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Thursday, July 30, 2015

How Do You Interpret This Photo?

The Waving Man, Fairfax County's local icon of days gone by:

Photo taken circa 1976, in Fairfax County, Virginia, by T. Wayne Gauthier

Andy also directed traffic at the local Little League games:

Andy Smith Directing Traffic at Pickett Fields, Fairfax Virginia
Andy Smith - Mr. Fairfax
Posted by Glenn Gore on Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Note Andy's house trailer in the background.


  1. At one time the figure in the photo might have struck us as a poverty-stricken-but-friendly old Negro expressing simple good will to all passersby. We wouldn't have wanted to be in his shoes, but we would have thought, "God bless him!," and if we happened to walk near him might have been moved to offer him a couple of bucks, a bright "Hello," and a friendly pat on the shoulder.

    TODAY, because of persistent negative conditioning by the enemedia, we probably FEAR him and RESENT his presence as a sign of "Urban Blight," and a poor reflection on "OUR" (presumed) FAILURE, as members of the cruel and underserving White Establishment , to build and maintain an EQUITABLE society.

    "WE" as a result are now divided into two warring camps: Those who do their best to exacerbate tension between the races and generate White Guilt in order to make themselves feel "righteous" and less guilty by making a perpetual show of RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION and PUBLIC "PENANCE" for their sins aimed at those of "US" who refuse to make a Holy Show of CONTRITION for our (largely imaginary) "offenses" for which the agents provocateurs INSIST with loud, braying intensity we must pay.

    This conflict set up by the hate-filled practices of LEFTIST ACTIVISTS has the still-white majority at each others throats.

    Meanwhile the nice old Negro still languishes in his poverty, but no longer feels the desire to express good will.

    Can you blame him?

    1. FT,
      I'm wondering if this photo might inspire you to write a few of your poems.

      I've heard that the WaPo wrote a nice obituary for Andy when he died, but I haven't been able to find that obituary. Maybe it was written befor the Digital Age too over the newspapers.

    2. FT,
      Andy might not have been poverty stricken.

      I wish that someone would have written down some of his memories of Fairfax County. I think that Andy was born in the 1880's, but I'm not sure.

    3. I've seen many similar characters in my time, AOW. Years ago, New York City had many. You'd see them in the parks in good weather, and at the entrances to the Subway System in bad. Most small towns had at least one. From the look of his mouth, however, and the state of his clothing I couldn't help assuming that your friend Andy Smith was poor. He'd obviously never been anywhere near a dentist in his life, poor man.

  2. These days are long gone by in our rural community .. Trailers have been outlawed, one plus acres required, locals moved out. Eminent domain took care of any other riff raff. No, these days are long gone as well as the locals who could not afford to live there.. But they are invited in to fix their clogged sewers. Won't see this.. My Rorschach for the day. Oh, our 200 acres was zoned open space.. Only good for hunting and me paying taxes. From bunkerville.

    1. Bunkerville,
      Those days are gone here, too.

      We've lost something that mattered, IMO.

    2. AOW, I took the liberty of publishing Richard Brookhiser's memorable essay THE NUMINOUS NEGRO in four parts below. Your topic here brought it to mind. Though lengthy I see it as extremely pertinent and well worth whatever time it may take to digest.

    3. FT,
      Thank you. I shall read and digest it.

  3. I'm not proficient with my iPad and somehow deleted Z's comment, so I'm reposting it now....

    I largely agree with FT. A lovely old man maybe down on his luck, maybe just getting out of the house for a nice afternoon of sunshine, maybe pan handling...whatever........someone we'd want to get to know and say hello to every time we passed him as he sat or helped direct traffic. A happy part of our community. That's what I get from the photo.
    In Orlando a few years ago, a very old Black man opened a glass door for me and said "Good morning to you!"... I was stunned and grateful and smiled and we chatted a while. Wonderful guy..... Sad that I was 'stunned,' but that doesn't happen much in Los Angeles....not by ANY color. He represented the Old South of gentility, kindness and gentlemanly-ness......Black or White, that mattered...or DID. I suspect elderly Black men were more prone to that gentlemanly-ness than Whites, frankly. I suspect the man in your picture would have opened our doors, too. Just because he was a gentleman, not because I'm white.

