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.