Archive for John Lomax

The Midnight Special

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2009 by 30daysout
leadbelly

Leadbelly

Sugar Land is a booming town located in the grassy flatlands just west of Houston, Texas.  Those who don’t live there just speed along the freeway, past the city’s strip centers and restaurants on their way down the Gulf Coast.  In that respect, nothing much has changed in just about 100 years –  back in the 1920s one didn’t go to Sugar Land unless you had to.

Walter Boyd surely didn’t want to go there in 1918; he soon found that the sugar plantations and sugar refinery may have given Sugar Land its name, but the town was best known as the location of a Texas prison.   Boyd killed one of his relatives in a fight over a woman, and he was sentenced to 35 years in the penitentiary.  Because he was black, Boyd was sent to the segregated Harlem prison just west of the bigger Central Unit where the white prisoners were kept.  Jailers soon discovered that Walter Boyd wasn’t even the prisoner’s real name – it was actually Huddie Ledbetter.

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