  4. Z,
    A happy part of our community. That's what I get from the photo.

    Yes, indeed!

    I don't know that he was down on his luck. I never heard a work about his doing any panhandling.

    It is possible that Andy was actually quite well off -- unless the county condemned his original piece of land via eminent domain so that the road could be widened. Once his trailer was forced out, I didn't see his dog with him any longer. The city workers liked Andy so much that they moved him to a location on city property -- the property which hosted Little League games.

    I've heard that he rode the rails for a long time -- until the rail lines here changed, that is.

    There is talk now of erecting a statue to him. I hope that they do! Maybe we can then learn more about Andy.

    1. I think Andy represents a time gone by of people who might not have been rich but accepted their lot in life as we all do...who amongst us is very rich?
      And he looks so happy and was so well liked...THAT is 'rich,' isn't it? That is real wealth.

    2. I think Andy represents a time gone by of people who might not have been rich but accepted their lot in life as we all do...who amongst us is very rich?
      And he looks so happy and was so well liked...THAT is 'rich,' isn't it? That is real wealth.

    3. To,
      I'm guessing that the locals referred to Andy as "that nice colored gentleman."

    4. Typo alert. That comment is addressed to Z.

    5. And that wasn't an insult, was it.......he was 'colored' and he was 'nice'....but today? HOLY COW.
      These lovely gentlemen are dying off, sadly...white AND black.

      By the way, there was a guy posing as a pollster asking people to sign a petition that says White people must pay a 1% tax across the board to support minorities, etc. Most white punks signed...every black kid signed with words of joy, BUT a middle aged Black couple said 'What? Look around...if it wasn't for White folks in America, we'd have NONE of this!"
      I wanted to weep. God bless them.
      Of course, I think that was a slight exaggeration because of the work Blacks did, too, but that was so touching.

    6. Z,
      It definitely was not an insult at that time!

      That poll about the one percent is surreal! Sheesh.

    7. Ya, AOW...it was a joke, but I'd thought it was real at first! SO MANY wanted to sign RIGHT UP "make those white folks pay!"

      Oh, Always, I REALLY want my country back...where gay, black, hispanic, all lived here and thrived here.......or at least had the chance to. We must remember that all whites don't thrive either, but that seems lost on the idiot lefties. GOD, I wish they'd learned from O'Neil, Moynahan, good men who'd be voting Republican today if they saw the seemingly purposeful ignorance of the Constitution and a president and candidate now who do nothing but divide us......
      JFK would probably vote for Bush today...secretly, but he would. His eyes would pop out of his head if he saw Hillary's sins and Obama's socialism. "REDISTRIBUTION?" as if that's AMERICAN? As if that really helps?
      I grieve.

    8. Andy was not well off. Before he lived in the city yard on Pickett Road, Andy's trailer could be found at what is now the intersection of University Drive and Ox Road. Before UVa would purchase the Farr property for what is now the Fairfax campus of George Mason University, "the squatter" had to be removed. Andy was that squatter.

    9. J Bartelloni,
      Thank you for stopping by and letting me know a bit of local lore that, before now, I didn't know:

      Before UVa would purchase the Farr property for what is now the Fairfax campus of George Mason University, "the squatter" had to be removed.

  5. They come and go everywhere

    People who isn't on just being positive and living.
    It's important to value them.



    His Importance in Our Lives; Why He is Fading.

    April 27, 2007


    [EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece by Richard Brookhiser first apeared in the August 20, 2001, issue of National Review.]


    Earlier this year, Al Sharpton led an abortive putsch against Jesse Jackson, though its significance was greater than he, or Jackson, suspected, for it involved someone more important than either man. Both Sharpton and Jackson know this person well. So do you; so does everybody. He is the Numinous Negro.

