| Category: SG History 101
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Great job! Once again, you've brought the history to life!
Just as there is a History Channel on cable TV, I wish there was a Southern Gospel History
Channel on cable. You could write and produce the episodes.
Consider this a strong suggestion to write a formal proposal to one or more of the gospel TV
cable channels to create a series -- Southern Gospel 101. You've got the goods to do it. You've demonstrated that. Your monthly columns are a blessing to all who read them. You've found your niche.
You could reach so much more of an audience if you'd get these on television instead of just online. I realize that the Internet is global and in theory everyone in the world could be reached by being online. However, television is the medium that the masses are tuned into daily. That's why I believe a Southern Gospel History Channel or Series on cable is the best venue for spreading the gospel history, about which you have proven yourself to be an adept researcher and writer.
By Jaynie Dillon-Jones on Wed, June 01, 2005 - 2:30:04
John: You have "rung" the bell again with your article about the Blackwood tragedy. I was a teenager in Iowa when this story unfolded and remember Kent Higgenbotham comimg with Cecil Blackwood and I believe Jim Hammil and the Songfellows to our little church in Woodbine, Iowa before the flight accident. They sang several songs at my mothers piano in our tiny living room while I stood inraptured by them taking time to do so. The former piano player for the Blackwood Brothers ,Hilton Griswold, was the youth director for the Assemblies of God in Iowa at the time also. At youth camp he would call me up to sing with him and others and we always sang Blackwood songs. I heard Bill Lyles and R.W. Blackwood with the group many times in those years and began to dream about someday singing gospel music. Litlle did I know at that time thatI would share the platform with the Blackwoods and other wonderful groups in venues all across America. Your article about some of my heros in gospel music has made me more grateful that I was priviledge to sing with them.
Your approach to this event is most interesting and so true. "What If" really makes you stop and think about what would have happened "If" this or that would have happened. All I know is that God has a plan for all of us and to be happy we must follow HIM.
By Duane Nicholson on Wed, June 01, 2005 - 9:23:24
Another home run, John! You described the event so well, I felt like I was an eyewitness. You also include some info that I didn't know.
I enjoyed (and agree) with your analysis of the impact the plane crash had on Gospel Music. Once again God gracefully brought glory out of tragedy.
Keep up the good work.
By Jim Duggan on Wed, June 01, 2005 - 10:36:17
Great article, John. I enjoy all of your articles. The Blackwood Brothers, especially James Blackwood, have influenced me greatly. J.D. was one of my boyhood heroes. I always wanted to be a bass singer and sing just like J.D. However, I ended up being a baritone, so all I could was just sit back and appreciate such great singing. I also beleive that J.D. was vocally at his best during the Blackwood years. He was more than just a low note singer during this time. He also did a great job with his upper register.
After reading your article I am again reminded that God takes all things and works them together to accomplish His purpose for those who belong to Him.
By Mike McIlwain on Wed, June 01, 2005 - 11:18:56
Wow. John, what a great job you are doing with this monthly article. I look forward to each and every one. I had heard the highlights of the Blackwood Brothers tragedy in the 1950's, but I am fascinated to hear the deeper, more complete story. I'm curious, how do you do your research? However you pull it together, please don't stop. I love this. In fact, here's an idea: when you have enough of these articles compiled, you should put them into a book. I'll buy the first copy. If this website doesn't pay you, they should! If they do pay you, you deserve a raise!
By Ken Hurley on Wed, June 01, 2005 - 7:09:00
To those of us who were introduced to and turned on to great quartet singing by hearing The Blackwood Brothers know exactly what you mean when referring to importance of the plane crash.
Although it deprived us of knowing where The Blackwoods would have went with R.W. and Bill. It also gave us The Blackwood Brothers that I loved so much with J.D. and Cecil.
You do have an amazing story telling ability!
Your column is the first thing I read each month.
By Bill House on Wed, June 01, 2005 - 9:18:55
Another fine article - keep up the good work.
By Dean on Wed, June 01, 2005 - 9:36:17
GREAT story. I was too young to remember this story.I was born right before Elvis died. I LOVED it.
By Rick Hendrix on Wed, June 01, 2005 - 10:06:51
Great Article John!
By Baldheaded Bus Driver on Thu, June 02, 2005 - 10:25:52
John, another great story. I was in the Navy at Memphis during most of 1952 and listened to the Blackwoods on the radio each morning. What a way to wake up and get ready for another day listening to them.
By Jerry B on Thu, June 02, 2005 - 7:33:28
Another great article, John.
How wonderful to know that, even in the deepest of tragedies, God's plan for our lives can and will continue. He always has a way to turn disaster into triumph and cause our best days to still be ahead for us.
This story reminded me of the faithfulness of our God, even in the midst of our deepest sorrows and deepest needs.
Thanks again for a wonderful story.
