Inside the Mind of Daniel Thompson: On Arzell Thompson, ‘Flukie’

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It’s taken me a long time to appreciate and understand my grandfather, Arzell “Flukie” Thompson, and how his kindness is the most important trait he imparted on my family.


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Bessie Green gave birth to Arzell on Feb 23, 1917, in Nelton, Miss. Growing up a Black man in the Jim Crow South, my grandfather’s opportunities were limited.

In fact, as a result, he couldn’t read. He found work as a shoeshiner, then as a chauffeur for a rich white family in St. Louis (where he met my grandmother, who was the cook), and later moved to Racine in 1950.

There, he worked in Racine Steel Castings for 30 years, given a diamond ring upon his retirement.

To some ‘simple’, but Arzell was wise

However, as I grow older, I realize that my grandfather may have been “simple” by quite a few people’s measurements, pertaining to book knowledge and intelligence.

But Flukie knew people better than anyone.

And his kindness not only saved his life once, but also made him a man wealthier than most he encountered in ways not measured in dollars and cents.

His kindness, in the end, is my grandfather’s legacy.

Please, hear more about him in the latest episode of “Inside the Mind of Daniel Thompson”, “Flukie”, below. 


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