The Georgia Citizen

Keeping Georgians Informed.

The MACE Manifesto. Part III.

The MACE Manifesto: A Summary.

The MACE Manifesto: The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What’s Wrong with American Public Education is a gonzoistic examination of what is wrong with the institution known as American Public Education.  In this Gonzo style of writing, Dr. John Trotter and Mr. Norreese Haynes make no high-minded pretenses of being objective but give colorful and compelling explanations of what are the real problems of public education, not what the so-called “school reformers” think are the problems.  Trotter and Haynes bewail the teaching conditions in America’s public schools and especially in the urban schools.  They often cite the MACE Mantra: “You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.”

Trotter and Haynes contend that the so-call school reform efforts are misplaced, misguided, and cause much more harm than good.  These efforts start, according to Trotter and Haynes, from a false premise, viz., that the teaching corps is the problem with our public schools.  They, however, write that the number one problem in the public schools today is that power has been taken away from the teachers.  They contend that teachers have been denuded of power and influence over student discipline and the curriculum that they teach in their classrooms. Trotter and Haynes state that teachers need to be put back on their thrones in their classrooms and that school administrators should get the heck out of the classrooms and quit “snoopervising” the teachers.  Instead of micromanaging teachers, good teachers should simply be hired and allowed to have the freedom in the classroom to be creative, and the administrators should back the teachers to the hilt when it comes dealing with rude, defiant, and disruptive students.  The authors contend that a loose net will catch any weak or incompetent teacher but a tight net will suffocate creative teachers and drive them out of the profession.

Besides defiant and disruptive students, Trotter and Haynes state that the other major problems in public education are the irate and irresponsible parents; angry, petty, and abusive administrators; systematic cheating on standardized tests as well as on regular tests and assignments; and the treating of most lack of learning as technical breakdowns instead of motivational breakdowns.  They rant against the standardized tests which they say have become the curricula as well as “the false gods of public education.”  They also bewail the inordinate, onerous, and inane paperwork and meetings that encumber the teachers on a daily basis.

Trotter and Haynes explain that when it comes to mega changes like the pushing of Common Core Standards throughout the nation’s schools (which through the backdoor becomes the national curriculum), it really is “all about the money.”  They see the push for Common Core by Bill and Melinda Gates and Pearson Education as the attempt to take over the American schools by nationalizing and homogenizing the curriculum.  But, Trotter and Haynes contend that “local control” of the curriculum is very important because each community is different with different needs.  Trotter and Haynes see U. S. Secretary Arne Duncan and the controversial Michelle Rhee as the “acolytes” doing much of the work for billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad, the latter two of whom they call “denizens” in public education.

The MACE Manifesto is organized in six major parts, though there are many sections that stand alone. The major parts of this book are (1) Expounding Theories (19 chapters); (2) Explaining Race (five chapters); Exhaling Rants (21 chapters); (4) Exposing Myths (five chapters and 25 myths); (5) Eviscerating Accreditation; and (6) Exhibiting Appendices (26 appendices).

This book had been described by attorney Preston Haliburton as “a gripping and riveting read” and by educator James Yawn as “the tour-de-force on public education.” © Big Daddy Publishers, 2014.

Purchase Now The MACE Manifesto!

Praise for

The MACE Manifesto

“Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes are true friends of public school teachers, and I know that when they write or speak on public education, everyone needs to take note.  Every educator, young and old, and all politicians – legislators, school board members, and even superintendents – need to read The MACE Manifesto!” – The Honorable Darryl W. Jordan, Georgia State Representative

“A gripping, riveting read.” – Attorney Preston Haliburton

“John and Norreese are politically incorrect but are absolutely correct on public education!” – The Honorable Sandra G. Scott, Georgia State Representative

Book photo - JT and NH

“As a former PTA President at a public elementary school, a public middle school, and a public high school, I appreciate the fact that The MACE Manifesto addresses the need for discipline in our public schools.” – Michael Robinson

“Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes are dealing with the unpleasant realities of today’s public schools – and, as a teacher, I can vouch for this!” – Dr. Jose Helena

“As a classroom educator, my life was changed by Dr. Trotter and MACE – and now we have The MACE Manifesto, the tour-de-force on public education!” – James (Gunny) Yawn

JT and NH in Yellow Room

“Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes have been fighting for teachers for years, and as a son of two Georgia school teachers and as a Vice Chairman of a Georgia public school board, I know the importance of the message of The MACE Manifesto!” – Attorney J. Anderson Ramay

“The MACE Manifesto is the inconvenient truth about what goes on in our public schools – and especially in our urban schools.  I know.  I spent my whole career as a teacher in the Birmingham and Atlanta schools.” – Charles Melton

“From my educator’s perspective, The MACE Manifesto is the Bible on public education!” – Bo T. Oates

“As a former teacher and a former school board member, I am excited that a book finally tells it like it is on public education.” – Linda Crummy

