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Stephen Mason's journey took him from 20 years on the road, from playing guitar in a Grammy-winning Christian rock band to setting up a one-chair, one-man barbershop called The Handsomizer.On a rainy night in 1949, a young woman arrived by train in Franklin, Tennessee, and walked off into the night.“As we left the house, he raised up his hand,” Leroy says. Their engagement even offended people that they didn’t know.“He was saying, this marriage is chosen by God, and I’m with you all the way! “One person called and said he was going to bomb us out.The next morning, her body was found near an incinerator by the high school. The murder has become a fixture of town lore, yet its victim lies in an unmarked grave.An effort to give her a headstone raises the questions: Who do we choose to remember? The Griffiths are glad that their wedding drew so much attention. “And I told her this: It is impossible, me marrying Leroy, to elope.“The community participated in a divine action,” Leroy says. “My mother said this to me, when I first told her we were getting married and she realized it was serious. I say this is bigger than he and I.” Even though Gloria and Leroy stayed safe on their wedding day, they were not immune to violence. It is a personal story of Jakob’s told by taking a musical journey all around Nashville.
They got to know each other during hospital visits. Still, society had it’s own rules, and Gloria and Leroy were challenging them.
“It was open to the public.” Because they’d opened their wedding up to the public, they worried about violence.
So, when the big day arrived in August of 1969, one of Leroy’s friends sent a bunch of young men out to block the streets and keep out protesters. “I’m not sure if they got out and pretended they had flat tires or what they did, but they blocked the traffic.” Married In Peace, But Violence Around The Corner It worked.
Gloria and Leroy Griffith met the same way that many couples meet in the South — at church.
But when they started dating, they were an unusual pair. It was the late 1960s in Tennessee, and interracial marriage had just become legal in the South.