Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Madison, Ms
Cash to be pardoned
I like the the line I put in bold near the end. Kinda sums up the Man in Black!
Festival for country singer Cash to include pardon for 1965 arrest
The Associated Press
One thing bluegrass-country singer Marty Stuart will not be doing following his performance Saturday in Starkville is picking flowers.
Stuart and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, will be in town for the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival Friday through Sunday.
A ceremonial pardon will be presented to the family of the "Man in Black" on Saturday.
In some versions of the famous story, Cash was arrested in Starkville more than 40 years ago for picking flowers in someone's yard.
"I can tell you one thing: I won't be pulling no flowers," Stuart said from his office in Hendersonville, Tenn.
Stuart, a native of Philadelphia, was a longtime friend of Cash's and performed with the singer.
"Elvis fans have Tupelo and Graceland, and now we will give Johnny Cash fans Starkville because there is no specific place that you think of for Johnny Cash fans to come together and pay tribute," said Robbie Ward, executive director of the festival.
The festival honoring Cash kicks off Friday with events on the campus of Mississippi State University. University of Georgia history professor John Hayes opens the conference with a lecture on religion and the South through the prism of Johnny Cash.
After that, a communitywide social is planned with a charity auction at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house, Ward said.
At the university's amphitheater, a showing of the Cash-biopic Walk the Line is scheduled.
On Saturday, Stuart will perform outdoors in downtown Starkville. That night, officials will issue a symbolic posthumous pardon to members of Cash's family, including daughter Kathy Cash Tittle.
Tittle, of Hendersonville, Tenn., is the daughter of Cash and his first wife, Vivian.
"He'd probably walk onto the stage and say 'Well, it's about time,'" said Cash's sister, Joanne Cash.
Ward, 29, a research writer at MSU, started talking to residents two years ago about a festival - and a pardon for Cash.
"The idea is to allow Johnny Cash fans around the world to take ownership in this festival," Ward said.
The event soon got worldwide attention. T-shirts advertising the festival have sold to fans in South Korea, Brazil, England, Germany, Canada, Australia and throughout the United States, Ward said.
People from as far away as Scotland have inquired about attending the festival, Ward said.
"I would not be surprised if we see 20,000 to 50,000 people here," Ward said. "Johnny Cash fans are everywhere."
Cash died in 2003 in Nashville.
Different versions of what happened the night of May 11, 1965, in Starkville, have surfaced.
One told by Cash in his autobiography is that he was arrested by police while walking from his motel to a grocery store after attending a party at a fraternity house on the Mississippi State campus.
Another version is that Cash was arrested while picking flowers in someone's yard.
Cash admitted in his book, "I was screaming, cussing and kicking at the cell door all night long until I finally broke my big toe. At 8 a.m. the next morning they let me out when they knew I was sober."
Cash wrote a song about the ordeal, calling it Starkville City Jail and later performed it for the inmates at San Quentin Prison.
"Starkville is now known by fans by virtue (of the song)," said Bill Miller, founder of the Web site www.JohnnyCash.com.
Miller said the song demonstrates Cash's openness about his past.
"Johnny was one of the artists that never tried to hide his background or his past," Miller said. "The significance that he would write a song about it, shows just who the man was."
Joanne Cash, a gospel singer, feels the Starkville arrest prompted her brother to start thinking about is life.
Ward feels the event is about redemption.
"We believe the pardon is not about his arrest in Starkville, it's recognizing that when people make mistakes what matters is what they learn from those mistakes," Ward said.
Joanne Cash will help close the weekend events by performing gospel music at a "Redemption Service" on MSU's campus.
"By Sunday morning, Johnny Cash will have been pardoned, and before it's over we'll all need forgiveness," Ward said.
Admission to the event is free, with a suggested donation of $10. The donations will be divided between the Starkville/ Oktibbeha Boys and Girls Club and the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum, Ward said.
The door and bars from the cell Cash stayed in at the Starkville jail are being donated to the heritage museum.
Ward said he hopes to make the event an annual affair.