Guest post by Brewer T. Alberts III
Cockfight Family Historian
Greetings! While Master King Cockfight is away belatedly celebrating his birthday in what surely shall be a a night of hard drinking, loose-ish women, and waking up in a puddle of his own tears on the witness stand in the Scopes Monkey Trial courtroom, he and other members of the Cockfight Family have seen fit that I share a tale that stirred in my mind and their collective, expert political brains a several weeks ago by provocative statements made on the Legislature floor by State Representative Alvin Holmes of Montgomery about a planned attempt on his life for his supposed role in breaking up a scandalous drug ring operating out of the Alabama State House.
I am happy to say that after several weeks of surely tireless research by Master Jamison E. Cockfight III, a prominent Birmingham attorney, that the Cockfight Family or any of its companies, foundations, and subsidiaries and such had no involvement in Holmes’ allegations — in spite questioning from corners of Montgomery law enforcement surprisingly well-read on the Family’s more scandalous history.
That scandalous history is what I’m writing to tell you about it today, gentle readers. It is regarded among Cockfights as one of the most shaming moments of the Family’s history and — quite ambivalently — among it’s most proudest, as it involves one of the few Cockfights since Family patriarch and historically-considered serial killer Oglethorpe Cockfight to hold elected office.
His name was Righteous Rutherford Bullmason Cockfight, Jr. and he served as The Free State of Winston’s state Senator in during the days of decadence and jazz and prohibition before being removed from office at dawning of the previous Great Depression.
Most folks, however, called him “Whitecap” Cockfight. His name came from his overwhelming subscription to white supremacy and racism that was remarkable and unsettling even in the days of early 20th century Alabama. A short, slender man who slicked back his short mane of the Family’s trademark brownish-red hair, he was so racist that the refused to wear any color but white fearing that a darker fabric would leave him “infected” and often wore white hats to “keep the Black Thoughts from getting in,” as he frequently wrote in his journal.
So racist was he that he refused to join the violent resurrection of the Ku Klux Klan gaining popularity at the time because he felt they were too “soft” on the race issue and “like to dress up like a bunch a faggots.” He died heir-less because, as he wrote, “there is no woman on this Earth, and the Darkness Outside Alabama, who is of the exquisite racial purity to handle my bleached, pre-hooded seed.”
The source of his mighty racism is unknown, but some speculate it was because of the death of his father, The Rev. Righteous Rutherford Cockfight Sr.
The elder Righteous Cockfight had been groomed from an early age to be a traveling preacher, but when Righteous Jr. was in his teens, Righteous Sr. left the Family to journey and preach in Mississippi and work on a lifelong passion he nursed only second to Christ: the invention of new and exhilarating marital aids.
He became renown, if you call being well-known in Mississippi such a thing, for creating a novel sexual device known as “The Mississippi Fuck-Hammock” that became very popular. To the Family’s great pride, the device was briefly featured in 1983′s Smokey and The Bandit 3*, and the Cockfight Farms company continues to sell “Fuck-Hammocks” by the dozen (they often come in two-packs) to this day.
But Righteous Sr.’s devotion to newer and stranger forms of sexual delight was likely his undoing. He was accidentally bludgeoned to death in a New Orleans brothel in 1909 while engaged in intercourse with a half-black prostitute he had instructed to wear heavy 19th century diving equipment.
(It should be noted here, however, that researchers are split on whether Righteous Sr.’s death was the tragic result of the naive execution of a long-kept fetish or a deliberate suicide attempt.)
Whether his father’s death played heavily into his beliefs or not, racism was most certainly a major part of Righteous Jr.’s politics.
His most popular legislative effort occurred in the mid-1920′s when he attempted to pass a Constitutional amendment that would have dropped severe criminal penalties on those who manage the athletic program of any black school, college, or university in the State unless they made “Dixie” as their teams’ fight song. It was heavily supported among members of a very white and ver supremacist Legislature, but legislators ultimately voted against the amendment fearing that their backers could be misguided into they were in support of equitable and quality education for all the State’s children.
But aside from that fleeting flicker of relative prominence, “Whitecap” Cockfight was at best a mediocre, one-note legislator who was uninterested in the issues of the day (namely, a fiercely-debated local amendment on whether to allow Mules and Literacy in Autauga County) and considered boorish and unpromising by real legislative and political powers of the time.
As the decade barreled toward its close and ultimately an untenable economic depression, Righteous knew his political career had reached its likely peak, so he took to finding a way to turn his title into money.
Now, while the Cockfight Family has remained considerably wealthy for much of its existence, during the first three or so decades of the 20th century the Family was often desperate for cash after losing much of its vast, largely illicitly-gained fortune on poor business deals and ventures by Yammy Cockfight, a pudgy little man known to this day among Family members as “The Worst of Cockfights.”
Because his reputation was flailing, Righteous Jr. was not a man who those packed the pockets of State legislators sought to bribe — namely because he would only relent and take money if it were for causes he were already going to vote for (mainly anything degrading to blacks and, later in his career, poor whites and those who could confuse as “seeming” black) or the cash was paired with a statement that he was utterly and purely white and free of any stigmatizing sexual deviancy but surely a fantastic lover – so he was aimless in his venture for quite some time.
Then an idea struck him during an election rally: he could use “Cockfight Glory”, the time-tested fine moonshine recipe that he and his Family had handed out to buy support from Winston County voters for years!
Soon, by working with a number of criminals he had associated with in the legislative chicken combat circuit, Righteous Jr. had turned the Alabama Capitol into the relative headquarters and most definitely the kitchen of a massive bootlegging operation and laundered back much of the fortune the Family had so desperate lacked for decades. Paired with other efforts such as the sale of several hundred pages of Oglethorpe’s mother’s journals as a novel, the Family had profited greatly during a time when much of America was starving and desperate — truly making Oglethorpe’s ever-present and vengeful ghost proud.
But Righteous Jr. never knew when to get out and his comeuppance finally came. A legislator who was a frequent buyer ratted him out to the federal government after his grandson went blind from drinking a bad batch of Cockfight Glory.
Righteous was arrested and convicted. At first, the Family was deeply shamed, but as time went on and they realized much of the money had been pretty well laundered beyond confiscation, they ultimately softened into well-respected ambivalence about what Righteous did.
Though he left no child and accomplished little in his life, Righteous’ legacy can still be seen today. The Family still sells great quantities of “Cockfight Glory” to this day — though Jamison, who remains a prominent Birmingham attorney, tells me that during this decade there is no evidence that the Family has used it to buy off votes.
And as I learned first-hand quite recently, Righteous Jr.’s exquisite toilet wine recipe also continues to made by hard-boiled prisoners across the Southeast.
Syphilis, said to still be one of the worst cases the State has ever seen, killed Righteous in 1939.
He died in tears, begging a black nurse to hold his hand.
Whether he could see her, no one knows.
*Though they remain grateful to the film’s producers for the placement of a proud Cockfight product, the Family’s remains incredibly adamant on its stance that Smokey is NOT, will NOT, and will NEVER be The Bandit, whom they believe lived well on past the second movie until being shot to death by Frog in a domestic dispute in 1997. They memorialize him every July 4th.
Brewer T. Alberts III is president and curator of The Jebediah Cockfight Society for Alabama History and Remedy of the Idle Blind. His children’s book, Stand Up for Christmas: How George Corley Wallace and Hank Williams Sr. Saved Santa, will be re-released this winter. He lives in a cabin in rural Cullman County with his 10 or so pitbulls named after racist Alabama governors.