HONORING CARL EGGLESTON; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 73
(House of Representatives - May 07, 2018)

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[Page H3751]
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                        HONORING CARL EGGLESTON

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Beyer) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BEYER. Mr. Speaker: ``This is Carl Eggleston. There's always 
hope.'' So ends every voice-filled greeting on Carl's phone in the 36 
years I have known him. No better few words describe the resilient, 
optimistic, and indefatigable man I love.
  I first met Carl Eggleston briefly during the congressional campaign 
of Ira Lechner in 1982. Carl was friends and political allies with the 
brain trust of the campaign: Darrel Martin and Linda Moore. A few years 
later, we worked very different parts of Virginia in Jerry Baliles' 
winning race for Governor. But my life changed completely when I 
visited Carl at his home in Farmville in the summer of 1988, at the 
beginning of my first-ever candidacy for office.
  Carl agreed to join my small team, and from that day forward, he was 
my constant companion. We traveled everywhere across the Commonwealth 
together. He introduced me to the most important players in Democratic 
politics and virtually every important African-American leader in the 
State. I discovered that Carl was universally respected and liked and 
that his endorsement helped immensely. In the coming years, we worked 
many campaigns together--some winning, some losing--always as trusted 
friends and allies.
  But the real Carl Eggleston story is so much more interesting than 
his long history in Democratic Party leadership. He was born in poverty 
to two loving parents in the Jim Crow South. The closing of the Prince 
Edward County schools, when Carl was 9 years old, is the tragic stuff 
of massive resistance legend.
  He stayed home for 3 years, schooled only by his mother, then spent a 
fourth year in a neighboring county trying to catch up. After high 
school, Carl apprenticed in a funeral home and caught the 
entrepreneurial bug. Bravely, in a business where families loyally 
cling to the funeral director who has buried their elders, Carl created 
his own funeral home: one client in year one, two or three the 
following year. He persisted against the greatest odds and competition, 
and Eggleston Funeral Homes are now 30 years old and thriving.
  The child of a racially and bitterly divided South, Carl ran for 
Farmville city council and was the first elected Black man since 
reconstruction perhaps ever. After one term, he ran for mayor and lost 
handily. I still marvel at the courage and the hope he must have had to 
stand for office in Prince Edward County, alone among all the counties 
in the United States to close its public schools rather than integrate 
them. One can only imagine the hostility Carl faced in the local 
population as he dared to lead them. Twice more, over the decades, Carl 
ran for mayor, getting closer each time, and earning the support and 
respect of much of Farmville's White community.
  So with respect for his many achievements, including the long years 
chairing the Prince Edward Democratic Committee, the Fifth 
Congressional District Democratic Committee, my greatest appreciation 
for Carl Eggleston is founded on his strong and generous character. He 
is the friend I treasure most.
  I have never heard him utter an unkind word about another person. He 
is unfailingly loyal, trustworthy, and patient. He works every moment. 
He is the quiet civil rights leader and political force who has been 
responsible for so much of the forward progress in Virginia over the 
last generation.
  On the occasion now of the publishing of his autobiography, I am 
proud to call Carl Eggleston my friend, and I know that you will enjoy 
and appreciate his story. Carl's life is proof that there is always 
hope.

                          ____________________