    Jackson had been embarrassed by the disclosure of his mistress and their illegitimate child. Suddenly, the Reverend stood revealed as a hypocrite, and his political effectiveness was hampered. Sharpton made his opening move in April, on a trip to buy the freedom of black Christian slaves in Sudan. “I think it’s outrageous,” Sharpton said, “that no nationally known civil-rights group has gone over to Africa to criticize what is happening there.” A perfectly good point- but also a barbed one to Jackson, who had been jetting about Africa as President Clinton’s special envoy without taking note of the modern slave trade.

    Over the following months, Sharpton kept a high profile, as if to say, “Look at what I do-and what Jesse no longer does.” He demonstrated against the Navy in Vieques, got sentenced to ninety days in jail, and began a hunger strike –– a hat trick.
    When was the last time the VIP Jackson had done any time?
    Sharpton let it be known that he was thinking of running for president. But in the flush of success, he overreached. In a jailhouse interview on his presidential prospects in June, Sharpton dismissed the Tawana Brawley case as a factor. “Did I take the blood of the guy I loved and put it on my shirt?” Sharpton asked. “I think the Brawley case pales in comparison.”

    Wrong comparison. Sharpton was alluding to the aftermath of Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968, when a young Jesse Jackson went on television wearing a shirt that he said was soaked in King’s very blood. At the time, Jackson’s performance provoked angry questions in the civil-rights movement: Had he cradled the dying King in his arms? Had he only dipped his shirt in King’s blood? Was it King’s blood at all? Blood or not, was Jackson as close to King as his story implied?

    Though whites rarely noticed it, the controversy dogged Jackson in black political circles for 25 years. Only after decades of activism and politics, and two runs for the Democratic presidential nomination, did Jackson’s critics concede that, whatever the truth of the story, he had retroactively earned the right to have told it. By raising the matter now, Sharpton was airing dirty linen. Black leaders were not happy.

    “Certain things we choose not to dignify with a comment,” said Jackson’s press secretary. Sharpton “needs to eat,” said one congressional staffer. “[He] sounds like he’s delirious.” Sharpton had used King to strike at the king, but he had not struck home. His apologies were abject, copious, perhaps even sincere. He asked Jackson to come to prison and pray with him. Sharpton’s three-month putsch attempt was an event in intra-black politics, and hence an event in Democratic-party politics. But it was also something more. At the end of this maneuvering, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton, three nationally known minister-politicians, came together like a conjunction of planets.

    In astrology, such alignments sometimes predict death, and so it did here. The doomed figure was the Numinous Negro.



    Who is the Numinous Negro? He is everywhere, especially in our hearts, and if we are lucky he is our friend. The dictionary defines “numinous” as “of or pertaining to a numen,” which was a Roman term for “the presiding divinity . . . of a place.” “Numinous” also means “spiritually elevated.” Jungians and literary critics love the word, but normal theologians use it too. The Numinous Negro is a presiding divinity. The place he presides over is America, and contact with him elevates us spiritually.

    You see him in the gooey prose of white liberals whenever a Negro appears ... Dozens of examples could be culled from the work of the late Murray Kempton, though his humor operated as a brake on his piety. The work of Garry Wills, who has no humor at all, would yield thousands of examples. The Numinous Negro need not be a man. ... Marian Anderson was also Numinous.

    Art and entertainment, always eager for shortcuts to characterization, make frequent use of the Numinous Negro. When we see a Negro in movies or television, we not only know he is Numinous (unless he is Thuggish –– see below), we can judge the other (white) characters by how they treat him.

    The saintly Death Row hero of The Green Mile was so Numinous that even movie reviewers noticed the technique. Morgan Freeman’s character in The Shawshank Redemption was more complex, though it had elements of numinosity. ...

    The most Numinous Negro of recent history is, of course, Martin Luther King Jr. The real Martin Luther King was a man of many talents-patient, shrewd, eloquent, and brave. He knew what he wanted, and he had faith in God and (ultimately) in his white fellow Americans that his program of civil disobedience would secure it. The real Martin Luther King, like other real heroes, also had flaws and limitations-he plagiarized part of his doctoral dissertation, he strayed from his wife. With the passage of time, we can see that some of the rhetorical flourishes of even the “I have a dream” speech are cornball: “curvaceous peaks of California,” indeed. But all that is lost in the glow of his holiness.