“This ain’t chicken soup!” – J. B. Stanley

“Each page is RADIOACTIVE!” – Benjamin Barnes

“The unvarnished and sad truth about public education today.” – R. L. Moore

“I spent my career as a teacher and an administrator in two urban schools systems, and Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes are right on target in The MACE Manifesto.” – Mark Harris

“As a former teacher and a current administrator, I know the importance of good teaching conditions, and this is what The MACE Manifesto is all about.” – Lee Carter

“Yes, we are going to endorse our own book.  It is an impressive manifesto.  We’re not falsely modest.  In this educational treatise, you will gain many insights about how American Public Education operates.  You will learn about how newly appointed superintendents come to town with ropes around their necks, barely escaping the last school system alive but the search firm pimps put cheap perfume on them, recycle them, and sell these educational sluts to other unsuspecting school boards.

“You will learn how the publishing and software industries (most notably Pearson out of London, England and Bill Gates of Microsoft) are driving the American Public Education agenda with an indoctrinating, watered-down, dim-witted, drivel-type, homogenized, and nationalized curriculum called Common Core which is aligned with the values of UNESCO and not necessarily with the values of the local community.

“We show you how the standardized tests have become the false gods of American Public Education and how three essential elements for learning are completely ignored by the ‘school deformers’ – discipline, aptitude, and motivation.

“We deal with subjects that others either don’t know shit about or have parakeet balls and are afraid to broach.

“You will understand that trying to find a school administrator who supports teachers to the hilt and demands that students behave in the classroom is like trying to capture dinosaur farts and bottling them for the Smithsonian.  They are just that rare!

“You get it all here…with panache and street cred.  Forget hollow platitudes.  We give it to you straight…right in the gut!” – Dr. John Trotter and Norreese Haynes

What in the Hell is The MACE Manifesto?

     The MACE Manifesto is a gonzoistic explanation of what is really wrong with the institution known as American Public Education (APE) – with no holds barred.  In the parlance of professional wrestling, it may resemble a Texas Cage Match.  A gonzo style of writing is written in the first person, uses the vernacular, is loaded with details, and makes no high-minded and hypocritical claims of objectivity – and, quite frankly, doesn’t give a rat’s ass whom it might offend.  In fact, Trotter and Haynes state clearly that they intend to offend.

Book photo - Front cover

     Trotter and Haynes bewail the teaching conditions in America’s public schools, especially in the urban schools.  Unlike the common and trite analyses of the so-called school reformers, Trotter and Haynes do not lay the blame of the ills of public education at the feet of the classroom educators but at the feet of the “numbskull” and “dumbass” politicians, policymakers, superintendents, and administrators.  They go a bit light on the elected school board members, describing them as too naïve to the games of the school system’s “sluts,” “pimps,” and “bitches” who, according to Trotter and Haynes, have razed any common sense in the school systems, causing the systems to become mental and moral wastelands.

Trotter and Haynes are not calling for more school “reformation” but for a complete return to the ways of the days which produced literate citizens who, upon graduating from high school, could write cogent paragraphs, deftly multiply and divide numbers in their heads at cash registers when buying something, know the difference between George Washington and the Revolutionary War and Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, and generally were culturally literate.  The Cromwellian Revolution of School Reform of the last 30 years has resulted in the teachers being denuded and dethroned in their own classrooms.  The teachers need to be returned to power.  They need to be the kings and queens of their classrooms once again.  Order needs to be restored, and when order is returned to the classrooms, learning will take place.

Readily acknowledging that public education is on life-support, Trotter and Haynes assert that it is tragically sick largely because of the asinine rules and regulations that the State and Federal governments have intravenously administered to the collective school corpus.  The most recent invasive viruses injected into the collective school corpus in America have come about by the ideas pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and vulture philanthropists and denizens like Bill Gates and Eli Broad and their devoted acolytes, U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his sidekick and educational charlatan, Michelle Rhee.

Trotter and Haynes make a strong case for detoxifying public education in the United States with a series of metaphorical enemas.  “The real problem with public education is that the teachers have been stripped of their power and authority in the classroom – over both curriculum and classroom discipline,” they contend.  They often quote the MACE Mantra:  “You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.

Purchase Now The MACE Manifesto! 

     If you want to purchase The MACE Manifesto, you can write to Big Daddy Publishers, Post Office Box 71911, Newnan, GA 30271.  This manifesto is over 600 pages and has nearly 200 photos.  It should cost $60.00 but Big Daddy Publishers has agreed to sell this manifesto for only $30.00 plus $3.00 for shipping and handling.  If you are a MACE Member, the book is just $15.00!

