January 27, 2023

Cover Whole

Genuine Education

Emancipation Jena Louisiana

Background:

Miss Neola Reuther born 1900, Charleston, West Virginia graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College degree Liberal Arts. Jeremiah Spotswood graduated Cornell, degree Agricultural Economist. Neola, Jeremiah married December 1921 locals call her Miss Nell-La.

Sarah Spotswood born 1930 Baton Rouge Mississippi, unmarried daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Jeremiah Spotswood graduated 1952 M.S.U Animal Science; locals call her Missy.

Jena Louisianan

Writer: Why did you move to Jena?

Missy: I had to take over my daddy’s businesses we have a big farm here raise Angus & Brahman; we sold off all his other hold’ns.

Writer: When did Mr. Spotswood die? Miss Neola starts to answer but Missy interrupts-Daddy died August 21st, 1952.

Missy to Writer: Why y’all, here? Where you from? Expect yor not here to discuss farm’n!

Writer: I’m from New York I was sent by my publisher write article; I would like to ask you and Miss Neola few questions about the 6 young men who were arrested in Jena. Did you know any of the young men or their families?

Missy: Y’all, here to raise hell about those boys! Y’all think Reed Walters racists. Reed he’s a good Christian man; he wont arrested those boys if’ their not already guilty; besides mama and me always votes for Reed.

Miss Neola: She seems to come to life, eyes darting she spoke all most in a whisper! Sarah Spotswood hush yor mouth! I’ve never voted for that pecker-wood. I don’t know much about his church go’n but he’s always been as useful as a trap door on a canoe.

Writer : Missy seams puzzled maybe even frightened.

Miss Neola: O’ Honey I don’t never vote like you; you never were very good at pick’n.

Writer: Miss Neola turns her attention to me; I hadn’t notice before but Miss Neola wearing Nina Ricci; I recognized Paris Haute Couture I had written article about Paris coutures!

Miss Neola: Now I’m fixin to tell you about Jena. I known you think old lady don’t know much; Busey reads me newspapers every mornin. I know most folks think we’re Jim Crow love’n rednecks. I’m think’n those boys crime is bee’n poor and black but most all the folks in Jena now those boys were done wrong.

Miss Neola: I heard on radio people shouting emancipation for those boys. Honey emancipation is life long struggle for everybody; it’s a struggle for me; it was a struggle for Mr. Spotswood when he’d buy farms and sold them to poor whites and colored folks made them partners instead share croppers; it was struggle in 52 Sarah vet school and it go’na be life long struggle for those boys, Jena and United States.

Miss Neola: World has two kind’s folk the carin and haten; Sarah and Reed there the haten kind they livin in the past want every thing to stay the same and than thers carin kind; quarter folks in Jena are carin.

Writer: I sent Miss Neola copy of the article. Missy sent me a note, Miss Neola died 7 hours after the interview.