Apartment Size: Four rooms, plus two circular turret nooks. Rent: $250 plus Ten hours a week building and grounds maintenance.
Prized Possessions: Swords of several types: collapsible, wooden, and stainless steel. Kept to decorate walls, to use for tai chi practice and demonstration, and for sentimental value (one was brought back from Asia after World War II by his grandfather). Of the sword pictured on the table: “They say your sword reflects your soul, so I try to keep mine clean.”
Not Pictured: Photo of his grandmother, the first black female grade school teacher in Mississippi. Also has her teaching certificate from 1912.
In His Own Words: “I grew up a couple blocks away from here; I used to ride my bike past this place. Not this one–this is a ’67 Schwinn with five speeds. I’d always wanted a bike like this. A friend of mine runs a business selling skateboards and low-rider bikes and I told him, ‘Man, I want to find one.’ And he said, ‘I’ve got one in my garage.'”
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Lloyd DeGrane.