    The debunkers, and the intelligent admirers who follow them, have not yet done their work. Martin Luther King Jr. is still the divinity who shoved Washington and Lincoln into one holiday, and who is the only non-medical degree- holder, besides Samuel Johnson, who is always referred to as “Dr.”



    Conservatives have their own version of the Numinous Negro. Remember the joke: Who is the black man at a Heritage/AEI/Manhattan Institute pow-wow? Answer: The speaker. By touching our Numinous Negroes, we show the world, and ourselves, that there is no racism in us.

    Jack Kemp finally lost himself in the quest for the Numinous Negro. Sometimes it seemed as if he wished to become one.


    A word on who the Numinous Negro is not. There are four actors in the repertory theater of the American mind. One is a guest star, who represents the minority that has managed to capture the nation’s attention: Irish Catholics and Jews have filled this slot; now gays do. The other three actors are permanent members of the company: WASPs, Indians, and Negroes; white, red, and black, the colors of our psychic flag.

    As in all small companies, the actors assume multiple roles. The WASP may be stern Cotton Mather, or goofy Steve Martin. The Indian can be Crazy Horse, or a casino owner. Similarly, the Negro plays various parts, which slowly shift over time. The Loyal Negro has been both a figure of racist sentiment and a bridge across the racial divide: Old Black Joe, or the sidekick. The Erotic Negro has held the stage for a long time. Blacks “are more ardent after their female,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. Whites who came up to Harlem in the Thirties “were just mad for . . . what you might call Negro soul,” wrote Malcolm X. The Thuggish Negro is alternately feared (Willie Horton) and admired (Puff Daddy Combs, a.k.a. P. Diddy).

    “[I]n the worst of . . . rape, razor-slash, bottle-break, what-have-you, the Negro discovered and elaborated ‘a morality of the bottom.’” as Norman Mailer put it. Most compelling, perhaps, is the Performer, artistic or athletic, from Scott Joplin to James Baldwin to Michael Jordan. With what degree of accuracy do these stereotypical characters reflect reality?

    More than zero, less than 100 percent. But accuracy is not the point: The function of these characters is to minister to our needs. All the many Negroes are invoked by both whites and blacks; depending on how they are played, or who the immediate audience is, these characters can flip from laudatory to hateful, or self-hating.

    The Numinous Negro is a post-World War II phenomenon. He appeared at a particular time in the history of mainstream American Protestantism, and its decay. He drew his stereotypical power both from the religion and its evanescence. The key to both sources of power was suffering. Christianity is the religion based on the Man of Sorrows; liberalism is a secular faith concerned to remedy what political scientist Kenneth Minogue called “suffering situations.” The Numinous Negro symbolized and expressed the travails of American blacks; the blacks who best incarnated the role were ministers who ventured beyond their pulpits. This is why Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan, though they were certainly famous, and both clergymen, never spoke as Numinous Negroes.

    Islam, where Malcolm X ended up, is too remote from the American religious experience; the Nation of Islam, where he began and where Farrakhan remains, is, with its myths and space ships, more alien still. The minister-politicians offered political victories to their black flocks. To their white admirers, they offered the possibility of redemption. They could criticize and condemn, but they could also exhort and save. They offered to resolve America’s blundering over a race brought here as subjects. Nothing else white America had done, from the evil to the heroic, had settled the race problem: not slavery; not keeping blacks in their neighborhoods; not settling them in Liberia; not the Civil War. Maybe by touching the Numinous Negro America could finally put this problem behind it.



    Why at the beginning of the 21st century is the Numinous Negro dying? The 2000 Census showed Hispanics pulling equal with black Americans, but numbers have little to do with the American psyche. There have long been more German-Americans than black Americans, but the former have made no impression on the national mind greater than the Katzenjammer Kids.

