MidPenVOTE speaker: Gloucester’s blacks and whites have tradition of ‘getting along’

by Charlie Koenig - Posted on Feb 15, 2012 - 03:07 PM

Photo: The Rev. Fred Carter, pastor of Shepherdsville Baptist Church, gave a talk Saturday to the Middle Peninsula League of Voters about “Gloucester’s Major Contributions to African-American History.” He is shown with MidPenVOTE co-chair Katie Thompson. Photo by Charlie Koenig.

The Rev. Fred Carter, pastor of Shepherdsville Baptist Church, gave a talk Saturday to the Middle Peninsula League of Voters about “Gloucester’s Major Contributions to African-American History.” He is shown with MidPenVOTE co-chair Katie Thompson. Photo by Charlie Koenig.

"This is Gloucester. We have a tradition of getting along," the Rev. Fred Carter said during a Black History Month program on Saturday afternoon, summing up the county’s history of mostly peaceful race relations.

Carter, pastor of Gloucester’s Shepherdsville Baptist Church, addressed a small group at the Gloucester Library’s Community Room in a program sponsored by the Middle Peninsula League of Voters.

To illustrate his point, Carter told the story of an attempted Klan rally in Gloucester. It was in the early 1960s and the Ku Klux Klan decided to flex its muscles by staging an event on a field in Guinea. The local community got wind of it, including members of the Gregory family, a black family that owned the field directly across the road from where the Klan was going to set up shop.

The Gregory family decided they weren’t going to take this intrusion lying down, so they and their friends hastily scheduled a "turkey shoot" on the opposing field—"with no targets and no turkeys," Carter said. This left one side of the field filled with hooded Klansmen from out of the area, and the other with armed black men, as well as a large number of white Guineamen who came out on the side of their black neighbors.

At one point, Eunice Gregory Corbin, an older black woman, "walked through the sea of white sheets" went straight to the flat-bed truck where the Klan had set up their loudspeaker, and knocked it over, Carter said. On any other day, the Klansmen wouldn’t have hesitated to attack her; but facing the armed group across the road, they had little choice but to acquiesce.