Disturbing the Dead

This installation of the Franklin Stove Blog is a departure from the usual format.

It’s fictional, based on accounts of actual events.

It might even be considered a ghost writ post.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

Evergreen Cemetery is next to Paul W Bryant Drive across from the football stadium.

It’s me, Rose, again. The girls who are thinking about pledging a sorority are still in the thralls of Rush. I just wanted to use the word “thralls.” From my perch in Bryant-Denny Stadium I can see the fair haired and light complexioned co-eds who are swarming all over Colonial Drive.

You know, two of the most segregated places in the Heart of Dixie are cemeteries and sororities. I would imagine that some of the Evergreen Cemetery occupants would be turning over in their graves if ever there were a significant number of black bodies allowed to be buried there or admitted to “white” sororities at the University of Alabama. As far as I know there aren’t any now, or certainly not many.

Evergreen Cemetery has been the site of burials since the 1800s. I could see the cemetery from Tutwiler Hall, the place that I haunted from 1968 to 2022, before the University demolished my co-ed residence hall. I’ve never been able to see another ghost, so I don’t know if the cemetery is haunted or not. You’d think in all that time that there’d be some ectoplasm lingering in the graveyard.

The grave of Alabama’s former governor and slaveowner Henry Watkins Collier is in Evergreen. He was firm believer in “stats rahts” and a staunch opponent of the abolition of slavery. It’s possible that some of his modern day counterparts may still go to the University of Alabama.

In 2016 there was an bizarre incident involving members of a sorority and fraternity that I heard about. A charter bus service was hired by a sorority to transport students to the Glory Bound Bar in Tuscaloosa for the sorority’s “Phiva Las Vegas” party. When a black bus driver told a frat boy that he couldn’t bring his alcoholic beverage on board, the driver was called a “dumb nigger.” Some of the fraternity members were supposed to have chanted “Nigger, Nigger, Nigger” along with the music that was on the bus speaker system. The way I heard it, when they left the bus, several of the drunk white boys hit the bus driver on the back of his head.

Many of the stars who play for the Alabama football team are black and are adulated by the members of the fraternities and sororities on campus. But there seems to me, at least, to be a kind of disconnect when Greek boys show their true colors on a bus.

When Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Home Sweet Alabama” is blasting from the stadium’s loud speakers, its lyrics about loving the governor who said “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” seem particularly true for the University’s Greek system.

But I love the University anyway. After all only about a third of its students are Greeks and I guess that they all can’t be a bunch of racists.

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