    The Numinous Negro is dying because the source of his divinity has dried up. America’s white elite, having cut its ties to its historic Protestant roots, no longer seeks the comfort or counsel of ministers. As far as an outsider can judge, black Protestantism is withering too. Large swaths of it seem to be little more than a community self-esteem racket. Witness the speed with which so many crooked preachers are forgiven. I’m okay, you’re okay, we’re all okay together.

    The suffering the Numinous Negro offered to repair has also changed. It has been a long time since anyone stopped a black person from voting. There were complaints that this happened in Florida [in 2000], but such problems as arose were caused by incompetence, not by Bull Connor; the only reason the Florida race was closer than the margin of error was that blacks voted in such large numbers.

    Many blacks suffer great problems, but the federal government has spent trillions of dollars on them over the last thirty years. Conservatives say that it has all been misspent, but only the demented say that the government’s motives were malicious.

    The context in which the Numinous Negro flourished changed during the career of Jesse Jackson, and Jackson himself changed accordingly. Along with his many flaws, he once had flashes of real eloquence. One appeared as late as the 1992 Democratic convention, when, in the midst of his rant, he told an anecdote about a black woman with a repetitive- motion injury, who worked in a chicken-processing factory, and whose supervisor had called her a bitch. “You ain’t no bitch!” Jackson snarled, and good for him. But that was very late in the game.

    The corporate shakedowns, which were taking place back in the Seventies, now take all the time that can be spared from hobnobbing with West African dictators like Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh. Jackson’s appearance has degenerated along with his character. The man who once carried himself at the podium like a bullfighter is now a fleshy, gravelly-voiced shouter. He looks like a comic villain on Amos ‘n’ Andy.

    Al Sharpton began below where Jackson ended up. Wit and charm must be granted him, but he has no principles and no honesty. He is a tabloid cartoon figure, moving in a penumbra of slander and murder, from Tawana Brawley to Freddie’s Fashion Mart-a grotesque and odious little man. If these are the two contenders for the religious and political incarnation of the Numinous Negro, then it’s time to retire the role.

    Will the future bring some new role? John Jay Chapman’s biography of William Lloyd Garrison describes an electric moment in the life of Frederick Douglass, when an abolitionist takes a walk with Douglass down a Boston street and introduces him to a friend, just as he would introduce any (white) man. The moment is even more fraught than Douglass and Chapman realize. Was the abolitionist trying to epater the Yankee bourgeoisie? Was he displaying his virtue? How was he using Douglass? How was Douglass using him? But maybe the moment was also really what it seemed to be — one man introducing another to a third. Maybe when the Numinous Negro has gone away, more black and white Americans will meet each other. We should neither hold our breaths, nor despair.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/220766/numinous-negro-williumrex

  10. [BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE to THE NUMINOUS NEGRO: Author Historian RICHARD BROOKHISER (born 1955) is a senior editor of National Review and the author of several books, including Founders’ Son, Right Time, Right Place, George Washington on Leadership, What Would the Founders Do?, Gentleman Revolutionary, Rules of Civility, America’s First Dynasty, Alexander Hamilton, American, Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, Way of the WASP, and The Outside Story.]

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/author/richard-brookhiser

  11. My first thought was "Shaky Jake!" a local Ann Arbor "celebrity" (I Brake for Shaky Jake bumper stickers).
    Most have memories of buying weed from him in the 70's.

  12. About whether or not Andy was poverty stricken...

    Appearances can be deceiving.

    Case in point: Piedmont Blues musician John Jackson, who showed up at our yard sale and bought two of the rattiest items I had out for sale (a battered up suitcase and an old coat of my father's). Mr. Jackson walked off down the street and stayed at a neighbor's house. I thought that he was a homeless fellow. Not exactly -- as the link in this comment indicates. Excerpt from the link:

    I remember that I was contacted a few years back to be MC for the 1995 Delaware Blues Festival in Wilmington. The promoter (who will remain nameless) wondered if I could corral John Jackson as a headliner, which, of course, would be a big coup and lend credibility to any such undertaking. In return, I was promised (as well as John and Trish) a room at the downtown Holiday Inn. As events transpired, I found out the next morning that my room was merely "reserved." To make a long story short, when John and Trish found out that I was stiffed for hotel bill, they sent me a check to cover expenses and wouldn't take no for an answer. That's the kind of man John Jackson was.

