Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Geddes Elam Dodson, May 26, 1980. Interview H-0240. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Religion, salvation, and death in a textile mill village

In earlier anecdotes, Dodson had depicted his father as a strong, and at times violent, example of Southern masculinity. In this instance, however, he recounts his father's death, showing an alternative aspect of Southern culture in his beliefs about religion, redemption and eternity.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Geddes Elam Dodson, May 26, 1980. Interview H-0240. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

And the last time my daddy went to church over there at Brandon Baptist Church, old John Wrenn was the pastor, and old man Young was the boss carter; he was my Sunday school teacher. And [chuckle] so we went to church that Sunday, and my daddy brought old man Wrenn, the pastor John, home with us, and old man Young, the boss carter, and they had dinner with us. And my daddy said to the preacher, "John, I felt like shouting in church today." [Laughter] He said, "Well, you ought to have went ahead and shouted." Then when he died about two or three weeks later, why, I was standing over him when he drawed his last breath, and the doctor said he was blind and couldn't see. And they had to keep a diaper on him just like a baby. And I was standing over him when he died, and just before he took his last breath he seen the Lord or somebody and he waved his hand just like that, and then it just fell right across his face. And I took a-hold of it and laid it down. That was the last. But I'm satisfied he seen. . . . He was ready to go.