April 2, 2022, Dadeville, AL- “Behold a tree. Does it speak to us thusly: ‘Don’t you see that God is not working Himself into a frenzy in me? I am calmly, quietly, silently pouring forth my life and bringing forth fruit. ‘ Do thou likewise.”-Clarence Jordan
Mr. Jordan was one of the founders of Koinonia Farm, an intentional experiment in Christian living, which began in 1942, west of Americus, GA. Together with his wife, Florence, and colleagues Martin and Mabel England, he built a community based on the brotherhood and sisterhood of all people. This brought hostility from those who were afraid of racial equality, with Ku Klux Klan attacks and drive-by shootings, as well as bombings in the 1950s.
Koinonia’s response was nonviolence and prayer. The founders, and the community, survived nicely, and the enterprise remains as it was founded, rooted in love and prayer. Clarence passed away in 1969. Out of Koinonia’s ministerial efforts have come Habitat for Humanity, and The Fuller Center for Housing. Koinonia remains a fully-functioning cooperative farm.
Here are some scenes of the property, which I visited this morning.
An example of an unreasoning individual showed up, as I was preparing to turn left into the chapel’s driveway, and passed my car, on a double yellow line, in the opposite lane, seconds before I would have turned, had I not felt the energy telling me-“WAIT!” The vehicle must have been moving at 50 mph, leaving the road and bouncing back on it, about fifteen seconds later.
Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, is still alive, at age 97. He lives with his wife Rosalynn, on a private compound, in Plains, GA, where they grew up. Plains proudly holds its favourite son and daughter to its heart. The small downtown bears the imprint of the U.S. National Park Service. While not everyone on the block is a fan of Mr. Carter, those who grew up there are.
Two very positive shop owners were the proprietor of a peanut butter ice cream parlor, who is a native of Plains and a small cash dispenser/convenience store owner, who comes from Sri Lanka. The owner of Plains Trading Post has one of the largest troves of political memorabilia and media, in the nation. I will leave it at that. He has several rare books on various historical topics. I bought one, as a gift to a family member.
At the Jimmy Carter National Historical Site, on the campus of the former Plains High School, it was noteworthy that one of the strongest influences on Mr. Carter was his school’s lead educator, Miss Julia Coleman-who was a pedagogically active Superintendent. Miss Coleman (She rejected the title, Ms.) was active in community gardening and took a personal interest in both the white and black schools, and their students. It dismayed her that there was so much resistance to integration of the two student bodies, even as late as 1965.
The fullness of Jimmy Carter’s life is well-depicted in the 25-minute video that is shown in the historical site’s auditorium. I hope to learn more, at the Carter Center, his Presidential Library, in Atlanta-but not until my next visit in the area. (Mr. Carter believes on keeping the Sabbath, so the facility is closed on Sunday). Needless to say, his legacy is already one of the most genuine and consistently enriched, of all the Presidents.
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site is situated at the very field where the men trained. Just north of the city of Tuskegee, Alabama, it is a spacious area, and is still used as a training site for pilots of small aircraft.
This hangar contains examples of two training airplanes, a plane motor and has audio presentations of several different players in the endeavour. Women served as security, parachute preparers, and aircraft mechanics.
It was a full day, and I admit to being a bit less energetic than the various people zipping along the backroads of Alabama, while I headed to and from Oskar’s Cafe, and Heart of Dixie Motel, Dadeville. Oskar’s has modest, but very filling portions-continuing in the spirit of Georgia and Florida. Madolyn was another very focused and energetic server. The motel needs a lot of work, but it’s clean and safe.
Tomorrow, I head back to Atlanta, for a day or two.
So much history!!
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Jimmy Carter’s story, alone, could fill a few volumes-especially his life since 1981.