Saturday, March 26, 2011

Former Ole Miss chaplain, inspiration for 'Kudzu' strip, to speak at Methodist luncheon

    Former Ole Miss Chaplain Will D. Campbell will be the guest speaker at the Lenten Lunchen sponsored by Oxford University Methodist Church at noon this Wednesday, March 30. Campbell left the Ole Miss post in 1956 because of his support for civil rights and went to work for the National Council of Churches.
    The Los Angeles Times had a profile on Campbell in 1992 which provides a colorful biography of Campbell. The rather long title of the article is Meet Will Campbell, 'Good Ole Boy' Preacher, Writer With Crazy Ideas : Activist: Enigmatic Southerner, friend to blacks and rednecks alike, became a civil rights legend. His latest book lambastes social injustices. From the article:
    Here's a white Southerner who was a legend of the civil rights movement until he became disillusioned with the growing hostility of some of the movement's leaders and the "burn, baby, burn" syndrome.
    Here's a whiskey-swilling, tobacco-spitting, guitar-picking Baptist preacher and truck farmer who is a widely respected writer, thinker, humorist and ex-officio chaplain to the Grand Ole Opry crowd.
    He doesn't have a church--a steeple as he puts it--and doesn't want one.
    "I'm a Christian anarchist," said Campbell, a short man of 67 with a bald and freckled pate and a fringe of unruly long hair. He likes to wear cowboy boots and a wide-brimmed hat that makes him look like he just fell off an Amish buggy.
    Campbell was the late cartoonist Doug Marlette's inspiration for the character "Will B. Dunn" in his comic strip, Kudzu. Marlette died in a Marshall County, Mississippi car wreck in 2007 while on his way to coach some Oxford High School students who were working on a musical adaptation of his comic strip, Kudzu, A Southern Musical.

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