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In 1999, in Clarksville, AR, a slave auction was held at Clarksville High; it was a fund-raiser, a school sanctioned event where students were auctioned off to their classmates

For an added touch, the school brought in an auctioneer

I was in Clarksville in 1999. It was late November. I was with Rick, my husband at the time, and the two of us spent a weekend there, at a Ramada Inn

Just me and Rick, and the other boys in the band. Rick was the drummer. It was a weekend gig, two nights, Friday and Saturday. We had free rooms. Free food

Did I mention we had Dirt. 

On bass, Jerome “Dirt” Jackson. They called him Dirt because he was “dirt” on other musicians, meaning he was tough, and demanding. 

He was also funny, and kind, and he called me Sugar. I liked him very much. I called him Jerome. 

We had two rooms that weekend. Me and Rick, Jerome and his girlfriend were in one, and the four of us went downstairs to the restaurant for dinner

Did I mention Jerome is a black man.

Did I mention his girfriend was white.

We looked at menus. Everyone else looked at us. Stares. Glares. Tones and remarks. We got up to leave, and a man wearing pointed-toe boots put his foot in our path. 

Free rooms. Free food

They want everything free.

Did I mention it was November. Do you know what a "gray town" looks like.

You think you would speak, you think you would stand on a chair, and the words that could wash it away would come, and they’d hear you because you are righteous. 

They're free to go back where they came from. 

In 2015, a video shot at Arkansas Tech University was posted online; the footage shows an ATU student performing at an on-campus Halloween event. In blackface. 

Did I mention ATU is in Clarksville. Do you know what “sundown town” means.

Or how soon the sun sets in November—did I mention it's 2018.

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