In Baker County, Alabama, Howard Andrew Morgan was born a white boy in a turbulent time of racism and rural Southern political agendas. He was known to everyone by his initials, Ham. He grew up, though, with the local black people as his friends and neighbors, and consequently, from a very early age his views transcended those of the typical Southerner of the 1950’s. His story is one where one man can make a difference in many lives by living a good life himself. Ham is the good man living in bad times.
Ham grows up to see violence and unfairness, and the changing of common values. As Baker County changes with the rest of the South, Ham finds himself amidst political corruption and those who are willing to fight it, taking his place among those standing up for justice, when he becomes a man. As a lawyer in the late 1960’s Ham’s legal career takes him into new territory as the Alabama of the 1970’s takes shape in the wake of integration and the new civil rights reforms.
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Robert Dickson was born in 1929 in rural Pontotoc County, Mississippi. His father was a sharecropper and a timber cutter. Robert dropped out of school at age 16 to marry his 15 year old sweetheart. A year later their first daughter was born. In 1947, wanting a better life for his family and determined to break the cycle of poverty he moved his family to Mobile, Alabama. He found work in a paper mill, when he had only twelve dollars left. Twelve years later, after making three moves to start-up paper mills, he accepted a job as a foreman at a paper mill in Demopolis, Alabama. When he retired in 1985, he had been a paper mill superintendant for ten years.
After retirement, Dickson used his daughter’s high school typing textbook to teach himself how to type. He wrote his autobiography and donated it to the local public library, where a two year waiting list emerged.
Robert Dickson currently resides in Demopolis, Alabama, where he has lived since 1960.
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