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Ammons, A. R. (18 Feb. 1926–2 Feb. 2001), poet, was born on his family’s tobacco farm near Whiteville, North Carolina, the son of Willie M. and Lucy Delia McKee Ammons. The main family book was the Bible. Archie Randolph Ammons spent his formative childhood years working on the farm and as a result always felt close to nature and the vicissitudes of weather. After graduating from Whiteville High School in ...

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Pickens, Slim (29 June 1919–08 December 1983), rodeo performer and motion picture and television character actor, was born in Kingsburg, California, the son of Louis Bert Lindley, Sr., a dairy farmer, and Sally Mosher.

Pickens’s real name was Louis Bert Lindley, Jr. He acquired his pseudonym and professional identification when he joined the rodeo circuit at a young age, given in various sources as thirteen or sixteen, after leaving high school in Hanford, California. His father opposed the move, saying after Pickens’s first performance that he did not want to see the family name on a rodeo program again. Determined to join the rodeo anyway, young Lindley pondered what name to use until a colleague suggested “Slim Pickens,” “ ’cause that’s shore what your prize money’ll be.” He continued to use the name throughout his professional career in rodeo and in acting....

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Bill Pickett. Motion picture poster for "The Bull-Dogger." Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZC4-1946).

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Pickett, Bill (05 December 1871–02 April 1932), African-American rodeo entertainer, was born in Jenks-Branch community in Travis County, Texas, the son of Thomas Jefferson Pickett, a former slave, and Mary “Janie” Virginia Elizabeth Gilbert. The second of thirteen children, Pickett reportedly grew to be 5′ 7″ tall and approximately 145 pounds. Little is known about his early childhood, except that he attended school through the fifth grade. Afterward he took up ranch work and soon developed the skills, such as roping and riding, that would serve him well in rodeo. On 2 December 1890 Pickett married Maggie Turner of Palestine, Texas, the daughter of a white southern plantation owner and his former slave. They had nine children. The Picketts joined the Taylor Baptist Church, where Pickett served as deacon for many years....