Western Mystery last week so I have asked John to take a different approach in his presentation of the information and I hope you all enjoy the hard work he has put into this feature.
Spring is here, but the weather doesn't know it. I hope all of you are enjoying life and I hope to try to see you at the Lee Lunch Bunch get-together in April. Check out the details by clicking on the Upcoming Events link in the menu to the left.
Have Gun - Will Travel
In a recent issue of Lee's Traveller, Tommy wrote about his fascination with the television series "The Gray Ghost." His story made me think about what was arguably the most popular genre of TV shows or movies in the late 1950s and early 1960s: Westerns. Probably every night of the week offered some 19th-century cowboy show on television. It might interest you readers to be reminded of some of these classics on horseback.
One of my personal favorites was "Have Gun - Will Travel." It starred Richard Boone as Paladin, who (even though he played the Good Guy) always wore black when on horseback. He lived in San Francisco, and took a train to wherever he was hired to help clients whip the bad guys and get back their stolen money, ranch, rustled cattle, kidnapped family member, or whatever. The show opened with an especially catchy theme song:
"Have Gun, Will Travel reads the card of a man,
a knight without armor in a savage land.
His fast gun for hire, he's the calling wind,
a Soldier of Fortune is the man called......Paladin"
Trivia question: Each week a hotel bus boy called "Hey Boy" would bring Paladin a newspaper he would scan to see if he might find someone who might need his help. If he found an interesting story he would send the person a business card or if he was riding through the country he might hand over the card face to face. The card only had eight words written on it; what were they? What icon or symbol also appear on the card?
Readers are encouraged to write in to contribute any special memories of comments about "Have Gun, Will Travel."
Coming next week: "The Lone Ranger" (NOT the one with Johnny Depp)
From The Draft of My New Book
Of Reflections on My High School Journal 50 Years Later
Wednesday, March 18, 1964
Got up around 10:00 A.M., a few minutes before Paul came over. Aunt Helen came over so Paul and I went riding. We went up town then came back and took his sister to the show. Then we went over to Three Caves. It was the first time I'd been there in years. Came home at 1:00 P.M. to see Grandmother went to work.
I'm watching some move about the War for Southern Independence now. After it's over I'm going to bed. I'm tres tired.
The trip to Three Caves is the comment that jumps out at me in this day’s journal entries. What is it about black holes in the side of a mountain that brings out the curiosity of the male species? Caves have drawn men to them since they were cavemen; hence, the name. But for my crowd, Three Caves was always a fun place to go exploring, and I had been making the journey there since before I was a Boy Scout.
The funny thing is Three Caves was not really a cave at all in the traditional sense. It was actually the remains of an old limestone mine that began operation in 1945. The early mining was not done with traditional mining techniques and really was just holes in the mountain blown by the use of dynamite.
According to information I found on the internet, around 1949, the mining shifted from the “drill and shoot” method of blasting an open pit to the more complicated “room and pillar” method of mining. At the time Huntsville was growing rapidly around the quarry area, and that method created large clouds of dust and sent flying rocks outside the boundaries of the quarry, sometimes with disastrous results. The quarry operation ended in 1952, and the three abandoned holes in the side of the mountain became a playground for young boys who never thought about the dangers it presented.
I found out later the former quarry was donated to the Land Trust of North Alabama in 1989 and became Three Caves. During the Cuban Missile Crisis it was designated a fallout shelter by the county, and finally the interior was closed in 2007 because of the danger of falling rocks.
I remember another cave in Northern Alabama that was the site of my first camping trip as a Boy Scout. It was called Salt Peter Cave back then and I am unsure of real name, since all I ever heard it called was Salt Peter Cave. The cave was the site of a Confederate salt peter (potassium nitrate) mine during the Civil War and that was about all I knew about it.
A closer and much smaller cave was on a trail in Monte Sano State Park and was also a site visited as a Boy Scout. Though today it seems like graffiti, back then we did not know any better and would take candles into the cave and write our names in the roof by holding lit candles close to the rock and creating the letters with the soot coming off the burning candles. I have never returned to the cave to see if the names are still there.
Caves still fascinate me, and only last year I was finally able to visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico while driving home from a visit to Southern California. This cave has been on my bucket list of places to see since the time of the journal in 1964. Highlights of the visit was walking the one-mile trail to the bottom of the 754 feet deep cavern and sitting at the entrance at sunset and seeing the evening flight of hundreds of thousands of bats as they depart to find food in the nighttime sky.
Today, the memory of Three Caves is small compared to Carlsbad Caverns, but as a kid growing up in a small town, Three Caves was the original colossal cave, a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
I did a Google search trying to find out more about Salt Peter Cave and ran into a problem. Even though we called it Salt Peter Cave back in the Fifties, apparently that is not the real name of this place. I remember it being located near Scottsboro and there are several caves listed there, but does anyone else remember visiting a place that was called Salt Peter Cave and if so, where is it located and what is the name it goes by today? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Space-A Flying
Very good "heads up" on Space "A." Beth reminds me on occasion of the hope she has to find time for a "A" flight to Rota, Spain, Naval Base. Your twenty years experience is reflected in the flexibility you both display. Years ago I read where military brats are the most adaptable of individuals on growing up with the uncertainty of "the next move" and as a result in the work force in adulthood are quite at home with a changing atmosphere. Step back and look how you seemed to just bounce around at ease. Not many can do that in retirement. I think that reflects your 20 year career, as well. We're flying about three times a year now, something before you only did if your job required it. To drive any distance now is just ridiculous. Everybody is on the road. Our population has about doubled since the early sixties and everybody over 16 has a car. We need the nice hi-speed Eurail of Europe. I'd ride it in a minute. I did like hearing about your side trip to Honolulu. To me, thats worth all the trouble. From time to time I can still recollect the plumeria, plus Waikiki. I could reminisce on Hawaii all day. Great story.
Just looking around on a rainy Saturday, was looking for info on the Kildare Mansion, found this site and wanted to say hey. Dan Justin Columbia Military Academy 1969 (I'm sure alot of the '64, '65, & '66 Lee folks remember CMA)
LEE LUNCH BUNCH
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Balmoral Dr. (off Airport Rd.)
Please let us know if you plan to attend. Logan’s management always asks us for a number. You can let me know by email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), or let Judy Fedrowisch Kincaid know on Facebook or by email ( email@example.com ).
Thanks and hope to see you April 24th at the LLB
Patsy Hughes Oldroyd
LEE HIGH SCHOOL
FIRST GRADUATING CLASS 1964
50 year Reunion
We will be celebrating the First Graduating Class of one of Huntsville’s Historic High Schools on
September 26-27, 2014
WELCOME ALL 1965, 1966
ACOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE: Blocked Rooms at the Embassy Suites: 20 suites blocked; 1964 1ST priority;
$119.00/night, must reserve early; rooms will not be held until Sept; specify LHS 50th Reunion Code#636