Emmitt Ezra Nix became outstanding citizen of Andalusia

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 31, 2019

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Today’s story is a continuation of the look at the life of Emmitt Ezra Nix of Andalusia, Ala. His ancestors and genealogy have been presented in the two previous columns, so this will be a closer look at his contributions to his family and community.

First, there are a few corrections to information in last week’s column regarding some Nix family members. Three of Sylvester Nix’s daughters, Susie, Ester and Mary O. Nix, were incorrectly stated to be daughters of Emmitt Nix when, in fact, they were his sisters.  Other children of Comer Charles Daniels, inadvertently omitted, are Shelia Smith, Lucy Robinson and Wanda Moore.  Nakia Daniels Buckner is the actual name for his daughter previously referred to as “Kee Kee”, her nickname.  Ester’s second son John Henry, first married Alma Ruth Anderson and their children are Hiram, Reginald, and Rodney.  He later married Retha Ann Robertson and their children are Jason, April and Allison.  Children of Richard (Susie Nix Robertson’s son) and the late Ethel Miller Robertson are Valerie Michele and Mirenda. Mirenda is married to Broderick Kirksey.

Emmitt Ezra Nix was born in 1912 in the Oakey Streak community of Butler County, Ala., as the fourth child of Sylvester Nix and Gatsie Cauley. Some years later, the family moved to the Andalusia area where they became share-croppers. Emmitt was one of eight children. He and other siblings worked on the farm helping their dad with the crops. The parents eventually made their home on Bellevue Street, formerly Bonner Street, which was later renamed Nix Drive.

Emmitt gave his life to Christ at an early age as he united with the St. Luke A.M.E. Zion Church in Butler County. Later after moving to Andalusia, he joined Bethel A.M.E. Church where he served in many roles. He was the pastor’s steward for more than 40 years. He was an active member of the Lay Organization of the Alabama Conference for which he served as treasurer for a number of years. He was a member and past Master of Iron Wheel #566. He held memberships in other organizations including Alabama Democratic Conference and N.A.A.C.P. He was also a founding member of the Christian Home Union for which he served as president until his death.

Emmitt did not marry until he was a mature 31 years of age. After he became acquainted with a young lady named Era Mae Bone of Butler County, he was ready to establish his own home. They were married on Christmas Eve of 1943 in Butler County. Era Mae, daughter of Herman Bone and Ella Harris, was born February 3, 1923, so she would have been 20 years old when she married Emmitt. Emmitt had chosen to become a yardman, and a well-regarded one, which became his main livelihood for supporting his family. He also did other things such as his photography project to help supplement his income.

Emmitt’s wife, Era Mae Bone, was educated in Butler County, Ala., where she attended Macedonia and Reid Hill Schools. At an early age she united with Macedonia Baptist Church in that county, and she later joined Bethel A.M.E. Church in Andalusia. As a member of Bethel, she was a dedicated and active supporter of her church and of its various auxiliaries. She served on the stewardess board and faithfully maintained the communion cloths as long as she was able. She taught and inspired the Youth Sunday School Class for many years. She was also a faithful working member of the Senior Missionary Department and of the Lay Organization. Mrs. Nix was the last of the “Golden Girls” of Bethel A.M.E. Church.

Emmitt was a hard-working man who had a positive and supportive attitude. This led to his becoming quite influential in the Andalusia area, especially among the black community. One of his earliest recorded achievements was him serving as a member of the special gift committee for the Red Cross drive among colored citizens in 1950. This portion of the project was under the chairmanship of Willie Hall, Sr.

Emmitt was an avid supporter of various athletic programs in Andalusia. He was one of the pioneers in organizing little league baseball. For a number of years, he served as manager for the Andalusia All-Stars Negro Baseball Team. On Sunday, August 5, 1956, his team sponsored a benefit game in the Andalusia Municipal Stadium between the Mobile Black Bears and the Pensacola Sea Gulls. All proceeds went to the Andalusia All-Stars team for their support. In Later years, it was a high honor for him to be elected President of the Andalusia High School Quarterback Club.

On Saturday, July 4, 1959, an all-day celebration was held for the grand opening of the new Lakeview Park Recreation Center, which was located beside the small lake near Covington County Training school and off Sixth Avenue. The occasion was the formal dedication of the building, outdoor patio, picnic grounds and a small lake for boating and swimming. Emmitt Nix was a member of the recreation board which planned the schedule of activities under the leadership of Will Coleman, chairman of the board. Activities included a dedication ceremony, a picnic, boating and swimming along with two baseball games. On July 4, 1960, another special day was held to celebrate the first- year anniversary of the establishing of the recreation center. As a member of the Lakeview Recreation Board, Emmitt helped plan this program of activities also. It is notable that his son, Joe Nix, a former employee of the City, wrote the grant that made possible the construction of a new recreation center in the mid-1980s.

During the Bicentennial Year of 1976, Emmitt Nix, supported the project to plant Liberty Trees in Andalusia. The local federated garden clubs set an example for everyone who would to plant one of the special trees. A story in the Andalusia Star-News pictured Emmitt assisting Dr. Edgar P. King, dentist with landscaping interests, and two ladies representing the garden clubs, Mrs. Ashford Broughton and Mrs. James Prestwood, planting the very first tree. Emmitt was also honored to have once served on the Andalusia Beautification Committee.

A crowning event in the life of Emmitt and Era Mae Nix was the City of Andalusia renaming two streets as Nix Drive. Mayor Benny Barrow signed the following Resolution No. 1992-8A.

           “WHEREAS Mr. Emmitt Nix and wife, Era Mae Nix, have been directly responsible for numerous improvements that have been made in our community, and

            WHEREAS through their untiring efforts to bring about such improvements, they have served the City of Andalusia in many civic-minded capacities, and

            WHEREAS the City of Andalusia desires to honor Mr. E.E. and Mrs. Era Mae Nix,

            NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Andalusia, Alabama that the streets presently known as terry and Bellevue streets are hereby renamed to Nix Drive.

ADOPTED AND APPROVED this 21st day of April, 1992.”

The sources for today’s story include articles from the Andalusia Star-News and the family records of Joe Nix, son of Emmitt Ezra Nix.

Anyone who finds an error in the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.


The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 5, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. David Coggins, commander for the Southeast Alabama Brigade, SCV, will be presenting a program on growing and strengthening the camp. All members and anyone interested in Confederate heritage is encouraged to attend.


Carole Griffin of Baker, Fla., is seeking the maiden name of her ggg grandmother who was Abigail Ard, wife of George Ard. They lived primarily in Santa Rosa County, Fla., but Carole believes they were connected to the Barrow and Archilus families of Conecuh and Covington County, Ala. and Santa Rosa County, Fla. Contact Curtis Thomasson if you have any information or have questions.