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“We have these blues festivals down in the Delta in honor of Robert Johnson,” says Roy. “It used to be if you had a guitar and sat on the front porch of your cabin singing about what happened to you that day, that was the blues. It was ingrained in everybody. Now we have these Japanese bands that come over to perform. They’ve got the mechanics down and the music sounds good, but somehow it isn’t the same.”
Then his eyes twinkle again. “But that’s America, isn’t it?”
Roy DeBerry doesn’t just make conversation. His restless mind is always probing. He wants to know my life story, how I got to be a writer, how many kids I have, what they’re doing. A few years ago, when my oldest son was in high school, I arranged to have him interview Roy over the phone for a paper he was doing on the Civil Rights era. Afterwards, Roy had one complaint — my son hadn’t asked enough questions.
And so over an hour’s time, we try to span the years, back to that dilapidated little Freedom House across from Rust College, where 40 of us gathered each day with the sense that — despite the fears, despite the hatred that surrounded us — we were making history. “The thing that was so important to us at the time was to realize that somebody else in the country cared about what was happening to us down here,” he says. “We’d been fighting for civil rights for ten years, but that was the first time we realized someone else was on our side.”
Then, as it comes time to say good-bye, he stops me again. “You know, it brings such joy to see people from the old days.”
It’s been a joyful trip for Roy DeBerry — and for America.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?