Stetson Kennedy Talking Book Finally Released

Russ Davis (left), as-yet unidentified man, and Stetson Kennedy (right) at Beluthahatchee in 2007, photo by Bill Ectric

Russ Davis (left and inset), an as-yet unidentified man-in-the-middle, and Stetson Kennedy (right) at Beluthahatchee in 2007, photo by Bill Ectric

Civil rights advocate Stetson Kennedy celebrated his 93rd birthday on October 4, 2009 at his home in Fruit Cove, Florida, on land that is known now as Beluthahatchee Park. Bridget Murphy, writing for the Florida-Times Union, tells us about the event, including the arrival of “a sight-impaired Jacksonville man (who) delivered the first copy of an audio version of Kennedy’s book The Klan Unmasked, as made for the Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services.”

That “sight-impaired Jacksonville man” is my good friend Russell “Radio Rusty” Davis, folk singer, conservationist, occasional radio personality, and PR/Media Chair for the Foundation Fighting Blindness here in Jacksonville, FL. Russ was instrumental in making the audio book a reality, acting as liaison between the Stetson Kennedy Foundation and the Talking Book Library Services.

The last time I attended a Stetson Kennedy event, a couple of years ago, Russ played his guitar and sang a song by Woody Guthrie, whom Stetson knew personally and who sometimes visited Beluthahatchee back in the 1940s and ‘50s. When Russ finished the song, Stetson said, “I haven’t heard it played that good since Woody did it.”

Russ is modest and says Stetson was just being kind, but I heard it, too, and “Rusty” is the real thing when it comes to folk music.

You can read the entire article by Bridget Murphy here.

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One response to “Stetson Kennedy Talking Book Finally Released

  1. Update! I just received this correspondence from Russ:

    Thanks so much for the support.

    First, about the photo, I’m not sure who the man in the middle is, (Lisa may know, I’ll ask her when she gets up from her nap, LOL, she worked 10 hours today, I didn’t work at all 🙂

    As for the organizations I’m involved with: Lisa and I have actually started our own not-for-profit orginization called: Eyeshare-Jacksonville. That’s the first one I usually tell people about. Our mission is to establish, encourage, and develop a coalition of service providers and advocacy groups for the visually impaired in Northeast Florida.

    Two other groups we are involved in locally are:
    The Foundation Fighting Blindness and The N.E. Fla. Low Vision Coalition

    We also work hard provide support to:
    WJCT’s Radio Reading Service for the Blind and Hearing Impaired, the Florida Brailee and Talking Book Library Services, and the Mayors Disability Council, (Jacksonville)

    I guess you get the idea, we keep pretty busy it seems.
    Talk to y’ later,
    Radio Rusty

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