Doris Lively, the librarian at the Grant Parish Library next door to the courthouse, said she was apprehensive about moving to Colfax from West Monroe.
“I don’t feel it,” Lively said. “I moved here in 1992 and we were pleasantly surprised.”
“I always sigh when I hear people say that,” Hamilton said.
“I don’t want to say it’s not true. It’s not a racial hotbed where people are getting strung up. But just because there’s an absence of protest doesn’t mean everything is perfect in Camelot.”
Although the population of Colfax is two-thirds Black, Hamilton said, few or no African Americans are employed in some of the major institutions, including the bank his family used for years and the Grant Parish Courthouse.
“When I see that, it’s not OK,” Hamilton said.
But the Hamilton family can point to some progress in local government. Hamilton’s father, Tom Hamilton, is a police juror. And in 2006, Avery’s brother, Gerald Hamilton, great-great-great-grandson of Jesse McKinney, became the first black mayor of Colfax.
Author Lane said he talked recently to Gerald Hamilton. Lane said Colfax had experienced some flooding, and Hamilton was worried that townspeople would blame him.
“It’s a reminder that what people in Colfax really care about is not the massacre,” Lane said. “It’s the price of pecans and if the street is fixed.”
Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com