Wednesday, 17 June 2020 12:08

LETTER: Rename the R.W. Goodman Bridge

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To the editor:

R.W. Goodman (1915-2007) was the longtime sheriff and strongman of Richmond County, a rural county of about 45,000, 65 miles from Fort Bragg. Richmond County is famous for its racetracks and high school football teams. The R.W. Goodman Bridge is a section of U.S. 74 which crosses the Pee Dee River from Richmond County to Anson County.

I'm not saying R.W. Goodman did not do a lot of good things. For instance, he let high school football players buy items with no markup at his downtown department store. He kept the peace. He allowed Richmond County to prosper. As long as you obeyed his rules, you were alright.

And I'm not saying Commissioner Bull Connor of Birmingham, Alabama, did not do good things. And I'm not saying Sheriff Jim Clark of Selma, Alabama, did not do good things.

But Goodman, Connor, and Clark, through history's lens in 2020, epitomize white, racist, Southern evil, the type of evil William Faulkner excoriated them for 90 years ago. Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane were made into comical buffoons, but the real Hogg/Coltrane-types were the worst and meanest SOBs in the county. That's how they got their jobs! Cross them and you would suffer.

Here in Richmond County, we wouldn't stand still for a Bull Connor or a Sheriff Jim Clark Bridge, would we? Or a Nathan Bedford Forrest Bridge? Or a George Wallace Bridge? Why does Richmond County still have an R.W. Goodman Bridge?

The issue about renaming the R.W. Goodman Bridge is the exact same issue as renaming Fort Bragg.  

I vote to rename it the "Leon Hope Bridge" in honor of the local football hero who broke the color barrier at Clemson University. What about you?

Jeff Smith

Former U.S. Army major

Last modified on Wednesday, 17 June 2020 16:04