John Price: Quincy’s Pride
Born in Havana in 1969, John Price spent his childhood living in Quincy after his family moved so his parents could work on a farm in the area. While John was in kindergarten, his father secured a job as the Quincy Coca-Cola Company’s first black delivery truck driver. That same year the Price family moved to the St. John community where John spent the remainder of his childhood.
Mr. Price describes how when he was growing up, children who lived in rural areas would often join the military after high school. John was no different and decided to enlist. His career in the military took him away from Gadsden County, but the distance allowed him to appreciate his childhood home from a new perspective. After retiring from the military and searching for work, John moved to Bainbridge, Georgia where he met his wife. He recalls that while he and his wife were first dating, he struggled with her perception of Quincy, and felt like outsiders misunderstood the city’s image. Even today John finds himself defending Quincy and strives to show people how great it really is. To John, having pride in where you come from is a central pillar to having black pride. He feels that respecting and honoring the culture and history of his community shaped him into the man he is today.
Though John has pride in his roots, he recognizes that there were also struggles. Growing up in the St. John community, Mr. Price remembers differences in the economic stability of residents and recognizes that at times his own family struggled financially. However, John doesn’t recall ever lacking anything and felt like his community always rallied together to ensure all residents had what they needed. If anything happened to a resident, from a minor inconvenience to a major tragedy, the entire community was there to support them. John attributes the strength of the community to the tight-knit bonds the residents formed.
“Denied does not mean defeated.”John Price
Some of John’s favorite memories growing up in St. John stem from these strong community ties. A seasonal basketball and football tournament pitted “country” kids from St. John against “city” kids from Quincy. Organized by his cousin, Ronnie Price, John remembers the entire community looking forward to these events where they were able to cheer on their kids. Other events, such as the annual Hallelujah Night held on Halloween, brought the community together under leaders who wanted to see the community’s children go down the right path.
Two leaders who specifically impacted John’s life were Bishop Shepard, the school counselor and pastor of the church, and Leola Francis, John’s high school math teacher. John can recall how Mr. Shepard taught him how to direct his sometimes wild passions into constructive endeavors, and credits Mrs. Francis with teaching him the importance of education. Applying these lessons to his life, John found a dedication to music and learned to play several instruments, including the trumpet, piano, organ, and drums. John believes his passion for music stemmed from his attendance at the annual Shanks High School Homecoming Parade which featured the marching band. To John, there is no greater display of communal pride than seeing the crowds gather from all over the Big Bend to watch local musicians perform together. After joining the marching band himself, John was finally able to march with his hometown heroes. He will never forget those years.
Currently, John’s favorite pastimes are umpiring youth and rec-league baseball games in the Big Bend. He feels fortunate that he is able to watch other communities come together to support their children the way he did when he was growing up.