Book photo - Back cover

     Big Daddy Publishers did what other publishers were probably too nervous to do…publish this manifesto with all of its edginess.  This manifesto will prove to be a “timeless classic” on public education and is indeed “a gripping, riveting read,” as Attorney Haliburton describes it.  Trotter and Haynes take on the richest person in the world, Bill Gates, who, along with his wife Melinda, is more responsible for pushing the Common Core Standards (as well as unlimited Charter Schools and Merit Pay Evaluations for teachers with their students’ test scores largely factoring into the teachers’ final evaluation) on the public schools nationwide, thus nationalizing and homogenizing this mushy and feckless curriculum and enabling his company, Microsoft, and other companies to reap financial dividends thereof.  Trotter and Haynes tear into Bill Gates and his Common Crap Curriculum perhaps like no one else in the country.  Literally, Gates has given millions upon millions to other unions and colleges of education throughout the country, effectively shutting down criticism from these organizations.

Trotter and Haynes took on other public figures and public officials, squarely calling a spade a spade.  They did not boringly and placidly measure their words.  “We told the truth about certain public officials and public figures and let the chips fall where they fell,” quipped Dr. Trotter.  “I had so many lies told on me when I was an elected official,” laughed Mr. Haynes, “that we thought that it was time that the truth be told, and truth is the absolute defense against libel.”

Trotter and Haynes outline eight plagues of American Public Education which pretty much sum up all the problems.  These plagues are: (1) Irate & Irresponsible Parents; (2) Defiant & Disruptive Students; (3) Angry & Abusive Administrators; (4) Deification of Standardized Tests; (5) School-Directed Systematic Cheating; (6) Common Crap Curriculum & Mushy Thinking; (7) Centralization & Homogenization of the Schools; and (8) Inordinate, Onerous, & Inane Paperwork.

 About MACE… 

        MACE was founded in 1995. The MACE Mantra has been from the beginning: You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions. And, yes, MACE does devour administrators who abuse teachers. MACE does not allow administrators or supervisors to join, and if a teacher becomes an administrator or supervisor, this person can no longer remain a MACE Member. MACE is not mad at them. MACE just has to make sure that there is no conflict-of-interests. This is a major reason that the other unions are so ineffective. They have built-in-conflicts and don’t really know who they are representing. MACE protects and empowers Classroom Educators…one member at a time.

 

Big Daddy Publishers, Post Office Box 71911, Newnan, GA 30271 ∙ 770/895-6627 ∙ BigDaddyPublishers.Com ∙ Printed in the U. S. A.

 

http://www.bigdaddypublishers.com

Will Democrats Rise Up in Georgia? No, They Didn’t. Republicans Kicked Ass!

I hope that the Republicans don’t have their hopes too high in Georgia. It may be a disappointing night. My sources tell us that there is a huge black turnout…especially for a Congressional year election.  They tell us that there is a huge turnout in Clayton County.  It will prove to be an interesting evening.  Stay tuned.

***

So, the elections are over…well, except in the tight U. S. Senate Seat in Virginia where Warner was supposed to walk away with it.  Our sources were wrong!  LOL!  Too many of the Democrat voters stayed home, but the Republican voters came in masses.  They were fired up.  It appears that the coat tails of Bill and Hillary Clinton were certainly not long.  Michelle Obama’s help was also not enough.  Heck, most Democrat candidates wanted the President to just stay away.  His home state, Illinois, even elected a Republican to the U. S. Senate, as did Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut.  The year 2012 was not repeated.  In 2012, minorities came out to vote in disproportional numbers.  Our earlier report was that the same thing was happening.  Obviously, our sources were wrong.  Even Georgia outright elected Republican Perdue without heading to a run-off, as was predicted.

Yes, the Republicans kicked ass in 2014.  Will this same ass-whoopin’ hold up in the Presidential year in 2016?  Stay tuned.

Praise for The MACE Manifesto!

 

Praise for

The MACE Manifesto

“Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes are true friends of public school teachers, and I know that when they write or speak on public education, everyone needs to take note.  Every educator, young and old, and all politicians – legislators, school board members, and even superintendents – need to read The MACE Manifesto!” – The Honorable Darryl W. Jordan, Georgia State Representative

“A gripping, riveting read.” – Attorney Preston Haliburton

“John and Norreese are politically incorrect but are absolutely correct on public education!” – The Honorable Sandra G. Scott, Georgia State Representative

“As a former PTA President at a public elementary school, a public middle school, and a public high school, I appreciate the fact that The MACE Manifesto addresses the need for discipline in our public schools.” – Michael Robinson

“Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes are dealing with the unpleasant realities of today’s public schools – and, as a teacher, I can vouch for this!” – Dr. Jose Helena

“As a classroom educator, my life was changed by Dr. Trotter and MACE – and now we have The MACE Manifesto, the tour-de-force on public education!” – James (Gunny) Yawn

“Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes have been fighting for teachers for years, and as a son of two Georgia school teachers and as a Vice Chairman of a Georgia public school board, I know the importance of the message of The MACE Manifesto!” – Attorney J. Anderson Ramay

