To the Artist's Page To our home page
To Ward Kelley's previous piece To Ward Kelley's next piece
William Searches for the New Place There in the new but yellow land, there in the place where you had hoped a new testimony would come to flourish, you discovered instead all the old joys and diseases of man . . . all the usual humans here with you, again, yet again, in the new territory, and you saw we will all only ever, ever, remain human. What else does a true man do but confront? What else is the proper response to any disease but confrontation? "o lord, there is a scourge on all the proper limbs of us poor humans, and I can only watch this evil, only place my hands on their ills, only take some of the disease into my own then simply try to find a place in my own human limb to forgive." And in the end you see another ill of us all is the obscurity of that prickly place where we might ever come to forgive.
William Henry Albert Sims (1865-1942), medical doctor, minister and black man, was the only doctor, black or white, to stay in the town of Boley, Oklahoma territory, during the smallpox epidemic of 1918. At great risk to himself, he worked through the contagion, bringing relief to all he touched. Sims stated an angel had assured him his life would be lengthened for this service. However more pedestrian forces later afflicted him -- Sims was falsely charged but convicted in 1930, by some of his former white patients, with possession of illegal drugs.
To the top of this page