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About Daniel M. Harrison
Harrison's other work has appeared in journals such as Media, Culture, and Society, Sexualities and Current Perspectives in Social Theory.
Armed with an empty whiskey bottle and wearing a tie-dyed Jimi Hendrix T-shirt, Florida State University dropout Marshall Ledbetter broke into the Florida State Capitol early one morning in June 1991. He occupied the Sergeant of Arms suite, demanding an extra-large Gumby’s pizza and 666 donuts for the cops waiting outside. He hoped to garner media attention for his protest of poverty, homelessness, and cuts to higher education.
After an eight hour standoff, Ledbetter was betrayed by the very media he had counted on to tell his story; his demands were not broadcast on CNN as he had been promised but streamed into the office on closed-circuit TV. Although he left the building peacefully, the ensuing trial, his trips in and out of the state’s mental health institutions over the following decade, and his eventual suicide in 2003 speak to how difficult it is to untangle addiction, isolation, brilliance, and deviance.
Ledbetter’s invasion of the Capitol remains the biggest security breach of the building’s history, but Daniel Harrison’s telling of the Ledbetter saga is about more than one misguided young man’s breaking and entering into the state’s most secure building. Making Sense of Marshall Ledbetter thoughtfully and honestly explores the ways society manages deviant people in real world situations and whether or not our law enforcement and justice systems are adequately equipped to handle mental illness.
The smoke was thick, the music was loud, and the beer was flowing. In the fast-and-loose 1980s, Jackson Station Rhythm & Blues Club in Hodges, South Carolina, was a festive late-night roadhouse filled with people from all walks of life who gathered to listen to the live music of high-energy performers. Housed in a Reconstruction-era railway station, the blues club embraced local Southern culture and brought a cosmopolitan vibe to the South Carolina backcountry.
Over the years, Jackson Station became known as one of the most iconic blues bars in the South. It offered an exciting venue for local and traveling musical artists, including Widespread Panic, the Swimming Pool Qs, Bob Margolin, Tinsley Ellis, and R&B legend Nappy Brown, who loved to keep playing long after sunrise.
The good times ground to a terrifying halt in the early morning hours of April 7, 1990. A brutal attack—an apparent hate crime—on the owner Gerald Jackson forever altered the lives of all involved.
In this fast-paced narrative, Jackson Station emerges as a cultural kaleidoscope that served as an oasis of tolerance and diversity in a time and place that often suffered from undercurrents of bigotry and violence—an uneasy coexistence of incongruent forces that have long permeated southern life and culture.