“The MACE Manifesto is the inconvenient truth about what goes on in our public schools – and especially in our urban schools.  I know.  I spent my whole career as a teacher in the Birmingham and Atlanta schools.” – Charles Melton

“From my educator’s perspective, The MACE Manifesto is the Bible on public education!” – Bo T. Oates

“As a former teacher and a former school board member, I am excited that a book finally tells it like it is on public education.” – Linda Crummy

“This ain’t chicken soup!” – J. B. Stanley

“Each page is RADIOACTIVE!” – Benjamin Barnes

“The unvarnished and sad truth about public education today.” – R. L. Moore

“I spent my career as a teacher and an administrator in two urban schools systems, and Dr. Trotter and Mr. Haynes are right on target in The MACE Manifesto.” – Mark Harris

“As a former teacher and a current administrator, I know the importance of good teaching conditions, and this is what The MACE Manifesto is all about.” – Lee Carter

“Yes, we are going to endorse our own book.  It is an impressive manifesto.  We’re not falsely modest.  In this educational treatise, you will gain many insights about how American Public Education operates.  You will learn about how newly appointed superintendents come to town with ropes around their necks, barely escaping the last school system alive but the search firm pimps put cheap perfume on them, recycle them, and sell these educational sluts to other unsuspecting school boards.

“You will learn how the publishing and software industries (most notably Pearson out of London, England and Bill Gates of Microsoft) are driving the American Public Education agenda with an indoctrinating, watered-down, dim-witted, drivel-type, homogenized, and nationalized curriculum called Common Core which is aligned with the values of UNESCO and not necessarily with the values of the local community.

“We show you how the standardized tests have become the false gods of American Public Education and how three essential elements for learning are completely ignored by the ‘school deformers’ – discipline, aptitude, and motivation.

“We deal with subjects that others either don’t know shit about or have parakeet balls and are afraid to broach.

“You will understand that trying to find a school administrator who supports teachers to the hilt and demands that students behave in the classroom is like trying to capture dinosaur farts and bottling them for the Smithsonian.  They are just that rare!

“You get it all here…with panache and street cred.  Forget hollow platitudes.  We give it to you straight…right in the gut!” – Dr. John Trotter and Norreese Haynes

 

http://www.themacemanifesto.com

The Superintendent Clowns of America Name Two More Inductees, Fulton County’s Robert Avossa and Muscogee County’s David Lewis

Two young upstart superintendents in Georgia, Robert Avossa of Fulton County, and David Lewis of Muscogee County, have been added to this illustrious group of clowns, the Superintendent Clowns of America.  Both of these young bucks, who had not yet earned their doctorates (but were both working on them from small colleges), were hired upon the recommendation of school board attorney Glenn Brock who holds himself out as a “search firm,” though he only gives the school boards one finalist.  These two men apparently came from the Eli Broad Superintendents Academy (or “Superintendents Brothel,” as Dr. John Trotter calls it!).  They, though their lack of depth and experience, are hired upon the recommendation of Glenn Brock (who also seems to land a job and keep a job as school board attorney among the respective school boards).  Avossa pushed for the Fulton School System to be a system-wide charter system.  Lewis has done the same thing in the Muscogee County School District.  The teachers were already being treated like dog shit in these school systems; now, they were be treated even worse, especially without the regular due process rights under the Georgia Law being jettisoned.

Avossa by AJC

Fulton County Superintendent, Robert Avossa (Photo by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Avossa and Lewis, no doubt, know that they are blessing those who blessed them.  Eli Broad (and Bill Gates) are pushing very hard for the entire country to have school systems which are system-wide charter and for teachers to be evaluated based on the scores of their students on some damnable standardized test (old fashioned “merit pay” or “value-added” evaluations).  Yes, Avossa and Lewis seem to be dutiful acolytes to Eli and Edyth Broad and to Bill and Melinda Gates.  Now you know the rest of the story!

Lewis by Ledger-Enquirer

Muscogee County Superintendent, David Lewis (Photo by The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)

http://www.superintendentclownsofamerica.wordpress.com

Boxing Mogul Don (Moose) Lewis Thanks His Family, The Georgia Citizen, and Congressman Gingrey and His Staff!

 

Statement By Don (Moose) Lewis:

“I wish to thank The Georgia Citizen for bringing this to light. I will be issuing a press release within the next 24 hours with more details of the ordeal. I also invite any questions on my ‘shady’ business practices from any legitimate entity or person. Finally, I wish to thank my family for their unwavering support and effort to bring me home and to give my everlasting gratitude to the office of Congressman Phil Gingrey for their relentless work with the State Department in both monitoring the situation and being a conduit of information to so many. Congressman Gingrey and his staff are great Americans and even greater humanitarians.”

Don Lewis

Don Lewis heads up the IBU.

The Georgia Citizen looks forward to Mr. Lewis’s press conference.  As an American journalistic enterprise, we still denounce these reprehensible actions which apparently took place in the Republic of Benin, and The Georgia Citizen calls upon the President of Benin, Mr. Yayi Boni, to conduct an investigation of what took place and why, if he wants to sit at the table of civilized countries.

