Armisteads remains lay obscurely buried and unmarked;
Covered with decades of ostracisms brittle leaves, deep
In the woods of intimidation, where no one dare weep
For accused scalawags. Like fields unplowed and unplanted,
With no slaves to work them, the legacy of his heart eroded.
Relatives, benefiting from his kindness and fed by his stores
Betrayed him at his death. Reconstruction in Virginia fell into
From white neighbors and kin, he was rebuked and disowned.
far from the spot where Armisteads Ordinary was located,
Relatives, several generations later, shut the public schools
in a sweep
Of Prince Edward Countys funds. Massive Resistance, cheap
Piracy, founded a Private Academy on bigotry and segregated
Ignorance; at least until Attorney General Bobby Kennedy arrived
By helicopter. Armisteads family needed more black sheep.
Fraker has recently published poetry in The Witness
magazine and both poetry and a short story in Muscadine Lines:
A Southern Journal. He has two poems published in the book
Muscadine Lines: A Southern Anthology. Fraker has taught
at Duke University and Virginia Commonwealth University. He lives
on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia.
William W. Fraker