By CliffCerce on Fri, June 03, 2005 - 1:19:07
For the most part this article was very informative however greatly tarnished by the comment about black people sitting in their own section at the funeral. That statement was and is irrelevent for this article and in this day and age, should never have been meantioned even though it was one of the major sins of the south in the past and hopefully not in the 21st century.
As a white person, I am ashamed of how this was written.
I am sure the writer could have expressed
the broad appeal of the Blackwoods in a much more tasteful way.
By Tim Laughlin on Fri, June 03, 2005 - 7:56:44
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their comments. I enjoy reading what people have to say about these articles.
I'd like to briefly address Tim's comments above, in hopes that it may clarify my intentions in articles like these.
Tim, I'm sorry you feel that my mention of the fact that the black mourners at the funeral of R.W. Blackwood and Bill Lyles were in a separate section fom the other mourners there somehow "tarnished" the article.
When I write articles such as these, I try to realize that a lot of my readers were not familiar on a first-hand basis of the event depicted. Some are, but most aren't. For those readers unfamiliar with the historical context of these events, I try to relate items in my narratives to the context of the events, for it is my experience that if one is as familiar with said context as possible, one can learn and understand the events much easier than if one is not...and is just looking as it were at words on a page.
Almost every other account of the event mentions the composition of the funeral as well...and I assume it is included for the same reason(s) I did. You correctly understood my intention in mentioning the black turnout at the funeral was to illustrate the enormous appeal the Blackwood Brothers had among all gospel fans, not just their primary white audience.
I feel the mention is relevant for the article, especially in light of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, issued just over a month before the plane crash occurred. That decision was the impetus in changing race relations in the South...at last formally abolishing segregation laws in that part of the country. You rightly describe this as a "sin" of the South...and if we don't learn from our sins of the past, we are more likely to repeat them.
Refusing to look back at the realities of the period, then, does us no good as we strive to move forward.
I don't know how better I could have achieved my overll objectives in the article without mentioning that blacks were a part of the Blackwood Brothers story, albeit in a separate portion. I feel(as do my predecessors in telling the story undoubtedly do)that relating details such as these helps us to better understand the story and the time in which it occurred.
I hope this helps you better understand why I wrote the article in the way I did. Thanks again for your comments...I welcome all responses, critical or encomial...for they help me write articles that better serve our readers.
By John Scheideman on Sat, June 04, 2005 - 5:49:36
Once again I don't know how you do it! You make the readers feel like they were there no matter what article you write. I am also amazed at all the information you can pack into each article! I agree that you should write a book.
By Donna on Sat, June 04, 2005 - 11:02:27
Once again, a great article! I, like most of your readers, knew about the June 30, 1954 accident. I did not, however, know of the detail which you provided. I also wasn't aware that the young man was a passenger on the plane.
I found myself experiencing the horror that the people who were there had to be feeling, as they watched the plane crash to the ground.
Another thing that struck me, as I read your article, was the number of Hall of Fame bass singers that graced the stage with the Blackwood Brothers, throughout their storied career. There were at least three, and possibly four or five, that stood beside R.W. or Cecil through the years.
Thanks for the history lesson on one of the memorable times in gospel music history. I look forward to your next monthly article.
By Joe Mannon on Sun, June 05, 2005 - 10:54:56
JOHN, you are the man! Thanks for giving us the details about one of the most horrific tragedies in Southern Gospel music history. It makes me appreciate the Blackwoods all the more.
By Doug Rogers on Mon, June 06, 2005 - 12:12:44
John, thank you for yet another interesting article! The plane crash surely made an impact on Quartet music. You did an excellent job of sharing many intiguing ideas.
By Gayla on Mon, June 06, 2005 - 5:15:49
Another great job this month! Thanks for the time and effort you put into making these articles so informative and insightful into the history of these groups!
By Laurie on Tue, June 07, 2005 - 11:11:14
YES, I'm finally just now getting to read your article. I thought it was well written and the detail provided helped me to feel that I was actually there watching the scene unfold. Your attention to detail is awesome, even if the details are unpleasant. We must remain aware of our history in order to learn from it and not make the same mistakes now. That is what grace and mercy is for.
By Kat on Thu, June 09, 2005 - 5:22:32
History, in and of itself, is not racist or biased. Don't let one disparaging comment give you the tuck head. The hyper-sensitivity of the political correctness era has caused people to want to rewrite history. You told it the way it was, not necessarily the way you would have preferred it. Let the history stand, and let us learn from it.
I share the gentleman's sentiments toward the treatment of our fellow black countrymen in our past, but it doesn't help their cause of equality to sweep the past under the rug of history.
It was my privilege to see the appearance of the Blackwoods on Arthur Godfrey's telecast just prior the the tragedy. A few years later I became a friend to the whole reorganized Blackwood Brothers Quartet with J.D. and Cecil. In the years that I knew them and worked concerts with them I never once heard them make comments with ethnic bias.
Yours was another in a series of accurate historical accounts. No "ifs", "ands" or "buts". You did a superb job, period.
By Neil on Thu, June 09, 2005 - 10:02:21