Bush and Yayi

President Boni (R) welcomed President Bush (L) to Benin in 2008.

 

Controversy Still Swirling about Don (Moose) Lewis’s and Three Boxers’ Detainment and Treatment in the Republic of Benin.

Last week, we related a story of which we were being kept abreast about the apparent detainment of American and world boxing mogul, Don (Moose) Lewis in the tiny country of Benin in West Africa.  Since this initial report was made, Mr. Lewis and the boxers were released.  They were detained, we have been told, for 72 hours.  We received two responses apparently from sources who were obviously wanting to exonerate Benin this bizarre happening in Benin.  The Georgia Citizen posted their comments and made in the story below.  Here’s our brief response to their accounts of what might have happened.

Benin

Dear Mr. Enobong Umohette:

The Georgia Citizen is sticking by its initial report about the uncalled-for detainment of and apparently uncouth treatment of Mr. Don (Moose) Lewis, the Proprietor of the International Boxing Union (IBU) and World Boxing Association (WBA).  From talking to Preston Haliburton, Mr. Lewis’s attorney, Mr. Lewis is in fact prohibited from being part of the promotion of fights since his interest is in the sanctioning of the fights.  He heads up two sanctioning bodies.  But, we readily concede that our report about the airport was in error.  There are indeed several airports in the very small West African country of Benin, formerly French Dahomey during the Colonial Days.  The largest airport is evidently the international airport in city of Contonou on the coast.  From 1972 until 1990, Benin was a Marxist-Leninist Republic.  It is the home of the Voodoo religion.  Our questions for now are this:  Why were the three boxers detained also…for 72 hours as was Mr. Lewis?  Why was Mr. Lewis required to pay, as reported to The Georgia Citizen, $7,000 American Dollars?  It is our understanding that Mr. Lewis and the boxers were there at the invitation of the Benin boxing federation (we don’t if this is the name).  Where is Mr. Lewis’s Passport?

Benin's main airport

Chris:

Your response appears based on hearsay and the desire to smear the name of Don (Moose) Lewis. It is not our story about how he treats boxers. Our story was about how as an American citizen he was treated in the Republic of Benin. Sure, President George W. Bush was apparently received very well by President Yayi Boni in Benin in 2008 when he visited the country. Our interest is how the average America will be treated in the small West African country. It is our understanding that the boxing federation of Benin has invited Don Lewis and the boxers for the event, arranged for the temporary entertainment visas to enter the country, but later refused to allow them to leave the country until Mr. Lewis paid them off. This sounds like a kidnapping and extortion to us. We could be wrong. We look forward to interviewing Mr. Lewis about the matter. We have been talking with his attorney, Mr. Preston Haliburton, Esq. of Atlanta.

Bush and Yayi

 

Free Boxing Mogul Don (Moose) Lewis and Boxers from Benin Bandits!

From a reliable source, boxing mogul and owner of the World Athletic Association (WAA) and the International Boxing Union (IBU) is being held, along with two American boxers (including one who is in the U. S. Army), against their will in Benin Airport which is located in a city in Nigeria, the country to the east of Benin.  Benin is buttressed to the west by the tiny African country named Togo.  Apparently, these bandits want Mr. Lewis and the two boxers to pay money before they will be released.  Although Benin is a small African country, a former colony of France, this kidnapping could touch off an international controversy, a controversy that the United States government does not need in light of the many other controversies which have broken out recently.

Don Lewis

American boxing mogul Don Lewis and two Boxers are apparently being held against their will in the tiny African country of Benin.  Lewis has been able to talk to his American attorney, Preston Haliburton, who reportedly has communicated with and met with influential American officials and operatives, including the American Embassy.   Apparently, these Benin Bandits think that they can shake down Mr. Lewis and the boxers for money. 

Georgia Martyr, Robert A. Alston, Was Buried 135 Years Ago Today, on March 13.

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

On March 11, 1879, my great, great grandfather, Robert A. Alston, was murdered down in the Georgia Capitol.  He was DeKalb’s only State Representative at the time and had, by all accounts, a promising political career ahead of him, a career that some pundits at the time were speculating might lead him to be, along with Alexander Hamilton Stephens, one of the leading voices in the Georgia Democratic Party after the Civil War.  But, in the good ole Alston fashion, he stepped on toes, but this time, it was the toes of the most politically connected (the Georgia Triumvirate, Gov.-U. S. Senator Joseph Brown, Gen.-Gov.-U. S. Senator John Gordon, and Gov. Alfred Colquitt) and the wealthiest (the Grant family was Atlanta’s richest family).

