Those same volumes Baird showed Althea are now in her possession for use in compiling his work. Once the project is complete, the books will be added to the nearly 10,000 volumes from his library and additional research which he bequeathed to the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta, Georgia. The scope of this compilation is such that it requires Althea's primary energy and attention. To fulfill her promise to Keith E. Baird, she needs your financial support.
He was born a slave in 1906 -- that is the way Horace Gardner introduced himself the
day he contacted me. He was looking for a writer to tell his story of growing up in
Jim Crow Georgia. During hours of phone interviews over several months, he told me
the story of working on plantations as a child; witnessing lynchings, then being tasked
to bury the bodies; his family encountering renowned gangsters on their way to Florida;
then his family eventually escaping to Florida, leaving behind the body of an uncle they
could never find after a KKK attack. This is a Southern story that Horace Gardner entrusted me to tell. He recorded hours of
audio and -- the only time we got to meet in person -- gave me the plastic bag filled with audio cassettes. Horace Gardner died a
few months later at the age of 101. His audio cassettes must be transcribed. I owe him and his family the chance to bring his
Southern heritage story to life. His book must be written.
Keith Ethelbert Baird, PhD