Virginia and I attended the funeral service for brother Boyd this afternoon, February 15, 2010. He was 90 years old at the time of his death on Wednesday, February 10. Virginia knew him before I did when she was a student at the Mt. Dora Bible School in Mt. Dora , Florida . She thinks that he and his wife came there during the year of 1945 or 1946. He and his family later moved to Montgomery in the early 1950s to work at Alabama Christian College . When you talk about the old campus you have to speak of Coleman Boyd. He was a person of strong convictions. You never had to guess where he was on any issue. But he was one person you could depend on when he said he would do something for you. He helped various persons during his life in one way or the other. He was a contractor by trade and he was also a gospel preacher who preached for several congregations in Montgomery County and adjacent counties. I have many memories of him and brother JAMES TURNER when I was a student at ACC both in high school and in college. They were both overseers of various building projects and the upkeep of the campus.

At least not on the old campus when I was about 15 years old and they took me out of school for a week to help dig the foundation for a new building that was to become the new boys dormitory. This was the last building on the right near the back of the property on Ann Street . To my knowledge I had never used a pick and a shovel but after five days of hard labor I became an expert. When you were a working student you worked where you were needed at that time. At least I began at the top of my profession and then worked my way downward.

No, I am not talking about playing in a mud hole. I am talking about ‘feeding’ block layers during the construction of a new building with ‘mud’ and 4 inch and 8 inch concrete blocks. You mixed a combination of sand, mortar mix and water together in a box with a hoe that had a hole in it until you got the right mixture. Then you would carry the ‘mud’ in buckets and in some cases you would fill a wheel barrel and with someone helping you by pulling the wheel barrel using a steel rod that was bent and hooked around the front end of the wheel barrel and there we would go up a ramp to the second floor and silently pray that you did not lose your footing. If that happened you would have been encased with the ‘mud’ and soon you would have become a living statue to be admired by other students.

I believe it was the summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college that I remained on campus to work in order to pay for room, board and tuition for the following school term.

Brother James Turner instructed Pat Kirkland and me to paint the dormitory rooms in the new boys’ dormitory. He and brother Boyd would buy supplies at the H&R Point in west Montgomery where they found the cheapest prices. One color we used was ‘blood red’.
One day I was using that color in painting a room and a new foreign student walked it and said that he liked this color and the room. In my ignorance I thought him to be Jewish and I quickly and smartly replied, “So you can offer up a bloody sacrifice?” This fellow did not smile one bit and I began to think I might be the first one he would sacrifice. Not good that I used bad humor with him because he was from Jordon and not Israel . Later I became a friend with Fasial Ashour.

Brother Boyd was the dormitory keeper and he demanded that students adhere to his set of rules or else. And I mean else. When the violation was of a serious matter you had the choice of digging up a stump on the campus and in some cases you packed your suitcase and headed for home. In those early years it was thought by some that ball games were not exactly a spiritual matter but belonged to the world and we were ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world’. Brother Boyd had strong convictions along these lines. But when Robert E. Lee High School opened on Ann Street the students began to play Sidney Lanier in football in Cramton Bowl in downtown Montgomery and it was just too much of a temptation for several of us boys who had played high school football and/or loved sports to miss out on the game. During the 1950s supporters of both high schools would fill the stadium. Well late on that Friday evening 15 of us boys signed out and simply wrote down our destination – ‘GONE TO TOWN’. Well, we saw a good football game and we caught the last bus back to Ann Street . We had to walk up Ann Street hill and as we were walking across the campus to the dormitory, the thought crossed my mind that brother Boyd would know where we had been that night; so, when we got in front of the classroom building I quietly left the group and began walking behind the house where brother Baker lived and then behind the dormitory to where my room was located on the first floor. I always kept my screen unfastened just in case I needed to get out of my room because of the possibility of a fire. J I quietly took the screen away from the window and crawled into my room and lay down on my bunk. About that time I heard the other fellows coming into the foyer when all of a sudden I heard brother Boyd’s booming voice asking, “Where have you boys been?” He really let them ‘have it’ like I knew he would do. But I was happy that I was not in that crowd. A couple of days later I confessed to him that I also had gone to see Lanier and Lee play in that football game. However it was in a much quieter voice that he ‘got on to me.’

Brooks Booth, Jr sent me a letter addressed to his father Brooks Booth, Sr. that was written on January 11, 1943, 67 years ago. This was the second year of the new Montgomery Bible School . Read carefully the signatures and see how many you can recognize.

Please click on photograph of letter to enlarge.

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