On Thursday evening retired Forney educator Grace Johnson was the keynote speaker at the “Third Thursday Evening at the Spellman Museum" cultural gathering.
A lovely reception and book signing was hosted jointly by the Spellman Museum and the Forney Arts Council and to the delight of many guests, retired Forney ISD teacher Grace Johnson enthusiastically discussed her recently released first novel “Darkness on the Delta.”
Held in the reception room of the beautifully designed Spellman Museum of Forney History, those attending the book signing first enjoyed a nice array of wine and hors d'oeuvres then gathered to hear Museum Manager Kendall Melton introduce author Grace E. Johnson.
First speaking about her years as a teacher and administrator for the Forney ISD, Grace Johnson said “One thing I'm going to talk about all through this, is that this project has had a Forney connection from day one. This is a story that has waited forty years to be told because I chose teaching over my writing and after a forty year career I'd have to say it was a good choice. I loved my career. I really did."
Explaining the history behind the novel "Darkness on the Delta", Johnson said “This happened in 1955. So we have Carolyn Bryant accused Emmett Till of flirting with her. Years and years and years later she recants that story and say's 'well it wasn't true. He was just a little sassy'. He was uppity, as they say. So when she tells her husband that he flirted with her, he and J. W. Milam get together, he's related to him, and they go kidnap him in the middle of the night from his uncles house. And they take him out and beat him and torture him and they end up shooting him with a forty-five pistol and tying a gin fan around his neck with barbed wire. And then threw him into the Tallahatchie River."
Johnson said "And there are people today who will still say "if you don't leave us alone the Tallahatchie won't be big enough to hold all the bodies". So it's complicated. Emmett Till, also known as Bobo. The reason why I was talking to this former student about Emmett Till is because his death was so heinous, no horrendous that people on both sides of the race issues were just outraged. And especially when his mother chose to have his mutilated body in open casket at the funeral for the whole world to see how horrible it was. So his death really was like the first incidence that really pushed civil rights into our national politics and into our social conscious."
A truly interesting historic reflection of the pre-civil rights era within the South, the independently published book "Darkness on the Delta" by Grace E. Johnson is available on Amazon.
Check out additional video's and pictures of this very special event at www.theforneytruth.com
Written by: Denise Bell