Feb. 26, CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.At the foot of Lookout Mountain, we buried Sam Francis today.
A shy, private man, Sam would have been embarrassed by how many would travel here to pay final respects. His Tennessee family told friends who came from all over the country that they had not really known how admired and beloved Sam was.
When God created him, He endowed Sam with a great giftone of the finest minds of his generation. Sam did not waste it. As a student, he was a prodigy. By high school, he was winning citywide competitions in poetry and essay-writing. From Chattanooga, Sam went on to Johns Hopkins and, from there, to earn a Ph.D. in English history at the University of North Carolina.
In 1995, Sam merrily ridiculed Baptist churchmen who had issued an apology for slavery. As the preachers had never owned slaves and there was no Bible command against slavery, Sam asked, what exactly were the preachers apologizing for?
Cautioned to watch his step, he did not. For Sam cared about his convictions more than his popularity. As Minister Michael Milton of First Presbyterian eulogized at his gravesite, Sam was one with Flannery O’Connor in believing that “truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
What he cherished was the civilization and culture that had nurtured him. He loved Southern and American literature, history and heroes, and few men of his time were so widely read. Sam was convinced Western culture and civilization could not survive the dispossession or death of the European peoples who gave them birth. He opposed the mass immigration of non-Western peoples, cultures and creeds, and regarded as the Stupid Party a GOP that truckled to corporate contributors and refused to defend our borders.
A decade ago, Sam said as much at a conference and was gone from the paper.