Murder in the State Capitol

All of these wealthy and politically-connected Georgians were knee-deep in the heinous and pernicious convict lease system which essentially operated on the basis of judges handing out harsh sentences (usually to the former slaves but now   freedmen) for petty or trumped-up crimes, and then these aforementioned men would lease these “convicts” from the State for a few dollars a year.  These judges were appointed or financed to be elected by the machine Democrats which were controlled by the Georgia Triumvirate.  The railroad industry of Georgia, which was essentially the most lucrative industry at the time, was highly dependent on these convict lessees laying the track and doing all of the heavy labor.  These lessees were used to work the farms, to build walls around a plantation (as in John Gordon’s case), and to work the Joe Brown’s Dade County coal mines.  They were essentially free labor, minus any food and shelter which were marginal at best and deplorable at worst.

Alston exposed the enormous evil of this system, with the attrition rate in some of the camps reaching as high as 25%, men and women being chained together and bastard babies being born in the camps, the squalid condition of the camps themselves, etc.  The northern media picked up on the scandalous report that Representative Alston, as Chairman of the House Penitentiary Committee and someone who had personally visited all of the penitentiary camps, had presented to the Georgia House of Representatives.

To make a longer story more pithy, Alston was murdered (yes, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled it a murder) after being tracked down by a neighbor of his and Sen. John Gordon’s in DeKalb.  Gov. Colquitt apparently told Alston that he would intervene and keep Ed Cox from killing him, but very little was done.  In fact, the author of a book written on Alston’s life and published this past spring by the Mercer University Press, Pamela Hain, wrote that she believed that both Gordon (who was the Grand Wizard of the Klan in Georgia but also Georgia’s most popular post-Civil War politician) and Colquitt (the governor who was at Alston’s side when he was dying with the bullet lodged in his temple) were both at least complicit in the murder of Alston.  Indeed, the love of money is the root of all evil.

Henry Grady, the editor of The Atlanta Daily Constitution, wrote after Alston died that he had never so mourned another’s death as Alston’s.  Alston was responsible for bringing Grady to Atlanta from Rome, Georgia where they became partners in The Atlanta Daily Herald.  Alston was the publisher and Grady was the editor, and this newspaper was considered the “most sprightly” newspaper in the South, almost running The Constitution out of business.  But, after only about six or seven years in existence, it folded for lack of finances.  Its under-capitalization, however, didn’t keep this The Herald, from spending money lavishly and even sending a locomotive to Macon, Georgia each day to deliver the newspaper.  Grady also said that he had never met a more generous man than Alston.  Alston was known for knowing people not just all over Georgia but all over the Union, and his obituary was carried in newspapers, large and small, all over the country, including The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.  In fact, even The New York Times carried an article on Alston’s wife’s death about five years later.

Alston hailed from the Halifax Alstons, also known as the Dueling Alstons, of North Carolina.  They were enormously wealthy, and as Grady noted, they were an “impervious” family which “brooked no contention.”  Alston always wished that, unlike his ancestors, he would not die with his boots on but would die a natural death, after taking care of his wife and four children.  In fact, at his death bed, one sensitive onlooker recalling how Alston had a longing to die without his boots on, leaned over to take off Alston’s boots before he breathed his last breath.

The trial of Ed Cox, the murderer of Alston, was spoken of in the media of the day as “the trial.”  The courtroom was packed and the throngs filled the street, talking incessantly about the Alston murder.  One of the prosecutors was Benjamin Harvey Hill, Jr. whose father served in the U. S. Senate for years, and the lead defense attorney was Congressman Milton Candler, brother to the Coca-Cola magnate (Asa Candler), to a Georgia Supreme Court Justice (John Candler), and to a Methodist Bishop (Warren Candler).  Both side had the most illustrious attorneys working for their respective team.  Cox was found guilty of murder.

For a few years after Alston’s death, the black people of DeKalb County had memorial services commemorating his life and death at his grave site each year.  This was stopped when the Bourbon Democrats got back in full control after Reconstruction and the Black Codes and later Jim Crow laws were passed and the Negro vote in Georgia was disenfranchised.  The memory of Alston was not something that the Bourbon Democrats wanted.

Alston’s funeral on this day, March 13, 135 years ago, was the largest funeral at the time in Decatur, Georgia.  Trains came in from Atlanta and all over the State, bring mourners into Decatur.  The Georgia Speaker of the House, Gus Bacon who was related to Alston and who also went on to become a U. S. Senator from Georgia, spoke at Alston’s Masonic funeral.  He was buried in the Old Decatur Cemetery.  The ante-bellum home that he started building for his wife, Mary Charlotte Magill Alston who hailed from Georgetown and Charleston, South Carolina, in 1856 is considered the second oldest house in Atlanta.  The name of the old plantation is Meadownook, and it is in the National Historic Registry.  It is located on Alston Drive in East Lake across from the East Lake Country which was part of the Alston plantation and is Atlanta’s first country club and now part of the PGA Tour.

