Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Union Sympathizer

William W. Fraker

Uncle Armistead’s remains lay obscurely buried and unmarked;
Covered with decades of ostracism’s 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 store’s keep,
Betrayed him at his death. Reconstruction in Virginia fell into a heap.
From white neighbors and kin, he was rebuked and disowned.

Not far from the spot where Armistead’s Ordinary was located,
Relatives, several generations later, shut the public schools in a sweep
Of Prince Edward County’s funds. Massive Resistance, cheap
Piracy, founded a Private Academy on bigotry and segregated
Ignorance; at least until Attorney General Bobby Kennedy arrived
By helicopter. Armistead’s family needed more black sheep.


William 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

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012