Watching Our Crops Come Inby Clifton L. Taulbert
Clifton L. Taulbert's third memoir, Watching Our Crops Come In, begins in 1967, when Taulbert, now a young airman, faces the prospect of Vietnam while recognizing a new war blazing in the delta of his youth, a war that tugs at his heart, but his uniform keeps him from the fight for liberty back home. From the Freedom Riders and Martin Luther King, Jr., to Taulbert's… See more details below
Clifton L. Taulbert's third memoir, Watching Our Crops Come In, begins in 1967, when Taulbert, now a young airman, faces the prospect of Vietnam while recognizing a new war blazing in the delta of his youth, a war that tugs at his heart, but his uniform keeps him from the fight for liberty back home. From the Freedom Riders and Martin Luther King, Jr., to Taulbert's own work as a campaign volunteer for Robert F. Kennedy, Watching Our Crops Come In vividly evokes the mood and personalities of the emerging civil rights era. In his hometown, young idealists and old dreamers - from "saints" to "sinners" - register the colored vote. It is the warm, loving wisdom and enduring dreams learned on the front porches of his childhood that carry him through these turbulent times in the fervent belief that tomorrow is the brightest day. Deeply moving and life-affirming, Watching Our Crops Come In captures the ambience of the emerging civil rights era and the spirit of the ordinary people who changed the South.
The third of Taulbert's memoirs (When We Were Colored, 1989; The Last Train North, 1992), this entry follows him through the 1960s, when as an enlistee in the US Air Force, he was saved by a special assignment from having to serve in Vietnam; he was equally, he claims, "prohibited by [his] uniform from joining the fight for freedom back home." Taulbert left the Mississippi Delta at the age of 17 to join his father in St. Louis. He joined the Air Force in 1964 and was given a "classified position" in data processing at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. From that vantage point he watched "scores of airmen shipped off to a war . . . to ensure democracy, even though," he notes, "it was not fully realized here at home." During his years in the nation's capital, he closely observed the marches and riots that tore apart the country and noted the changes wrought by the movement on his own hometown. He was astonished to see "blacks and whites working together for social change." His mother, Mary, became the director of the local Head Start project; family members and friends became activists. An admirer of Dr. Martin Luther King, Taulbert stubbornly dismisses black power leaders such as H. Rap Brown as "northern cousins" who "had not marched in Selma or faced the dogs in Montgomery." Well, neither did he, and his lack of involvement waters down his occasional perceptive observations. Disillusioned by the assassinations of King and Robert F. Kennedy, Taulbert regarded the 1968 Poor People's Campaign as a grave disappointment.
His lack of real engagement, his repeated references to "coloreds," and his attribution of Brer Rabbit dialect to residents of his hometown ("ther wuz angels coming . . . more than I could eber count") will not play well with most readers.
- Penguin Group (USA)
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 4.86(w) x 7.02(h) x 0.47(d)
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