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By: Roy Blackwell
web posted February 1, 2013
EDGEFIELD – Thursday evening a
arrangement was placed by an unknown person in the parking place of the
Soap-N-Suds laundry mat on Main Street where "Popcorn", as he was
lovingly called, would park to speak with anyone who wanted to stop and
others who would drop off their shoes or boots for polishing. Ernest
"Popcorn" Williams died on Saturday. It is unknown if the memorial
placed in the parking place will grow.
Popcorn was a historical figure in more ways than one. He was one of
the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that broke up the election of county
council members county-wide into defined districts in the 1970's. He
was a civil right's advocate, yet did not blindly follow electing
candidates because of race or party.
He was a proud supporter of Strom Thurmond and an avid football fan who
could rival Edgefield Daily's Sports Editor Tim Crane on stats of the
personnel of past teams.
He openly despised the racial antics and year-round race baited
campaigning of District 1 County Councilman Norman "Joe" Dorn. He would
say that anyone who voted for Dorn did so due to race, not progress,
and said doing so was stupid. "What has he ever done for anybody,"
Popcorn said countless times in conversations with this writer.
"Nothing, that's what."
In the past few years he complained of being black-listed, so to speak,
from the Edgefield County Democrat Party meetings because he would
voice opposition to voting based on race among black voters. He would
say that the only white attending the local Democrat Party meetings was
Sam Crouch, the party vice-chair, and many meetings were held where
only black members of the party were invited.
If you were not supported by the racial controllers of the blacks in
the Democrat Party, even if you were black, you were destined to lose
the election. A scenario that played out just as he
predicted when Monica Mims challenged James Bibbs for a School Board
seat. He claimed Mims wanted to improve things for all students,
without basing it on race, and that was her downfall within the
Democrat Party in a race that is supposed to be non-partisan.
He saw that as an affront to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. and stated countless times it kept racial tensions festering rather
than coming together as a county for the good of all.
a man of the people. Not blacks or whites, just the people he
came in contact with. And they all, including this writer, were better
for knowing him.
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