By Clint Confehr
PULASKI, TN — There’s word among folks here that their city might have an advisory committee on how to treat men equally when memorializing their talent when calling football games.
The mayor and aldermen are scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. work session on Monday, Sept. 14, in City Hall, 203 South First St., where they voted 6-1 on Tuesday, Sept. 8, to delay a decision on a petition to honor a Black man the same way a white might be honored.
Discussion before their Sept. 8 decision to delay included a recommendation voiced among nearly 40 people that they should look at the George Martin Press Box overlooking Jack Deere Field in Sam Davis Park.
Later that Monday afternoon, Alderman Hardin Franklin — he cast the one vote against delay — led a tour of the press box. It revealed there’s no designated room for sports writers from newspapers, but there are: two rooms for radio announcers; two rooms for coaches, one for the visitor, another for the home team’s coach; and three other rooms to accommodate television, the stadium’s announcer and a television crew.
There was no sign or plaque on any of the doors. The purpose for each room was indicated above each door frame.
This summer, the board voted to name one of two announcers’ booths to honor a former Giles County High School football announcer, the late Bill Holt, according to Franklin. Aug. 12, Petition Coordinator John F. Nelson submitted a request from 120 people to have Joe Rivers McClure honored. They want his name added “to the recently approved name of the football announcers booth,” Nelson said.
Aldermen voting to table the issue said they needed more information and time. During the meeting there was at least one question about whether the entire press box would be named.
After the meeting, Franklin said when he supported plans to honor Holt, it was to have Holt’s name on a plaque on the door to the local radio announcers’ booth. The other radio announcing booth exists to accommodate announcers from a visiting team’s local radio station.
Franklin contends that the then proposed resolution was sent to the school system. When the proposal returned, it was to name one radio announcer’s booth after Holt.
During the Sept. 8 meeting, Alderman Ricky Keith said was “a bit confused” on whether Holt was to be honored with a plaque on the announcers’ room door, or whether the room would be named for Holt.
McClure announced 19 years before integration in the 1960s.
Holt was an announcer who died in recent years after having served as a member of the Giles County Board of Education.
The Sept. 8 city meeting ended with the next regularly scheduled business meeting of the board set for noon Sept. 22 when a vote might possibly be held to resolve the petition’s request for equality in how two announcers would be honored.
The fact that the announcers are of different races was clear during the Sept. 8 discussion.
It’s well-enough known that Pulaski is where the Ku Klux Klan was first organized, a fact that promotors of the city’s local economy have down-played for decades. A relatively new Nashville-based on-line news site recently summarized steps taken more than 30 years ago. “During the 1980s, residents and business owners became so disgusted with Klan activities and rallies [around the courthouse that] businesses began to close on rally days, ignoring the klansmen. White nationalist events have continued to be held in Pulaski,” according to tennesseelookout.com.
Pulaski’s city election is Nov. 3; same as the presidential election. Several seats on the city board are on the ballot.
More on these circumstances and earlier stories about the city board are planned for The Tennessee Tribune’s website at tntribune.com and in the newspaper’s print edition scheduled for distribution starting Sept. 17.