France Davis: An American Story Told
Chapter 1: I Am Born and Later Burned
I was born in 1946 in Burke County, Georgia. in a little place called Cooper’s Town, named after my mother’s family-three miles from Gough, 14 miles from Waynesboro (the county seat), and 100 miles from Atlanta. My wife says that if you blink while driving through Gough, you’ll miss it, that’s how small it is. Cooper’s Town is even smaller than that. My brother Clarence (two years my junior), my cousin Allie Mae Cooper Turner, and my nephew Earl are the only immediate family members living nearby. They check on property and activities in Cooper’s Town on a weekly basis. To my knowledge only one family (tenants of my cousin Allie Mae, not family) currently lives in Cooper’s Town, or as we say in Georgia, on Cooper’s Town. There was a time, however, when this tiny place was bursting with life. When my parents were raising their nine children, every house in Cooper’s Town was occupied . There were neighbors down the road a piece, folks passing through, coming and going, schools and churches were active, certainly the spirit of community was alive and well. Families generally lived on the land they farmed, whether they were sharecroppers, plantation owners, or landowners who, like us, farmed their own ground.
Excerpted from Chapter 1, An American Story Told, by France A. Davis and Nyra Atiya.