Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 18

In 1942, Roland Hayes' wife,
Helen, was arrested for sitting in
a white-only section of a shoe
store in Rome. When Hayes
attempted to intervene, he
was beaten and placed in jail.
American poet and activist
Langston Hughes mentioned the
incident in his poem " How About
It, Dixie. " An excerpt reads:

'He eventually owned
the farm in Curryville
where his mother had
been a slave, and he
visited sometimes,
though he lived in
Massachusetts.'

ROLAND HAYES MUSEUM

-Toussaint Hayes,
Roland Hayes' nephew

Roland Hayes has a moment
with the goats at his family's
farm in Curryville.

1940s, singing to many nonsegregated audiences.
Along with singing German operatic songs, he introduced
audiences to the African American music of his youth-songs
that had been passed down since the days of slavery.
" He could sing anything and make it beautiful, " says his
nephew, Toussaint Hayes, who has recordings of his uncle. " He
could sing in seven languages. I remember a performance he
gave when he came to Calhoun, and he was something. "
Despite his fame and fortune, Hayes never forgot his
Georgia roots.
" He eventually owned the farm in Curryville where his
mother had been a slave, and he visited sometimes, though he
lived in Massachusetts, " his nephew says. " When I was a young
man in the Army infantry stationed in New Jersey in 1968, I
visited his home in Brookline, Mass., one time. He had an
impressive library where he taught voice to students. He was
a little man, but he had a big, hearty laugh. I remember that
laugh. There was a lot of voice in that small body. "

Honoring Hayes
Hayes died in 1977, four years after his final performance
in Cambridge, Mass. He is remembered as one of the greatest
African American concert performers of all time and a
trailblazer and mentor for other singers. He was inducted in
the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1991. The Roland Hayes
Museum-a small room at the Harris Arts Center in Calhoun-
also stands as a tribute to his life.
" It includes photographs and documents pertaining to
Hayes, his performances and his family, " Frazier says. " There
are also 78 rpm [revolutions per minute] sound recordings,

18

Georgia Magazine

February 2021

Show me that you mean
Democracy, please-
Cause from Bombay to Georgia
I'm beat to my knees.
You can't lock up Gandhi,
Club Roland Hayes,
Then make fine speeches
About Freedom's ways.

sheet music, concert programs and books that help define his
professional life. "
The centerpiece of the room is a wooden grand piano,
which Hayes used for practice when he visited relatives in
Curryville. Another display treats guests to recordings of
Hayes' silky, smooth voice.
Admission to the museum is free, and guided tours for
groups can be arranged with reservations.
Other tributes include a highway (Georgia 156) named the
Roland Hayes Parkway, a plaque on the campus of Calhoun
High School that commemorates Hayes' performance at the
auditorium in the 1940s and a concert hall that bears his name
on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
But one honor has eluded Hayes. Since 2013, the Roland
Hayes Museum Committee has pushed to get a stamp commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service in honor of Gordon County's
native son. Thousands of locals signed a petition, including
Hayes' daughter, Afrika Hayes-Lambe. Frazier says that the
process just takes time.
" It took a long time to get Elvis Presley on a stamp after he
died, " she says. " We won't give up. Roland Hayes deserves that
honor, and we plan to see that he gets it. "
Amber Lanier Nagle is a freelance writer who lives in
Adairsville.

When you go
Roland Hayes Museum, housed in the Harris Arts Center,
212 S. Wall St., Calhoun; (706) 629-2599;
harrisartscenter.com/roland-hayes


http://www.harrisartscenter.com/roland-hayes

Georgia Magazine - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - February 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 11
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 12
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 13
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 14
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 15
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 16
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 17
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 18
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 19
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 20
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 21
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 22
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 23
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 24
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 25
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 26
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 27
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 28
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 29
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 30
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 31
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 32
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 33
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 34
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover4
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