Biography: Influences
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A Dream
Morris Sr. had seen and experienced enough of tenant farming to want better for his son. Despite the hard times, he always managed to put his son through school. His best friend was a man named Barney Pinkston. Barney has almost the exact opposite of Morris. Barney has short, stocky and had a ruddy face compared to Morris who was 6 feet tall with deep green eyes and fair hair. But they were good pals. Barney's brother, Charles, was a lawyer. His life was financially secured. Charles Pinkston spent time making political contacts and alliances. It was Charles Pinkston who introduced Morris Sr. to the governor. Charles Pinkstons gets appointed by judge and secured a fixed income for the rest of his life. Morris Sr. wanted such a security for his son. He himself had moved all his life, having leases terminated over and over. They never really had a house of their own until they came across the Wigglesworth estate. But it still wasn't enough. The life of a farmer was hard and risky, often with severe downsides. He wanted security for his son. He wanted the security that Charles Pinkston had for his son, so he told his son to become a lawyer.

His father was different then the other members of his family. Some called Morris Sr. "nigger lover". One such persons was Morris Jr.'s uncle Lucien. Lucien and his wife Aunt Ruby had no children. They treated Morris and Carolyn like they were children of their own. Morris loved his uncle and aunt very much but he didn't quite understand what his uncle meant by "nigger lover". He knew of other whites who dealt and hung around blacks but they weren't labeled "nigger lovers".

"I took his (Lucien's) words seriously. And the way he said nigger lover - letting the words drag so slowly from his mouth - made me feel for just a moment that Daddy was really doing something wrong." (68)

Lucien and Morris though brothers were quite different. Black hands and friends often showed up at the Dees' door with scribbled notes asking for a loan of five dollars or so. Morris always had some money tucked away. And he and Annie were always willing to lend that money out. They would always 'forget' to collect the debt. Lucien however, loaned out five and collected ten. Lucien had a slot machine in the back of his store that barely ever gave out rewards. The hands would all line up on pay day to play the machine, but they hardly ever won. And if they did, the pay was never big. Lucien and some other whites got a big laugh out of the gullibility of the blacks.



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