Sugarman made national news in 1939, when an eighty-foot section of the Hwy 80’s Clear Creek Bridge, west of Edwards, washed away, about 9 pm, March 29. Before traffic could be stopped, twelve cars and one truck plunged into the rushing, muddy, debris-clogged waters. Sixteen persons from four states drowned. It remains today the worst traffic accident in MS history.
Sugarman was reported to have saved one or more of the six persons who survived. But what is documented in national news is that he stayed in the chilling waters, without equipment, for days searching for automobiles and bodies. Hwy 80 was the main thoroughfare between the east and west coast, so the number of travelers could not be estimated. Some spectators said, Sugarman would hold his breath longer than should have been humanly possible. He would grope through the murky waters, through piles of jammed timbers and trees, searching for automobiles and those who had drowned.
Local Clinton author/playwright, Joedda Gore, author of the book SUGARMAN, wrote a monologue entitled, SUGARMAN.
“I took a chance, gave the script a kiss and entered it in a recent one-act play competition being held by Olde Towne Depot of Clinton. I was beyond ecstatic, when I was notified by the selection committee that SUGARMAN was one of the five one-acts selected to be performed.”
“Now, my task is to find an actor who is willing to study a twelve-page monologue and portray Andrew “Sugarman” Daniel age 69, 1969, the year of his death.”
“I would identify Sugarman as a black Superhero.” said Gore. The Clarion-Ledger and Vicksburg Evening Post, April l, 1939, reported that Daniel had shown bravery on other occasions. When a fire, in his hometown of Edwards, MS, engulfed two churches and two homes, he clambered onto the roof and fought the fire until he dropped in his tracks. The articles also told that “at a recent Hinds county cattle show, an unruly bull broke loose and was charging toward the crowd. Sugarman ran forth, jumped on to the bull’s back grabbed the animal by the horns and in a ‘bull dogging act’ wrenched the bull to the ground.”
Sugarman is described as huge, black man, barrel chested, blooming voice, self-confident and charismatic. At the time of his death, June 7, 1969, the Clarion-Ledger wrote a 35-column-inch obituary. It told of how Sugarman was a local legend. He not only performed any impossible task put upon him, he was also an animal whisperer, before his gift was given a name. He was always followed by a herd of dogs, and at various times; a pig, goat, sheep with a opossum clinging to it’s neck, a raccoon and once even a fox was part of his entourage, all perfectly trained. Due to the extent of his menagerie, some were just named numbers; seven, ten, etc.
In addition to the Sugarman’s portrayal, the four additional plays will be seeking characters of a teen girl; young adults, both men and women; middle-age men and women; and seniors. Auditions will begin at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, July 24 and Thursday July 25. Contact the Olde Towne Depot at 601 924 0113 for more information. The five one-act performances will be on Thursday, September 26.
“This is a first for the Clinton Olde Towne Depot but the response has been even greater than expected so I am certain this is just the beginning of a great new art showcase for the Clinton community.” said Joedda Gore. “In the meantime, I am still searching for Sugarman.”
Written by: Joedda Gore