    And he was a man of his word. Though gravely ill, he insisted upon fulfilling an obligation to perform at the Fall's Church First Night concert on New Year's Eve, a mere three weeks before he died.

    Dealing with many tragedies and vicissitudes in his life, including the loss of his wife, Cora Lee Carter Jackson, in 1990 and three sons, including the accidental shooting by the police of his son, John Jr., in 1978, he could have become bitter. But he remained warm and gracious through it all, accepting such circumstances with his usual equanimity and resignation. I can truly say that John Jackson never had a mean bone in his body and he touched and enriched everyone with whom he had contact.

    So, it was not surprising that there was such an outpouring of affection at his viewing at the Ames Funeral Home in Manassas, VA, on the following Wednesday. Originally scheduled from 7-9 p.m., the doors had to be opened a half-hour early to accomodate the huge crowd of over five hundred mourners....Simply put, in the Washington area, there was no more beloved a musician than John Jackson and everyone that was able wanted to say his last goodbye to him.

    If you have time, please read all the material at the link.

    When Mr. Jackson died in 2002, I learned in the newspaper that he was a very big deal in a particular community of musicians.

    John Jackson's "Railroad Bill" at YouTube.

    John Jackson's "Steamboat Whistle".

    I love Piedmont Blues!

    1. He did a good Railroad Bill indeed but done Piedmont style, Etta Baker just owned that song.

    2. Poverty is entirely a RELATIVE concept. Few today realize that the average American –– even today –– lives at a much higher standard than MONARCHS did in the Middle Ages.

      Even fewer stop to think that miserable as it might be American blacks living both in urban and rural poverty have a much easier and more leant existence than blacks in sub-Saharan Africa, most Middle easterners, most South and Central Americans and nearly all Asians.

      Also, I know for a fact that real estate ("housing" if you prefer) is so incredibly expensive in the more "advanced" European countries that few if any could ever hope to own their own home. Houses there are small, cramped, dingy, crowded together and devoid of aesthetic appeal for the most part. For example a 450-square-foot apartment in a decent neighborhood on the fourth floor of a walkup in Paris, France
      would run you at least 450,000.00 U.S. dollars.


      By my, personal, standards Andy was a poor man. By worldwide standards he was in a very comfortable situation, indeed.

      The more we know, the better chance we have of gaining a more accurate sense of perspective on our true position in the the Great Scheme.

    3. FT,
      By my, personal, standards Andy was a poor man. By worldwide standards he was in a very comfortable situation, indeed.

      Excellent point!

      I must add that Andy always seemed to be a very happy man, one who spread good cheer to all. Often, those who are wealthy are not nearly as happy as Andy, IMO.

    4. Let me throw this out for reflection:

      It isn't WHERE we are, but where we THINK we are that matters.

    5. FT,
      There is some validity to that -- until reality is so awful that one is forced to face that reality.

  13. This reminds me of when I was a child in New York and my introduction to homeless people. At the corner of 103th and Broadway was a homeless couple, he was black and she was leggless and in a wheelchair. My dad, a staunch conservative, gave them money and not only that, he actually talked to them. He developed a relationship with these unfortunate people. I asked him once why he gave them money and he replied that it was always best to be in the position to give than to be in the position to have to receive. Pretty cool words for a dad anytime especially circa the 1960's.

    1. Cube,
      Your dad must have been a compassionate man.

      Along the same lines, you might enjoy reading this essay by my dear friend Warren.

  14. Thankfully, he's still around, and so are his very compassionate, and yet conservative views. We've had our head blows over issues, but we still love each other. Anyone you ask, he's a pretty cool old guy :) That's my dad.

    1. Cube,
      You're lucky to have your dad still living. Mine died in 1998 at the age of 86.5. I still miss him so much!


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