Nurses remember Morris' brief hospital stay
by Stanley Nelson - posted Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 @ 2:36 pm
Eleven months after the Concordia Parish Hospital (now Riverland Medical Center) opened its doors in Ferriday on Jan. 26, 1964, Frank Morris was treated for severe burns in the emergency room and then moved into Room 101.
"He was burned so badly," Maxine Hawkins recalled this week. "It was pitiful. He was burned all over his body."
Hawkins, 88, was one of two nurses who recalled this week Morris' brief four-day stay at the hospital after his shoe stop in Ferriday was set on fire. Morris was in the store when two white men in their early to mid-30s reportedly set the store ablaze. The cobbler ran from the store engulfed in flames and was later transported to Concordia Parish Hospital, where he died on Dec. 14, 1964, four days after the fire.
His death is one of dozens of Civil Rights-era murders that were never solved but may now be reopened by the FBI.
Another nurse, Rosemary Edwards, is still employed at the hospital, and has vague memories of Morris' stay at the facility.
"I can remember how badly he was burned," she said. "You couldn't recognized him it was so bad."
Hawkins remembered the whole community being in shock over Morris' tragic death.
"He was known as such a good person," she said. "It was pitiful. We didn't know he had enemies and what happened took a long time to sink in."
Dr. Herman Gibson was part of the original medical staff at the hospital along with Drs. H.H. Ratcliffe Sr., H.H. Racliffe Jr., C.H. Colvin, W.P. Coleman, E.W. Vogt Jr., K.K. Killen, W.T. Polk, W.T. Colbert, James Krestensen, William Pearson, Leo Scanlon, Jack Phillips and Sidney Graves.
Gibson, 82, said he was not the attending physician for Morris, but remembered the tragic event.
"He took care of my shoes," said Gibson, "and did leather work. I had horses and he could do sewing work on a bridle or whatever. He was very versatile."