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Remembering William Wall

Recently I, along with many in the area, were saddened by the passing of lifetime resident William Wall. William was of long-serving member of the Farmville Town Council.  It was while also serving on the Council I met William.

I had the distinction of serving as the first African-American member after being elected in the first ward system election. This election came about because of a lawsuit I had against the Town of Farmville and its former practice of at-large elections to the Town Council.

The case Eggleston V. Crute called for the abandonment of this system. After I won my case I was elected. Upon my arrival, I was greeted cordially by the members of council.  I was somewhat surprised by the warm greeting I received because all the members of the council and the mayor were named in my lawsuit.  I’m sure some of them didn’t like seeing their names in the Washington Post listed as co-defendants in my case.

William Wall especially was one of those who I didn’t expect to warm-up to the fact I was on the council.  I knew he and his family had been staunch supporters of the Massive Resistance movement in Farmville. I thought he would harbor some resentment as I had exposed the “good ol’boy” system prevalent in Farmville at that time. 

However, to my surprise, William was the exact opposite while serving with me. I recall an encounter I had during our first meeting of the council after I was elected to serve the Ward D.  A gentleman attempted to question me during the public forum regarding some campaign statements I made during my run for a seat on the council.  As the man attempted to badger me, William stepped in to cut him off stating to him, “The campaign is over.  Carl won, and we’re all about Town business now.” 

That seemed to set the tone for what was to come for me during my tenure. William and I developed a mutual respect for each other.  Although we often stood on opposite ends of many issues, I respected his stances on some issues as he did mine.  I often felt I was north and William was south in our positions at times when dealing with council matters.

William had constituent issues and needed to support the folks that elected him.  I wasn’t mad at him at all as it was always my intent to do the exact same thing.  We both were passionate about the issues that affected our communities.

William Wall loved Farmville and was passionate in wanting to see the town prosper. May his work resonate throughout the hearts and minds of all of us who knew him well.  Work hard for what you believe in.

Carl U. Eggleston is president of the Oliver & Eggleston Funeral Establishment. His email address is carlueggleston@gmail.com.