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Flowers family--a little history


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This is a story about the brother of Ricmond Flowers III-who is now with the Skins. It is also about his family. A few years ago I saw a movie on one of major networks about the grandfather--it was remarkable. The father was an All-American at the Univ. of Tenn. in football and track--until I saw the movie-I had always wonder why he decided on UT over Alabama his home state--I was surprised it was for political reasons.

----------Shreveport Times

COLUMN: Youngest Flowers the voice of three generations

Jason Pugh / Special to The Times

Posted on December 25, 2002

It would have been hard to fault Bill Flowers for accepting the scholarship to play at Florida State.

But little in his distinguished lineage ever pointed to him doing what was expected.

Now, instead of preparing for the Sugar Bowl with the Seminoles, Flowers is getting ready to play in Friday's MainStay Independence Bowl with his Ole Miss teammates.

And he couldn't be happier.

Flowers' family is one that could rival teammate Eli Manning's for name recognition in the South.

Three generations of Flowers have helped make the family name a staple in the South. From his grandfather, Richmond Flowers, to his father, Richmond Flowers Jr., to his brother, Richmond III, Bill Flowers has learned about how to stand up for one's beliefs and how to handle life in the public eye.

Flowers' grandfather was Alabama's attorney general during one of the most turbulent times in U.S. history, having been elected to the post in 1962 - smack in the middle of the civil-rights movement.

As a white southerner in public office, it would have been easy for Richmond Flowers to adhere to the status quo. Instead, he put the law degree he earned from the University of Alabama to good use, prosecuting a Lowndes County deputy sheriff for the attempted murder of a pair of clergymen who had been active in registering black voters.

Additionally, Flowers' stand was in direct opposition to Alabama Gov. George Wallace, the powerful segregationist who once ran for the presidency.

"I think if he had to do it again today, even knowing how hard it would make things on his family, he would do the same thing," Flowers said. "He showed me what it means to stand up for what I believe in. He inspires me every day."

That inspiration has fueled the fire that burns inside the sophomore split end from Pelham, Ala. Despite suffering a separated shoulder against Auburn on Nov. 2, Flowers finished the season as the Rebels' second-leading receiver with 47 catches.

Flowers' drive also comes from watching his father buck the college football establishment and enjoy a long career in the NFL.

Richmond Jr. was a prep star in Alabama before deciding to attend Tennessee.

His youngest son escpaed the recruiting pressure - as well as pressures that had nothing to do with football.

"When my dad was in college, he was reaping the effects of his dad standing up for what he thought was right and what God was calling him to do," Bill Flowers said.

Finally, the youngest Richmond - Richmond III - became somewhat of a cultural icon for a brief time this summer. Richmond Flowers III was fighting for a spot on the Dallas Cowboys and his singing talents were often on display on the HBO series Hard Knocks.

"Everybody loves it," Bill Flowers said. "Everybody loves the singing cowboy."

Flowers is a religious young man who said that his decision to play football at Ole Miss was part of "putting his life in God's hands."

And to think he could have followed the more beaten path and become a Seminole.

But following in the footsteps of others isn't a trait that Bill Flowers has acquired just yet.

And that would make his famous grandfather proud.

Jason Pugh is a Times sports writer. He can be reached at (318) 459-3295 or by e-mail at jpugh@gannett.com.


--More on the grandfather---

Flowers ran for and was elected Attorney General in 1962 during the height of the Civil Rights movement in Alabama. In September 1965 he prosecuted Lowndes County Deputy Sheriff T. L. Coleman for the murder of Episcopal seminarian Jonathan M. Daniels and the attempted murder of Catholic priest Richard F. Morrisoe. Daniels and Morrisoe had been arrested with Southern Christian Leadership Conference members attempting to register local black voters. A local jury determined Coleman had acted in self-defense and acquitted him. Flowers also prosecuted four Ku Klux Klansmen for the murder of Detroit housewife Viola Liuzzo, who was gunned down while transporting civil rights workers during the Selma to Montgomery March. Again, a local jury acquitted the accused, although they were later tried and convicted in federal court of violating Liuzzo's civil rights.

Relying heavily on the support of newly registered black voters, Richmond Flowers campaigned for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 1966, and in a field of twelve, came in a distant second to Lurleen Wallace. His liberal position on civil rights cost him the support of most of the state's conservative voters.

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