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PREFACE ... the writing is powerful. I believe that there is something quite unique about those of us who came of age in the middle of the civil rights era. We were born into segregation and taught from an early age to circumscribe our behavior. Then we were thrust into the world of change that called into question everything in our past without defining our present or predicting our future. Glenda Davis was a child of this era. Her humble but highly structured beginning was transformed by a time of great change. A multitude of emotions and circumstances shaped a psyche determined to survive, prosper and find satisfaction in a life yet undefined. The trauma of the Freedom Rides for her was soothed by the presence of the love of her life, the constant danger was muffled by the strength of her faith, the stress tempered by her confidence in the mission, and the pain of separation was eased by the prospects of the future. Growing up in the sand hills of a little country town, there was the presence of school, church and family. It was difficult to have big dreams when the understanding of your possibilities was so dominant in your thoughts. I believe it was in these times when the inner voice of Glenda was formed. While that inner voice spoke only to her, it built a foundation that allowed her spoken words to express what was deeply ingrained in her being. So amid the turbulence of the times, she was able to reach into herself and store away the pining and feelings of her soul. She learned how to be successful in the outer world and slowly she learned to be happy within the world of herself. College, marriage, family, friends and a world filled with ever expanding opportunities lay in front of her and she managed them all well. Looking from the outside in, it was not apparent that the voice stillspoke to her, but it did. It relieved pain, shared joy, and continued to create a world in her mind. In this world her words bared the essence of her being. It was during the first half of her life that she produced her first works. They were a reflection of life as defined by her. They were the results of the constant conflict between what was expected and what was rattling around in the confines of the mind. In the autumn of her life, she lost the fire that kept her warm. The passing of James, her husband and father of her children, ushered in a new world somewhat unrestricted but yet so foreign. In days since, I began to see a window open in her that had been obscured since the days of playing baseball in the backyard, or taking piano lessons in the front room, or spending the hot summer days under the shade of the old oak tree. But most of all, I also began to understand that the voice of her writing could now express her emotions and opinions more profoundly. When you read a passage and it creates images in your mind that race through your emotions; when the words you read stoke places in your psyche that conjure up thoughts that you may or may not want to acknowledge; when words become little explosions that tear away the fašade that shelters your comfort zone from reality; when the words rise from the page to soothe, rile, quiet, awaken, prick, ease, provoke, comfort, and seemingly express your inaudible thoughts; then the writing is powerful. The writings that are included in this work are such words, strung together to create images that charm the inner eyes of each of us. - Herman K. Gaither
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The author was born in the small textile mill town of Great Falls, South Carolina. She is the third child borne to Walter and Fannie Gaither. The family settled in her father s hometown. Her mother was born and reared in Anderson, South Carolina. She attended grade school at Pleasant Grove AME Zion church school. Her family was actively engaged in this church and her mother the sole teacher for grades 1 through 7. Church schools were not uncommon at this time. Many parts of the public education system in the south made little or no provisions for educating black children. She attended and graduated from the local black high school. She walked two miles to school each way for years along with her siblings because the county provided no bus for transit. Despite this dilemma, all five of the Gaither children graduated college and hold post graduate degrees. The Gaither family was honored as one of the state s Regional Family Of The Year recipients in 1987. Gaither is a graduate of Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She was actively engaged in the civil rights demonstrations during her tenure there; most notably, she was a member of the 1961 Freedom Riders. She met her husband James K. Davis, Jr. while attending college. She is the mother of three adult children. She spent her working years in education as teacher/media specialist for 38 years.
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