Alston’s life was cut short.  He died at 46 years of age.  He was a renown lawyer, publisher, and farmer.  He even had a fish farm.  He was making his mark in politics, and there is speculation that he might himself been planning a statewide run for office.  He had been part of the Charleston Light Dragoons and was at the firing on of Fort Sumter in April of 1861.  He resigned this commission to join up as a Private with the illustrious Morgan’s Raiders and quickly became, because of his skills, General John Morgan’s Acting Adjutant General/Chief of State and later led a battalion.  He was in about 100 battles and never was wounded.  He was well-known throughout the war, by the leadership on both sides.  He was personally acquainted with Jefferson Davis.  In fact, after he wore out General Burnside of the Federal Army about his illegal arrest and imprisonment in a Federal War Prison, he was released.  General Burnside explained to Secretary of State Staten that he released or exchanged Alston because he could think of an innumerable ways to die rather than from the pen of Robert Alston.  When the war ended, Alston was just 32 years old, but he retired a colonel.  In Mary Chestnut Boykins’s famous Civil War diary (the one that was edited by C. Vann Woodward won the Pulitzer Prize), she talked quite a bit in this diary about “the famous Bob Alston.”

Alston was noted by many authors, including Boykins, that he was “gallant” and flamboyant.  But, by the time that he was murdered, he was settling down and coming into his own.  It appeared that he was leaning toward the Independent Democrats (as opposed to the Bourbon Democrats).  He was in the home of Congressman William Felton and his intelligent and outspoken wife, Rebecca Latimer Felton who went on to be sworn in later in life into the U. S. Senate where she became the nation’s first U. S. Senator, if only for a day or two.  Mrs. Felton, who was a great writer, wrote very fondly of Col. Robert A. Alston and feared for his life.  In fact, Alston was in the Felton home in Washington, D. C. the week before he was killed in Atlanta.  The Feltons were leading spokespersons for an Independent Democrat movement.  It appears that he was contemplating a more independent movement of his own, though he was Gordon’s lawyer and was on friendly terms with Colquitt too, though there had been chilly feelings between him and Joseph Brown for years, due in part to the estrangement of Brown and Alston’s uncle, State Senator Augustus Holmes Kenan.  (By the way, there were only 18 State Senators back then.)

Alston was an effective lobbyist in the halls of Congress and personally knew President Hayes.  He had been around men of influence his entire life.  In fact, his grandfather `was a personal friend of Andrew Jackson, and the President Jackson earlier in his life had stayed in the Alston home in Hancock County, Georgia where Robert W. Alston was the wealthiest man in this country which was considered one of the most cultured counties of the day, located right next to the Georgia Capitol in Milledgeville.

In Milledgeville where Alston had lived and gone to the famous Midway Academy while growing up, his uncle, Augustus Holmes Kenan, had entered the Great Compromiser, Henry Clay.  Kenan was a Whig and was opposed to secession and threw away the pen with which he finally signed the Secession Ordinance.  Alston’s cousin, the son of Kenan, later became the Mayor of Milledgeville but was gunned down while in office.  Augustus Holmes Kenan was one of the most noted criminal lawyers in Georgia.  He was elected to the Congressional Congress which met in Montgomery, Alabama.  He later defeated Howell Cobb, former Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, for a seat in the Confederate Congress which was to meet in Richmond, Virginia, handing Cobb his only political defeat.

Alston’s grandfather on his mother’s side was Rev. John Howard, who became the Presiding Elder in the Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia.  Howard is credited with whipping up the enthusiasm for the Georgia Female Seminary which became Wesleyan College in Macon, the first college in the country to confer degrees to women.  In 1835, the Methodist Conference in Georgia appointed John Howard to raise money for Manual Labor School in Covington, Georgia and was appointed to the Board of Trustees.  The next year the school was named after Bishop Emory and is now Emory University.  The first obelisk erected by the citizens of Macon, Georgia in the historic Rosehill Cemetery was erected to Rev. John Howard.

Another grandson of Rev. John Howard was William Schley Howard, who was elected several times to the U. S. Congress from Decatur.  Congressman Howard was one of Georgia’s best criminal attorneys and was also the grandfather to Pierre Howard who was elected twice as Georgia Lieutenant Governor.  Congressman Howard was cousin to both U. S. Senator Gus Bacon and to Col. Robert A. Alston.  Unbeknownst to most Georgians is the fact that one of Georgia’s wealthiest blacks and one of the leading black citizens in Georgia was David Tobias Howard, the half brother to Congressman Howard and the first cousin to Col. Robert Alston.  David T. Howard was leader in the movement to build the first black high school in Atlanta, Booker T. Washington High School, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King.  King attended David T. Howard Elementary School.  Atlanta’s second black high school was named David Tobias Howard High School.  Many luminaries attended this high school, including Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first black mayor and one of the namesakes of the Atlanta airport, Vernon Jordan, Bill Clinton’s close advisor and lawyer, Eldrin Bell, Atlanta’s first African American Police Chief and later Commission Chairman of Clayton County, and NBA All Star, Walt (The Clyde) Frazier.  By the way, Congressman Howard and Governor Slaton spoke at the funeral of David T. Howard who was a close associate of W. E. B. DuBois.

