The Life and Death of Davis Knight after State vs. Knight (1948)

Renegade South

By Vikki Bynum

Courthouse in downtown Clinton,  Feliciana Parish, Louisiana Courthouse in downtown Clinton, Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. The Davis Knight trial will be filmed here for the movie, Free State of Jones.

The Ellisville Courthouse, Ellisville, Mississippi, where Davis Knight was tried and found guilty of miscegenation. The Ellisville Courthouse, Ellisville, Mississippi, where Davis Knight was tried and found guilty of miscegenation. Photo by Victoria Bynum.

Davis Knight, the great-grandson of the infamous “Free State of Jones” guerrilla, Newt Knight, became the centerpiece of his own drama some 25 years after the death of his notorious ancestor. Although Davis was descended from Newt and his wife, Serena, both of whom were white, he was also the great-grandson of Rachel Knight, a former slave of Newt’s grandfather. And although Davis was white in appearance, because of his descent from Rachel, he was defined as black by his white neighbors. Some of those neighbors did not take kindly to Davis Knight’s marriage in 1946 to Junie Lee Spradley, a local white woman. In 1948, Davis…

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Serena Knight

Renegade South

There are many participants in the Free State of Jones that I wish I knew more about. One of them is Serena Knight, the white wife of Newt Knight. 

Serena is often forgotten in the rush to spotlight Newt’s interracial relationship with Rachel.  And, yet, Serena appears central to Newt’s decision to desert the Confederate Army; she was the mother of nine of his children. And she still lived with him in 1880, long after Rachel had begun to give birth to children believed to be fathered by her husband.

There was nothing unusual about Southern white men having sexual relations with black women, either forced or consensual, right under their wives’ noses, particularly before slavery was abolished. But Newt and Serena Knight’s post-Reconstruction interracial homestead was quite unusual. In 1878, two of their children, Matt and Mollie, married two of Rachel’s children, Fannie and Jeffrey. That made three interracial Knight unions that lived on the same land, although not in the same households. By 1880, these Knights constituted an interracial community that continued to grow over…

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Memorial Day Tribute to Those Who Paid the ULTIMATE Sacrifice for MY Freedom….

My tribute for Memorial Day Tribute project actually isn’t finished yet. That project is titled American Beauty Rose. Maybe I posted an early working version of that previously, but maybe not. Really don’t remember.

So… I conceived and posted White Crosses….

Those who paid the ultimate sacrifice- THEIR lives- for MY freedom… certainly deserve some small token of recognition and appreciation….

Thank you!

White Crosses (Intro)

30 May 2016 1521
by BaHR

I stand on a hill… and survey….
Seems all my eyes will spy today…
A pale horse….
A pale rider….
Death… making his way…
Making his War…
And… nothing more do I see…
Than all the grim sheaths he’s reaped….
Marked with ghostly White Crosses….

Speak your peace, White Crosses….
Arise!
Speak!
Defenders of Peace….

Ain’t Workin’ Today.

30 May 2016 1412
by BaHR

Ah-wah-hah….
Oh-woh-ooh….
Wah-hah-hah….
Ooh-woo-hop….
Was feelin’ bad….
Ain’t gettin’ any better….
Keep remindin’ myself….
I got to forget her….
But… it ain’t workin’….
Nothin’ ain’t workin’….
Just ain’t workin’ today!

Must be some… holiday or sumpin’…
But… I can’t be certain….
Seems like my whole WORLD’S flipped and crazy…
Or… I done got lazy….
Keep tellin’ myself I gotta… move….
Gotta find some kinda… groove….
Gotta get back to workin’ today…..
But nothin’s workin’ today….

Life’s been a long line of dead ends.
Got no idea where to begin
To find someone….
Something….
Somewhere….
Somehow….
I can believe in….
So I can begin to piece this thing back together again….

But… I just sit here…
Twittlin’ my thumbs…
Feelin’ old… and stupid…
And actin’ dumb…
Just shootin’ the shit
And… drinkin’ myself numb
Tryin’ to drown her memory….

My sweet… sweet… SWEET Jenny….
Since I kissed Jenny’s sweet red-eyed ass goodbye
Seems all I wanna do I sit around here and cry….

Ah-wah-hah….
Oh-woh-ooh….
Wah-hah-hah….
Ooh-woo-hop….
I’m feelin’ bad….
And… it ain’t gettin’ better….
Now I’m fightin’ mad,
But I’m fightin’ forgettin’….
Guess I’m just a jerk… and…
My mojo ain’t workin’….
No… my mojo ain’t workin’….
Nothin’ ain’t workin’. today!

So… maybe I might just hit the road…
Ride towards that Sun that’s settin’…..
Bet before I get too far
I’ll be forgettin’ ever regrettin’
That I ain’t workin’….
No… I ain’t workin’ today….

Thank You for Loving Me.

30 May 2016 0933
by BaHR

 

When I feel unlovable,
You love me anyway.
When my life’s a struggle,
You teach me that I’ll be OK.
If I just trust you… and obey….

Lord, thank you for loving me!
Lord, thank you for loving me!
Lord, thank you for loving me!
Lord, thank you for loving me!

I know I’m bound to stumble.
And… Lord… I’m bound to fall….
But I know you’ll always be there to catch me.
Lord, you’re my All-in-All!
Yes, Lord, you’re my All-in-All!

Lord, thank you for loving me!
Lord, thank you for loving me!
Lord, thank you for loving me!
Lord, thank you for loving me!

Lord, I know I don’t deserve your love,
Still you gave your life for me.
And even though I can never repay your love,
Still you’re all I’ll ever need.
Lord, I give you all the Glory
For ALL you’ve given me.
But I’ve got one more thing to thank you for….
Lord, thank you for loving ME!!!

Lord, thank you for loving me!
Lord, thank you for loving me!
Lord, thank you for loving me!
Lord, thank you for loving me!