Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ivan Unmans the Bull

My friend Ivan down in Alabama, warming his New Years' Eve with memories of  his youth in the newspaper business, recalls the infamous "Bull" Connor, the (elected) public safety chief who earned his 15 minutes of fame by toppling school schoolchildren with high-powered fire hoses.

During one of his campaigns for governor when I was political reporter on the Bham News.  I “castrated” Bull. His campaign giveaways were metal bulls about four inches long by three inches high on a bar with”Connor” on one side and “for governor” on the other. I had one on my desk in the Bham news newsroom but I’d taken it to the composing room, borrowed a file, and turned bull into a steer. Another reporter told bull about it and he was incensed and got the other reporter to steal it. I got hold of about a dozen of them, and replaced it, made into a steer with a handy rasp file. After a while it disappeared too, but I replaced it. I’ve got two of them on my desk right now. I left bull intact on those two.
 Always compassionate, that's Ivan.  I first thought "Bham" was "Alabama," but no, it's "Birmingham."    Ivan also remembers and endorses Diane McWhorter's superb Carry Me Home : Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. one of the best books I ever read about the civil rights movement of the 60s.  

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