Baha'i News -- Professor, actor was an inspiration to many
Saturday, September 14, 2002
Last modified at 9:14 p.m. on Friday, September 13, 2002
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Professor, actor was an inspiration to many
He was a great man with "miles and miles and miles of heart," to quote from the musical Damn Yankees. He died recently at age 84.
What did it mean to know Sam?
Nature has a remedy for loneliness, smallness, meaninglessness and despair: belong to, associate and identify with, have give-and-take with
a cause or being greater than self. Some men and women are themselves a great cause. They call us to participate in their greatness.
Professor Sam Jackson was one of these.
Sam, an awesome actor whose voice has been compared to that of "The Voice," James Earl Jones, was for many years professor of communications
at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, South Campus. He grew up in Washington, D.C., son of the White House chef of the Roosevelt
years. His birthdays were sometimes celebrated in the White House. On occasion, Sam sang for FDR. In his early career, he was in big-time
shows; he shared the Broadway stage with James Earl Jones.
Sam was active in stage productions here. I recall him in To Kill a Mockingbird at Players by-the-Sea, a performance so convincing
that after the final curtain, some in the audience wanted to assure him that everything would be all right. Sam always became his character.
He gave his heart to his character. I recall that Sam was one of the Three Kings in Amahl and the Night Visitors at Atlantic Beach
Experimental Theatre. Sam directed me in FCCJ's The Hasty Heart.
Sam had a hasty heart -- one hasty to love. He gave his heart to others and so changed the lives of thousands of students. He was an
inspiration, with charisma, who not only taught acting skills, but also gave students life -- meaning without preaching -- just by his
Sam strictly practiced his Bahai faith, daily reciting a long prayer from its sacred scripture, believing in one God and one people. Neither
I nor anyone associated with Sam ever heard him speak an unkind word to or about anyone. Sam had "miles and miles and miles of heart."
A civil problem
During the past few years, the Neptune Beach politicians (in order to get re-elected) kept reducing our taxes. This has resulted in a fiscal
shortfall, which will require austerity as well as increasing the income. Mrs. [Harriet] Pruette is concerned about the effect that raising
taxes will have on "senior" citizens (a new buzz word). Does she realize that most of the senior citizens have a cap on the amount that
their taxes can be raised? Does she realize that if we don't raise taxes a little this year, it might require a much larger increase next
year? The cost of doing business (sewer repairs, water repairs, streets, etc.) is NOT going down, but up.
Now, with a fiscal shortfall in sight, the council has decided not to charge the people on Penman Road for the full cost of restoring their
water and sewer. The city did not cut either the sewer line or the water line! This is NOT a city problem, but a civil problem that should
be settled (and paid for) by the parties concerned. I am amazed that the council can raise my taxes while giving away the city's money to
John A. Merritt III
Gallery a winner
I just wanted to offer my compliments on the beautiful photographs by your staff photographer Maggie FitzRoy (Shore Gallery, Aug. 31).
Several are truly worthy of exhibition. Maybe you should gather some together and print them on good paper and use them in your promotion.
They are great!
Ponte Vedra Beach
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