By Cecil A. Reed, Albert E. Stone, Priscilla Donovan
Born in 1913 in Collinsville, Illinois, Cecil Reed has lived all of his existence within the Midwest as a black guy between whites. This self-styled fly within the buttermilk labored between whites with such ability and beauty that they have been slightly conscious of his lifestyles - except he desired to get a financial institution mortgage or movement into their local. Now, in his vigorous and confident autobiography, he speaks of his resilience all through a lifestyles spent operating peacefully yet passionately for equality. As and younger guy, Cecil Reed was once the black waiter, the short-order cook dinner, the paper provider, the faucet dancer and singer, the chippie, and the upkeep guy who discovered to outlive in a white society. As an grownup in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he inched his means into possessing a number of small companies, convincing the group to just accept him and his family members via labor and creativity. while whites felt besieged by way of black militants within the sixties, they became to him for much less threatening suggestion and management. Reed positioned away his flooring sander and have become an inspiring speaker who crisscrossed the rustic supplying ideas to civil rights difficulties. In 1966, Reed used to be elected to the Iowa condo of Representatives, the 1st and purely black Republican to carry this place of work. His subsequent significant triumph: securing a unanimous vote of acclaim for the state's reasonable housing invoice. inside of a yr he used to be appointed by way of a Democratic governor to the Iowa Employment protection fee, changing into the 1st black commissioner in the US. therefore all started a twenty-year occupation in public provider in either kingdom and federal positions that introduced him into partnership with the nation's political, fiscal, and spiritual leaders. all through his occasionally tragic butalways hope-filled lifestyles, from shoeshine stand to division of work, Cecil Reed has been a quiet, power, realistically-within-the-system fighter for justice. even supposing he epitomizes the good fortune of his "get alongside by means of getting alongside" philosophy, he nonetheless confronts racism day-by-day, stil
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Extra resources for Fly in the buttermilk: the life story of Cecil Reed
Mom had gone to a black college in Normal, Illinois, now the home of Illinois State University. She got a teaching certificate there and was teaching in Collinsville when she met Dad. I don't remember their ever talking about their romance, but she must have been quite a catch. She was beautiful, educated, and an outstanding dancer and reciter. Dad was five years older than More, but he lived until his eighties while she died in her sixties. They were very devoted to one another. Dad never left the house without kissing her goodbye and then would kiss her when he returned.
G. was a determined man, too. One time when he was fishing in Omaha, he had a particularly large, feisty carp on the line. He worked and worked trying to land it, until finally the fishing line broke and the fish swam away. But Dad just jumped right in after it . . and, by golly, he caught it. G. had his hand in the gill of this four-foot-long fish with a huge belly. With one that big, you really had to know what you were doing. The back fin could cut you like a knife. The fish still had the hook in it and a piece of the line.
Perhaps if it went further toward "explaining" the deeper coherence of this man's character and activities it would sound more falsely unconvincing than I think it does. For one thing, the nighttime encounter with "the nice little Jewish guy" anticipates the final metaphor of self with which Reed and his amanuensis end this autobiography. "Since then," he writes of retirement, "my life has been not as a fly in the buttermilk but more like a passenger on an airplane ride. When trouble or turbulence comes, you listen to the pilot and fasten your seat belt while you move above it .