Possibly at Robert A. Alston’s funeral was both the young William Schley Howard whose father was Alston’s uncle, Thomas Coke Howard, a man whom Alston was very close to.  Howard had been publisher of the pre-Civil War newspaper, The Intelligencer. He ran many statewide campaigns and held many jobs with the State of Georgia.  He was a neighbor of Govenors Alfred Colquitt and Governor and U. S. Senator John Gordon in the Kirkwood area of Dekalb.  Also possibly attending his cousin’s funeral was the very successful black man, David T. Howard who was 30 at the time.

The former Director of the DeKalb Historical Society told me that he interviewed the very well-known black preacher in the Atlanta area who worked for Alston (along with his family) when he was a youth.  According to what was told to me, Rev. W. Frank Paschal said that as a youth he attended Robert Alston’s funeral on March 13, 1879 and that he also attended the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968.  This gentleman lived to be about 112 years of age and credited Alston’s influence over him in going into the ministry.  He attended Central City College in Macon, a seminary for black men.  It was also reported to me by this Director of the DeKalb Historical Society that he baptized Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., in Stockbridge, Georgia and that Daddy King attributed the influence of Rev. Paschal for him going into the ministry.  Paschal’s picture is on the wall, along with the other former pastors of the church, in the building of the West Hunter Street Baptist Church in Atlanta where Dr. King’s close associate, Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Jr., was a pastor for many years.

One of Alston’s grand nephews became a Presbyterian minister, Dr. Wallace A. Alston.  Dr. Alston also was President of Agnes Scott College in Decatur for 22 years.  He is buried right next to Col. Alston in the Old Decatur Cemetery.

Two of Alston’s nephews, Robert Cotton Alston and Philip Henry Alston Sr., began a law firm in 1893 which, after some mergers, has become Alston & Bird, one of the largest law firms in the country, with offices all over the world, including London and Hong Kong.  Robert C. Alston also was President of the Georgia Bar Association.  He married Caro duBignon whose family were French Huguenots who fled France because of persecution but did well in this country, eventually owning Jekyll Island.  Robert C. Alston led the efforts for the Atlanta Diocesse of the Episcopal Church to be formed.  He was the chancellor of St. Philip’s Cathedral, the largest Episcopal congregation in America.  The Alston’s house was designed by the famous architect, John Neil Reed, and is on historic tours of Atlanta.  The Corporate Law Chair at the University of Georgia’s Law School is the Robert C. Alston Chair.

One of Philip H. Alston, Sr.’s sons, Philip H. Alston, Jr., was quite an attorney also.  But, he made quite a mark in politics as well.  A little known peanut farmer came to his office one day asking for help in raising money to run for governor.  Alston took him under his wings, raised him lots of money and chaired his campaigns, both for Governor and President.  President Jimmy Carter appointed Philip H. Alston, Jr., to be the United States Ambassador to Australia.  There is a Philip H. Alston, Jr., Chair in the College of Education at the University of Georgia, the alma mater of Philip Alston, Jr.  The first occupant of this chair was former Governor and former U. S. Senator Zell Miller.

Nephew Robert C. Alston and Eugene Black, son-in-law of Henry Grady amd member of the Federal Reserve Board, led the efforts to have the Georgia Senate honor Rep. Robert A. Alston over 40 years after he was gunned down in the Georgia Capitol.  The Georgia Senate passed a resolution honoring “the martyr,” as Georgia’s first State Historian, Lucius Lamar Knight, called Alston in about a 25 page essay written in his honor.  The Georgia Senate asked that a portrait of Alston be given to the State, which was done.  The portrait hung for years in the Stare’s library in the rotunda of the Capitol and was moved with the library in its move to Washington Street.  Reportedly Governor Sonny Perdue asked for a portrait in the Governor’s Mansion’s parlor of a Georgian who stood up for right against wrong.  The Alston portrait was moved to the Governor’s Mansion’s parlor to fill this request.

When the National Cathedral was completed in Washington, D. C. in the early 1930s, a flag was donated by each State in honor of a citizen who made significant contributions to that State and was hung in the Cathedral.  Georgia’s flag was dedicated in honor of Robert A. Alston.

This article was typed hastily, trying to beat the clock while it is still March 13.  So, please forgive any typos – and hey, please leave me a comment to point them out.

One bit of trivia:  Robert Augustus Alston was probably the only person who was at the very beginning of the American Civil War at the firing on of Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor and at the last regular meeting of the Confederate government in Washington, Georgia, as the government was on the run.  Alston was Morgan’s adjutant and later Battalion commander and it was Morgan’s Raiders who were assigned to escort the escaping Confederate government through Georgia.  Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America, was captured in Ocilla, Georgia.

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.