Ennis Ford Perfect Drive
Ennis Daily News

Revisiting the events that shaped the year 1986

Rev. Bob Uzzel

Thirty years have passed since 1986.  Here are some of the highlights of this historic year, which was designated as the International Year of Peace by the United Nations.  On January 1, Spain and Portugal entered the European Community, which later became the European Union.  On January 28, the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch from the United States, killing the crew of 7 astronauts.  On February 7, President Jean-Claude Duvalier fled Haiti, ending 28 years of family rule.  On February 19, the United States Senate approved a treaty outlawing genocide.  On February 25, the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union opened in Moscow.  General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the keywords of his mandate to the audience for a more open society:  Glasnost and Perestroika.   On the same day, President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines went into exile in Hawaii after 20 years of rule and Corazon Aquino became the first woman president of the island nation.  On April 13Pope John Paul II officially visited the Great Synagogue of Rome, becoming the first modern Pope to visit a synagogue.  On May 8, Óscar Arias was inaugurated term as President of Costa Rica.  On May 25, at least 5,000,000 people formed a human chain from New York City to Long Beach, California, to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness in what was called “Hands Across America.”  On September 7, Desmond Tutu became the first black Anglican Bishop in South Africa.  On October 1112, U. S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President  Mikhail Gorbachev met in ReykjavíkIceland, to continue discussions about scaling back their intermediate missile arsenals in Europe.  On November 4, the Democrats regained control of the United States Senate for the first time in 6 years.  This election marked the mid-point of Republican Reagan’s second term and substantial gain for Democrats nationwide.  Retiring Democratic House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill observed: “If there was a Reagan Revolution, it is over.”  However, in Texas, Bill Clements—the first Republican Governor since Reconstruction—won a rematch over Democrat Mark White, to whom he had lost his reelection bid in 1982.   On November 21, National Security Council member Oliver North and his secretary, Fawn Hall, started shredding documents implicating them in selling weapons to Iran and channeling the proceeds to help fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua .  On November 25, U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese announced that profits from covert weapons sales to Iran were illegally diverted to the Contras.  On November 26, Reagan announced that, on December 1, former Senator John Tower, former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft would serve as members of the Special Review Board looking into the scandal and denied any personal involvement.

In 1986, I was living in Kaufman, where I was serving as pastor of Macedonia AME Church.  From January through August, I was employed as a social worker at Terrell State Hospital.  On January 11, I participated with the Prince Hall Shriners in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Parade in Dallas.  On January 21, I went to Waco, where I was interviewed by four Religion professors at Baylor University regarding my application to their Ph.D. program.  That night, I attended the United Negro College Fund Banquet at the Waco Convention Center. On January 26, we celebrated the MLK Birthday at Macedonia with future Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson as our speaker.  On January 28, I received a call from Rev. Dewey Pinckney, pastor of Saint Mary’s Baptist Church in Waco—our first contact in more than 10 years.  At the time, he was driving a truck for Waco’s Lipsitz, which owned Terrell Iron and Metal Company.  After visiting with him at the latter facility, I returned to Terrell State Hospital, where I learned about the explosion of the Challenger.  On February 23, we celebrated Black History Month with future State Representative Dr. Jesse Jones as our speaker.  From March 5 to March 8, I participated in participated in the Phylaxis Society Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  At this meeting, I presented a paper entitled “Abraxas:  From Ancient Gnosis to Contemporary Culture with Overtones in Freemasonry.”  On April 4, I returned to Waco for the Inauguration of Dr. Warren W. Morgan as President of Paul Quinn College.  On April 11, I delivered a lecture on the American Muslim Mission at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth at the request of Dr. James Leo Garrett, Jr., who had directed my Master’s thesis at Baylor a decade earlier.  On April 20, I preached at Saint Mary’s Baptist Church.  On May 3, I attended Prince Hall Shriners’ Gala Day in Fort Worth.  On June 15, Rev. Pinckney preached at Macedonia.  On June 21, I participated in Shrine Day in Fort Worth.  On June 22, we celebrated Emancipation Day at Macedonia.  Our speaker was Rev. Clarence Glover, Director of Intercultural Affairs and Black Student Services at Southern Methodist University.  On July 6, I preached at the Church of God of Prophecy in Terrell.  On August 2 and again on August 23, I performed weddings at Macedonia.

On October 3, I attended Pioneer Days in Whitney, Texas.  On December 12, I attended a Christmas Party at the home of a couple with whom my wife Debra worked at Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman.  On December 13, I participated with the Prince Hall Shriners in the Terrell Christmas Parade.  On December 24, I attended Midnight Mass at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church in Kaufman.

My five years of service at Terrell State Hospital ended on August 31, when I resigned in order to enter Ph.D. Studies at Baylor and begin work as Coordinator of Archives and Cultural Center at Paul Quinn College.  During the fall semester of 1986, I took “History of Roman Catholicism” under Dr. Glenn O. Hilburn (1930-2016) and “Religions of Antiquity and the Near East” under Dr. Dwight Baker (1920-2011).  For the former course, I wrote a paper entitled “Ernesto Cardenal:  Mystical Revolutionary,” which was later published in the “Shaw Divinity School Journal.”  For the latter course, I wrote a paper entitled “The Bektashi Order of Dervishes:  A Study of Syncretism,” which I hope soon to revise and update for publication.




Post to Twitter




Posted by on Jul 28 2016. Filed under Church news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed

Featured Links

    Search Archive

    Search by Date
    Search by Category
    Search with Google

    Photo Gallery

    Log in


    Copyright: All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only. Republication or redistribution of Ennis Daily News content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Ennis Daily News. Ennis Daily News and its logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Ellis County Newspapers, Inc.

    © Ellis County Newspapers, Inc. 2019