Richard F. Fair, contributor to Lust, Violence, Religion: Life in Historic Waco, grew up in Hewitt, in the Waco area. Fair’s primary interest is in Texas history, developing from an interest in stories his father would tell him about Central Texas during his childhood. His father’s stories are what led Fair to become highly interested in Waco and McLennan County.
Fair was “fascinated how ironic, humorous and sometimes tragic his [father’s] stories would be.” By following his father’s interest in the Waco area, Fair researched the Populist and Progressive era, (approximately 1890-1930.) Fair’s main interests in historical Waco include local folklore and the histories of the small communities surrounding Waco, which he intends to write about at a later date. His most exciting discovery in that time period is the 1921 Lorena Riot that occurred between the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department and members of the Ku Klux Klan.
This interest in history was not however his original intended area of study. While in high school, his favorite subject was music, leading him to a desire to become a college band director. After taking a few basic required history courses at Baylor, Fair “reaffirmed the interest [he] had in historical research and changed his major to history.” He is furthering his graduate work at Texas A&M University, while working on different book projects.
Fair is excited to be a part of the focused study of McLennan County that takes place in Lust, Violence, Religion: Life in Historic Waco. His ten-year friendship with Primary Author Brad Turner led Brad to throw the idea to work on this book together, which he immediately agreed to, with his thoughts that a focused study like this one is long overdue for McLennan County. He wrote the chapters involving William C. Brann and the lynching events in McLennan County. He wants to shed light on Brann’s life, as many people overlook the fact that Brann “had a somewhat lonely and tragic past.”
Involving the lynching of Jesse Washington, Fair wants to inform people of the way the McLennan County Sherriff’s Office initially handled Washington’s case. He believes most people generally will be surprised by these unknown facts.
Fair hopes to continue shedding light on Waco folklore and the unknown histories of the small communities surrounding the Waco area. He is working on a “historiographical manuscript on the prevalence of the Ku Klux Klan in Central Texas.” Fair is married to Jeannie Fair, also a historian, and they have a one-year-old son, Derek P. Fair. He first achieved an A.A.S. degree from Texas State Technical College (TSTC) Waco before going to Baylor University where he received both his B.A. and M.A. in history. Fair is also an active public historian where he works on a National Register application for the Seward Plantation in Independence, Texas, and writes applications for Texas Historical Markers in Central Texas.
The book’s official release date is September 1, and will be available through all major book sellers and retail stores. Books are available now for pre-ordering through Amazon.
For more information about the book, go to our Facebook Fan Page or listen to an audio book version of the first chapter of Lust, Violence, Religion: Life in Historic Waco, “The Circuit Rider” as narrated by Mike Jones.