Books [Fish, Hominy and Cotton]
Chalmers S. Murray
Edisto Island, S. C. LIFE HISTORY
FISH, HOMINY AND COTTON
JULY GEDDES, NEGRO OF ETIWAN
July Geddes, Negro, was born in a house made of poles, through which the cold blue wind of February whistled lustily.
He first remembers the pole shack set down on the black dirt of his father's farm on Etiwan Island among the tall pine trees that seemed to stick holes in the sky. Later there were memories of a big stream of water running between banks of pluff mud, and oyster shells that cut his bare feet when he helped his elder brother push the bateau off. The water was filled with porgy, croker, trout, whiting, catfish, pincushion fish, shark mullet, crabs and shrimp. July thought that the salt creek was the most wonderful thing he had ever seen. He liked the home place among the pines, but he liked the creek far better.
He attended the Seaside Colored School, a bare half mile from his house, and there under the tutorship of a Negress who afterwards became postmistress of Etiwan, he learned how to write his name, and put down figures on a slate and add the figures up. In concert with other little black boys, he spelled out the words in the first reader. He would recite in a nervous singsong manner, fearful of the licking he would receive if he missed too many words. Then he would go out and play ball with